Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Nurturing Mother

A mother is the most intimate of nurturers.  She begins when a child is but a cell multiplying in size at an incredible rate.  She may not be aware that it is there, but her instinctual body does, and it begins to change immediately.  Her body, in which all parts are pieced together like a complex puzzle now comes apart, moving and shaping itself around the new life form within.  A mother will make sacrifices of coffee and sugar and sleep and comfort while she nurtures life within, all without complaint.  When once she was contented when tightening her belt to a new size, she now welcomes pants with elastic waistbands.  All for the sake of nurturing life.

When pain sets in and the new life beckons to burst forth, a mother settles into instinct, putting fear of pain and loss aside.  The moment a child is a born, the mother must learn new ways to nurture its life, as what was internal and instinct become external and learned.  She learns to feed and change and hush and serve in new profound ways. 

As the child grows, a mother learns to nurture with a soft touch, a strong hand of discipline, a broken heart, an encompassing embrace, a gentle word.  She puts band aids on pretend wounds, kisses bruised knees, cleans up horrific messes, breaks fevers and warms cold hands.  She smiles through her tears as each day her child learns to function with less of her. 

The day that a mother’s intimate nurturing is no longer a requirement for her child to live is much like the day the child left her body.  Agony of pain rips through her core as she is left with a vacated part of herself.  Bittersweet is the moment the child becomes an adult, and for the last time walks out the door in which she carried her newborn baby through with a nurturing embrace and a heart filled and pouring out. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Updates and Peace Walks

Every day I strive to rest in peace in the midst of the wonder and occasional chaos that life has now become.

Life is so different being a full time working momma.  Yes, I am official.  I am a permanent employee worker-bee.  Such a decision wasn't made easily, but has had its own set of blessings.

For starters, we have benefits.  Hallelujah!  Two weeks before benefits kicked in, however, we had horrible sickies wipe through the house and led us to 3 Dr. / Urgent care visits, lots of medication, and lots of out of pocket costs.   I made sure to know the exact day I was eligible, and did not miss the deadline!

Another blessing is our childcare.  While I was working as a temp, my hubby coordinated childcare on a daily basis, based on his own schedule and that of wonderful friends / church members.  I was overwhelmed by the wonderful people that helped us during those few months.  I also recognized the kids' need for stability.

Enter Danielle.  Danielle grew up with my "sis" Jessica and her brother Jerrod.  Danielle's mom and Jessica's mom have a similar relationship to mine with Jess.  We offered a live-in nanny position to Danielle (the guest room suite is hers), and she accepted!  We now are thrilled to have a stable and more than competent nanny (who is also a licensed massage therapist).

I've had a hard time adjusting to limitations.  I despise limitations.  I just can't do everything.  I despise that.  I still have my garden, keep a (somewhat) clean house, cook and bake, but I just do it all less.  So much less.  I don't have the luxury of much downtime, which means that my blogging and sourdough baking have taken a hit.  However, I do recognize that this is (hopefully) a temporary situation, and keep my eyes focused on having peace in the midst of all this.

Every day at work I take a walk, at least once a day.  I walk in quiet, and seek peace.  I leave distractions in the office.  I redirect my focus.  And you know something?  In this quiet, I am inspired.

And so, I want to start blogging those little inspirational tidbits.  Sometimes they are in depth, other times not so much, but I miss writing and sharing these morsels does wonders for my soul.  I hope it blesses yours as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Resolution Word

Peace. How many holiday cards did you receive with wishes of “peace” to you and yours in the New Year? What does a wish for “peace” actually mean, anyway?

As a noun “peace” is defined as a cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension. As a verb, to be at peace means to be untroubled; tranquil; content. The world would most certainly be a better place if we all actively sought out peace. Regardless of the circumstances, seeking to be content, untroubled, tranquil and free from strife certainly can’t hurt matters.

