Monday, May 17, 2010


I think this may be my new favorite word.

I long for simpler life.  I long for simpler food.  I crave, yearn, hugely desire a simpler schedule.  I would love there to be less to do, more to enjoy.  We have been given ONE amazing opportunity in life to find our purpose, meet and live for our Maker, seek His will, enjoy His creation, demonstrate His love.

Why does life get so complicated so quickly?  One day I think I am managing the chaos beast, then the next, he is out of control, spinning us in circles!

I am focusing on simple.

Just doing what I can.  trying to be a good wife, a good mom, a loving person.

For all that opposes me in those objectives (and there seems to be a lot), BOO to you.  I'm down on the garbage that is shoved down our throats on TV, billboards, radio, newspaper, any news.  I'm down on the "I NEED" the latest version of this or update of that - what is wrong with the current model anyway?!  It still works and yet we feel the need to replace everything (car, computer, phone, camera, house, spouse...the list can go on and on!). I am down on the need to entertain everyone, keep everyone busy, or worry that we might miss out on something.

I will survive even if I don't know who is on American Idol this year.  My daughter will thrive even if I don't sign her up for dance class or horse back riding lessons.  I will survive despite not getting to wear the latest styles.  My husband will survive without the newest and greatest camera (hopefully!)!

Why are so uncommitted to what is now and what is right in front of us?  I know for me, I have been blessed with an amazing family.  I need to simply focus on that.  My kids are young right now.  That is a HUGE commitment...what I need to focus on.  It is what simple life is for me right now, focusing on the little people I am raising and supporting the man I committed my life too for as long as I live.

Now, how to get simpler food on our plates?!  I just watched "The Wilderness Family" movie from the 70s.  Hilarious and yet eerily familiar to me and my own young childhood!  At one point, they're eating a meal together of only food they grew or made, or killed themselves.  I was jealous!

Monday, May 10, 2010

in honor of all mom's out there

My 3rd Mother's Day.  Not so different than any other day.  up early, cooking, dishes, laundry, chores, tears, laughter, hugs, and kisses.  a sweet treat to end the day - my choice.  loved hearing "happy mudders day" from my 2 year old.  her words melted my heart.  plus, her impromptu "I love my mommy" song in the car was pretty amazing too.  she was singing to herself, but I heard it!!

I don't know where this came from or who wrote it, but it is good.  I am often reminded of how much being a mom has helped me learn what "dying to self" really means.  This story gave me another encouraging perspective on motherhood:

I'm Invisible
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.  Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more:
Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being.
I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'
I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, and she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.  I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:  No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam.  He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'  And, the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'  I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.  No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.   But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.