Monday, 27 February 2012

oranges and lemons....

Its the 27th February....... its the date my beautiful Mum took her last very peaceful breathe of oxygen lying in her bed of our home.

She was gone. She was at peace. I remember being a bit surprised. Even though I had been told it might happen I remember being surprised. I can't now believe its been so many years since this day........

I remember some days later sitting in a little country chapel with a navy corderoy dress covered in beautiful tiny lemons and oranges printed all over it.... I sat with my Dad, my big brother Mark and sister Helen..... I remember looking at the front of the church where we had come every week since I could remember but knowing this time was different. In my young mind I knew this was the moment we had to say goodbye. We had to let mummy go.... I remember looking at the coffin knowing she was inside but confused about what had happened. I remember singing songs and looking at lots of people but constantly looking back to my dress at the endless numbers of lemons and oranges. I remember lots of people saying stuff, talking about my mummy. I remember walking to her grave side. I remember the beautiful flowers that lay on top of this wooden box that she lay in.... and watching little bits of earth tumble in. I remember feeling a bit lost, a bit confused and yet feeling peace in my mind too.....Dad had said she'd be in heaven. So that meant she would be happy and at peace. She wouldn't be poorly anymore.
But today although I remember bits of this day vividly in my mind its not what I think of most when I think of my Mum...... I may only have been just shy of 5 when we said goodbye that day but as a Mum myself now there is something that strikes such a strong cord in me about what has remained so vivid to me about her......

- the way her fingers looked because I had stared at them so much when walked with my hand in hers
- what it felt like to be sat on her lap and be hugged tightly
- the sound of her voice
- what her hair felt like
- what she smelt like

I also know she was a good speaker, that she loved to sing, that she loved being outside, that she loved chickens (why!) and that she had had plans to go to cookery school but had sacrificed this for the love of her family. I know she was a peace maker, was generous with her time and love for others and that she loved God sincerely. I remember playing make believe in the kitchen with her, eating bowls of raisins as she cooked and her walking with me up the school play ground. I don't remember stuff..... I couldn't tell you her favourite food or colour, what she liked to read or many other everyday things... facts....

And even though I know these facts and remember specific moments..... what I 'know know'...... was what it felt to be loved by her as my mummy. Maybe because she knew her time was short she made more time to leave this legacy with me.... to leave these tangible memories of what it felt like to touch her hair, to sit in her arms and feel her face against mine, to hold hands....... its the things that embraced my senses.....

So whats this legacy mean for me now.... it makes me strive to be more like this. I have four beautiful children and so many of our days are fast paced, running here, doing this and that...... but what would my kids remember of me if I was suddenly gone tomorrow? I'm not saying I want to live like tomorrow I'll die but it does make me want to take time to give them one extra hug, to make the good choice more often between just sitting with them enjoying them over getting another thing ticked off my 'to do' list. To hug them. To take time. To make time. I want my kids to know the kind of security that comes from knowing they are loved like I knew.

I'm so thankful to God everyday for my Mum, who brought me into this world and gave me such an incredible start in this world and I'm so thankful for the legacy that she left to this day......

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

little tiny mustard seeds......

Mustard seeds..... the last couple of days they have caught my attention and I have been drawn to look and discover a little more out about them. Why you might ask?! Random! Well I don't know about you and how much of the bible you have read before but there a couple of passages that I have read this last week that I have read loads of time that ignited something in me to dig deeper. What really is this comparison that's talked about? What can I learn? I wanted to look at what a mustard seed was like? How small is small? How big does it grow? What? How? When? Where? My brain was on fire!

"I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Matthew 17:20

He said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches".

And here's what I found out so far. I found it fascinating!

- Mustard seeds are normally about 1mm in size...... thats a 10th of a cm!
- These seeds grown into shrubs/trees that are 20 ft high on average
- The shrub/tree is often as wide as it is high.
- It grows in an irregular shape
- The branches grow very close to the ground
- It grows well in dry temperatures

What did these make me think about? Well as I read these I asked God to prompt me, remind me of who He is and speak to me.....( please bare with me as this is not a theological stance.... this is just allowing God space to use a deeper understanding of His creation and His word to speak deeper!).

The difference between the seed size and the tree it produces is amazing. If you convert 20ft into mm its 6096mm..... that means that the seed grows to be almost 7000 times its size! Thats amazing.... all God asks for is the faith of a mustard seed..... if I have this and give it to him the potential is huge. Like huge. Really really huge.

Its totally fascinating that it grows best in the dry hot environments because so often as I look back over life the times where I have been most aware of my faith are the times when life has been at its hardest. The dry times. The times when God feels silent. The times when all the options aren't looking good. When I'm pondering the why's around loosing your mum at a young age and living with the family complexities as a result. When I'm exhausted and have to remain patient. When quality time for God feels like a fight to get. When my beautiful strong little girl is going through horrid tests to rule out a brain tumor and I'm stuck in the waiting room clinging to God waiting on results, hoping, believing and struggling to have the faith that this will all be ok. The hard times, The dry times. This is when I look back and see growth - honestly life changing growth...... just like the seed grow into plants and trees in the driest conditions. Reassuring. Yes. These dry hard times are fruitful. Phew.....

'God please help me remember this in the midst of the season'.

The inconsistent shape of the growth, close to the ground.....felt like a reminder that its OK that things are perfect. God doesn't require that everything is perfect and just right for us to see faith in action and miracles happen. He's bigger than our inconsistency. But He definitely wants us to be close so we can breathe, drink, absorb..... because He's the one who can feed us and spur us on. He desires to see our mustard seed grow to its full potential and wants to fuel that. He wants to be our food source..... our only fuel source. The Challenge for me.... to never allow anything else to be my food source.