Personally, if I were to resolve to cloak myself in a garment of peace, the slivers of pain and discontent that could pierce me won’t have room to do so. Shackles of strife will not hold on a body of peace.

This is why my resolution word for 2012 is Peace. I want; I need to choose to be at peace with circumstances; with God’s plan, as I walk forward into this next year. My family deserves it. My friends deserve it. I deserve it. I don’t anticipate that having this word as a mantra will do much, but I do know that if it is a constant prayer for my life, 2012 won’t leave me as black and blue.

Life has enough challenges. I've enjoyed embracing them, sometimes, but now I am more intent on embracing peace. It sounds like the difference between embracing a bed of nails and a cashmere blanket.

Time for some cashmere!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - The Year of 'Challenge'

Each and every year for several years I’ve resolved my new year with one word. 2011 was the year of “Challenge”. I think I was far too romantic in my vision of what that would mean for my life.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of challenge is to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties (emphasis mine). Perhaps I should have looked this up before choosing my word last year. Of course I understood what “challenge” means. But personally, as a stay at home mom, I wanted to grow. I wanted to learn. Embracing such a word would help me do just that.

A few such challenges that I embraced and joyfully grew from were:

• Perfecting my sourdough bread techniques

• Growing and cultivating a beautiful kitchen garden

• Being more vulnerable in my writing

• Squeezing the life out of each penny we had

• Raising two “spirited” little boys

• Traveling alone with said boys for a family reunion, and surviving

• Baking my first wedding cake(s)

• Coordinating several weddings

I also found that the old worker-bee hat I wore for many years still fit, though it pinched a little.  The challenge of doing much on little sleep seemed familiar, though it was not necessarily a celebrated proposition.  I was also blessed and challenged in supporting my pastor-husband through the joys and challenges of ministry; not to mention a church renovation project.

There were, of course, more challenges that I did NOT embrace, as they left a chasm of pain within me. More personal, private battles have been waged, and there have been painful wounds inflicted that have been slow to clot.  

Nonetheless, reflecting back at the year I recognize that embracing challenge was a good thing for me. It broke me down. It drained me. It made me raw. It brought me to a place of depth, vulnerability and eventually growth. I know that in the future I will look back at this year and understand so much more than I do now. All I can tell you is that I am celebrating the upcoming year with great anticipation, and a new resolution word that is NOT 'challenge'.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Flores Family Christmas Letter - An Allegory

In the town of Charming, Pastor and Poet lived a charmed life with their two sons: Performer and Sunshine.

Every day Poet would awake, walk out to her garden, and would meet with Inspiration and Provision. Occasionally she would have Provision remain for dinner, and was ever grateful. Inspiration would be her companion throughout the day, often chiming in when Poet watched her boys play, visited with newfound friends and watched a Momma Hummingbird build her nest.

Pastor was a tree to his boys. The boys would both scale their father’s trunk and shimmy out onto his arm-branches. Then, in a way only Pastor could do, he would lift both boys, one on each arm, as high as he could. The laughter that ensued was contagious.

Performer was a seeker of Truth, even though he was only 3. His pursuits gave him new insights, new vocabulary, new perspective. Pastor and Poet became convinced Performer will solve all of the world’s problems one day with the research he has now begun.

Performer’s younger brother, Sunshine, found new feet in the course of the year. Though his steps were uncertain at the birth of the year, by its end he was able to run Wind. Sunshine proved to be more mechanical than his brother; where Performer asked for the answers, Sunshine took things apart to the same end.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

All-Natural Drain Cleaner

Though I am back to a full-time work schedule, I am still trying to save dollars and cents where I can.  I love an opportunity to do so while keeping the chemicals that are around the house to a minimum. 

And so, without further adieu, my all natural drain cleaner:

Christmas Advent Paper-Chain

I don't know about you, but December brings with it quite a bit of busyness. With said busyness (which I don't think a bad thing), I really try to make a point of being intentional.  Intentional with cards.  Intentional with gifts.  Intentional with my kids.