You know I also checked out some images too in my research and the magnified image of a seed spoke hugely to me.....

If you look at it the surface is covered in an interlocking pattern...... each section is a different shape but all are connected. Just made me think how our faith can so often be affected by the people around us for the good or the bad... we each rub off on each other.... the mustard seed despite its intriguing surface once in the ground where its finds food and can be nurtured has the potential in front of it to see absolutely life changing immense growth. We are like the mustard seed. We come just as we are with all the bits that make up our history. We have a choice to either allow God to take all that makes us up and burst into life and ignite the small amount of faith we have or get bogged down in the ugliness of the inconsistency that is humankind.

So I'm left feeling challenged with this...... am I willing to give God my mustard seed size faith? Am I willing to truly put what I have in the hands of the life giver? Do I truly believe I will see mountains moved if I come to God just as I am? Will I keep planting? Life affecting questions if I allow them to be!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Moments that make everyday.......

I recently read a blog ( post which started with.....

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, “Oh- Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.”

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc

It caught my attention because I know this feeling well - when I'm out with all my munchkins and internally I'm at my wits end wandering how this all happened and why it is that they all choose to melt down whilst stood in the most public places, feeling completely out of control and honestly thinking whilst being told to seize the moment - why can I not escape this moment! Seize it - you've got to be joking right??!

But if you read the whole blog G (the author) goes on to talk about time:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.

And this sums it up so perfectly for me - motherhood that is. It is a rollercoaster. There is alot of Chronos time. But those kiaros moments make it all worth it......

I decided today to start to be more thankful for it all. The Chronos time builds my character, it refines me, it sharpens me. The Kiaros moments make me smile, lift my eyes up remembering the bigger picture of life and take stock that all the effort is really worth it...... its the reward for the effort. It makes me see the light in the dark moments and reminds me I don't walk this journey alone but that there is Someone ever present with me.

I had some of the kiaros moments today..... its like time stood still.....

- Neve of her own accord took her extremely unhappy baby brother (who had been distressed and cried all the way home in the car, was hungry and tired) into her arms and sang sweetly in his ear, because she 'noticed' that I had four kids to bring in, muddy scooters and boots to get sorted, and a 2 1/2 yr old who needed to be changed as he had a not so sweet aroma about him..... she sang to him till he was calm and giggling (to my shock) and then proceeded to find toys and settle him. She then found a nappy and wipes and laid them beside him ready for me when I eventually came. Simple but for me this was a Kiaros moment. She didn't have to notice.

- Cohen walked into the kitchen today with no requests, no pleads..... simple looked up and said 'mummy, my love you berry much', blew me a kiss and walked out.......

Kiaros. Chronos. I'll take both. Both make me stronger. Both make everyday worth living.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Steve Mulrooney - 10 things I love about you!

1. Your confidence to be just who you are - no shame in watching endless 'how is it made?' (!!), saying what you think and not giving in to all the unspoken rules and pretenses that so many people abide to which so often is out of fear of being different.

2. Your quiet humility - you are so good at so many things and you are so happy to serve and love people around so loyally without trying to put yourself in the lime light and show how good you are.

3. Your dislike of ketchup with most things and sweetcorn!

4. You're endless patience over clean socks (; & all my weakness x

5. Your strength to face your fears and have the courage to overcome them

6. Your consistent pursuing love for me - I really feel like your treasure.

7. Your desire to give our kids your time, to play with them, teach them stuff, to rough and tumble, read stories, kiss them, whisper in their ear about their how special they are - you are an amazing Dad.

8. For showing me the importance of talking about stuff, being quick to admit when you're wrong and saying sorry and looking me in the eye to say 'I forgive you'.

9. I admire you're ability to do endless research to reach for the best..... and I love seeing you work to get better at stuff like climbing.

10. You're confidence in Who made you, where you've come from, your ability to live for today (in a different country), and that you always put your family before yourself - I love you. We all love you. Never forget that.

You have always been my number one man and always will be....... I'm so proud of you and am so proud to be walking life beside you....

Happy Valentines xxx

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I'm not a eeky monkey....

The last few weeks Cohen has made me smile on many occasions as he has piped up with lines like 'I'm not a eeky monkey mummy, I'm Cohen'.... or 'I'm not cute mummy, I'm Cohen'. Why has this made me smile? Mosty because the look on his face is one that's so adamant that I've got it wrong when I've called him a cheeky monkey - like I've forgotten his name! Although its made me smile so many times and we've joked as a family at his insistency its made me think too - how often do we introduce ourselves with just our name? Or how often do you add something else?.... How often are we just comfortable to stand in our own shoes and say 'hi, I'm me'.....

Society has taught us its about what we can make of ourselves and in turn we've changed our thinking. We regularly introduce ourselves with labels (because if we don't we feel awkward) and so often we are guilty of requesting more than just 'me' from people we meet by also immediately asking questions about what someone does for work? what's their marital status? We're not comfortable with the person as they are..... standing in their own two shoes! I guess Cohen in his own little way has made me take a double think about being comfortable with who I am - who I am to be - not always what I am doing or what others say I am or am not..... Refusing to believe little lies about myself that are so easy to take on board, taking on stuff that I don't need to because its not helpful - but standing in the truth of who I am and being who I'm suppose to be.... I guess I just hope some of my little boys adamancy rubs off (;