Intentionality is where the idea for an advent paper-chain came in.  I figured it was the type of craft I could do in a short time, and it would check several things off my Christmas wish list; It is a visual way to count down to Christmas (for a 4 and 2 year old this is KEY), we can work on number recognition, and most importantly we take a moment each day to sit and reflect on the reason for the season. it goes.  My quick-as-a-wink paper-chain.

It started with my computer...

I started with a star.  I used colored paper to avoid doing the coloring myself.  I printed out the names of God, to keep things in perspective.

 Then I added construction paper (that I found a variety ream of at IKEA on clearance for 99 cents)...

I used four sheets of construction paper: 1 red, 1 green and 2 white (to save money...Mrs. Cheapskate, that's me!).  I then stacked them in the order I wanted them, and snipped the stack into six strips.  Easy peasy.  I wan't looking for perfection.  These kids don't care, why should I?!  I numbered the strips from 1 to 24.  (You could also write out bible verses, daily challenges, etc.)
And now for the finished product.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Choosing Your Blessings

Dear God,

I really want pretty flowers in my garden.  Would you please give me some?



P.S. - I want pink ones.  That smell pretty.  That don't have too many thorns, you don't want me to get hurt!  And not too small, I want to be able to cut them and put them into a vase.  Okay?  Thanks.

P.P.S. - I know that my soil is a mess with weeds and rocks.  You can work miracles, though, right?  Thanks.

P.P.S. - I'd rather that you water my garden in a different way than rain.  It gets too muddy, and the moisture makes my hair crazy.


Have you ever prayed for something, and then given God a roadmap as to how you want Him to provide for / bless / heal you?  I wish I could say I am old enough to have avoided such a 'rookie-prayer', but hence, I found myself doing just that a few months ago.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Pumpkin Vine Speaks

A pumpkin vine is a fascinating thing.  No, it doesn't audibly speak, but if you pay attention, it might offer a morsel of wisdom.  This year I planted giant pumpkin seeds, in hopes of growing a GREAT pumpkin. Though that didn’t quite pan out, I did learn a few great things from this all-consuming life-force.

By far, the greatest lesson I learned was through the pumpkin vine’s ability to adapt through rooting. Though it has its main root system at its base, as the plant grows and vines out, it will re-root itself (with those curly little arms it has). In doing so, the pumpkin vine is able to receive more nutrients, and in turn becomes healthier. This fact came in handy when I found that my vine had some sort of pest / disease killing it from the main root system and slowly working its way up the vine. When I realized that I had to do something in order to save whatever semblance of pumpkins I had remaining on the vine, I made the decision to cut the vine at its healthiest point in hopes that the additional roots it had planted were sufficient to maintain life.

Not only were they sufficient, but the vine was healthier than it had been for months. The leaves were giant and dark green – no discoloration or wilting. New blossoms exploded like firecrackers, thus giving way to baby pumpkins. New fruit on a healthy, new(ish) vine.

Listen.  Can you hear the faint whispers of wisdom?

· In life you will find rotting, diseased influences. They have the ability to burrow into your soul and destroy you from the inside out. If you can’t shake their effects, it is best to cut them off, move on. You’ll be healthier for it.

· As you grow and move forward, dig in your heels. Embrace your new environment, your new circumstance, your new life. In doing so, you grow and deepen your roots and maintain your health. You become fruitful. You become more beautiful.

· Adaptation is the essence of life.  The alternative is an entire wilted vine of a life; bitter, destroyed, decayed. The essence of death.

Who says plants can’t ‘talk’?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Sis - Jessica Anne Hekman

Today is my best friend Jessica's 30th Birthday.  As I've been contemplating this post for a while, I thought it only timely to post it today in honor of her.

Jessica and I have been friends for 18 years now.  Our entire lifetimes have been woven together
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