Intentional Sacrifice

The Lord has always asked His people to sacrifice.  It’s looked different throughout Judeo-Christian history but the principle has been constant. Regardless of the sacrifice, Israel of old and the Savior’s followers now are asked to give something to the Lord that puts them in a vulnerable position.  That’s the nature of sacrifice right?  It hurts a little, or sometimes a lot.  We give something we want or love or maybe even need.  When the Lord asked Israel to offer up the firstlings of her flocks and her beautiful, unblemished rams, she was handing over very useful, perhaps even vital elements of her livelihood in order to be obedient.

In this day, one of the sacrifices that the Lord asks for is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  A lot of times that feels like willingness to me and I find myself struggling to find clarity in what the Lord is asking me to do.  In an effort to wade through the overwhelming number of ways to humbly obey and give of myself, I grapple with words like ‘needful’ and ‘expedient’ and ‘requisite.’  I seek to understand whether a situation is calling for specific talents or time or energy that I can lay on the altar.  This intricate dance is one that I get wrong often, either withholding too much or diving in with gusto that I actually can’t sustain.  It’s in those moments though, where I have the opportunity to see Him, to have Him teach me where I crossed the “needful” line or what about my offering was just below requisite.  I think it’s important to be willing to experiment because the process of learning to sacrifice can have sweet blessings.

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The Nature of Growth

You wouldn’t know it by looking at cotton, but like any fruitful creation, it’s seeds are carefully housed inside it.  With the fluff peeled back you can see the seed just waiting for the protective seasonal covering to fade away so it can grow.  Sometimes our personal protective coverings are hard to give up but it’s essential to the process of growth.  The decay of one gives rise to the other.  So the next time one of your protective walls comes down (in mind, experience or emotion) look for what is uncovered and thus able to grow.  Then nurture that thing by your thoughts and actions with a curiosity toward what fruit will come of it.

Abundance is everywhere…

if that’s what you’re seeking.  There was a time when I would focus on all that was missing from a picture like this.  That view was usually wrapped around a desire for more carefree cartwheeling children.  Life is so much richer now that I have eyes to see all that is there.  There is one beautiful joyful child and I get to mother her. There are cartwheeeling children the world over.  They don’t need to be mine for me to appreciate the hope, love and meaning that they represent.  The overflowing love I have for this one can fill her and then spread wherever it’s needed.  

 Whenever I need a reminder about what abundance feels like, I look at the never-ending sky and feel gratitude for the chance to experience life below it each day.  And then I do a cartwheel.

Bodies can heal

I have been off my synthroid medication for 8 months. I had my 6 month follow up in February and my antibodies were the lowest they’ve ever been, my thyroid hormones were were great.  I’m telling you this to give you hope because bodies can heal.  I have been told (repeatedly) by all manner of individuals that this doesn’t happen.  I have been told by a small handful that it can.  Anything is possible.

I remember sitting on the living room floor with Ritchie 2 years ago.  I’d just been to the doctor where they suspected I had celiac disease.  I was devastated because autoimmunity can be a slide and once you have one disease it’s easy to start collecting disorders until eventually your body is just mired in dysfunction.  I sat there feeling so disheartened at the prospect of that and also humble.  Like, well, if this is what God wants I will accept it.  But, like many of you, I had other plans!  Mainly living with and loving my family having adventures, using my gifts and skills to help other people grow.  These last few years have been an interesting adventure in cultivating a deeper understanding of the interesting tapestry that is woven from personal choice and God’s will.  Sitting on the floor in tears, I didn’t feel like I had filled the measure of my creation, there was more for me to do.  And not in a self-aggrandizement kind of way, just in a mothering-give-back-to-humanity kind of way.  So I asked God to help me figure out a way to do that, to fill the measure of my creation.   I remember praying to be healed and then over time I changed my prayers to ask for the gift of healing.  Instead of relying on something external to change my circumstance, the gift of healing meant asking God to teach me about this beautiful creation of his (the body) and to help me understand it and how to work with it’s natural tendency to heal.  I think sometimes we think of the gift of healing as something we have and use for other people but in my experience asking for the gift of healing to heal myself has been a different kind of prayer leading to a beautiful journey.  Like any artist, I have found my Heavenly Father to be more than willing to share the intricacies of His creations  with me.  Tune into your inherent strength & divinity, be brave enough to seek it and see what happens!

With love,

Lindsay 2.0

Family Council Quick Start Agenda & Notes

When beginning a new habit it’s important to start small, be consistent and build some incentive into it.  This Family Council Quick Start Agenda covers the basics and allows you to easily begin your first family council meeting this week. Use this agenda until meeting together weekly is an established routine (at least 1 month).

To your spouse you can say “Hey babe, I’d really love your feedback and input on some family stuff and I’d like to have a brief family council meeting.  I’ll take care of the agenda.”  People rarely say no when you ask for their opinion.

To your kids you can say “Hey guys, I want to know what’s going on with you, we’re going to have a quick team meeting after dinner on Sunday.” You may get grumbling but you can smile and offer to let them choose the game.

Expect to hear “How long is this going to take?” from all parties.  Smile and respond with “Not long, and it’ll be fun.”

Print 1 Family Council Quick Start Agenda copy for each member of the family and provide each person with a colorful pen which makes their random doodling all over your painstakingly-prepared agenda look especially nice.  Feel free to review the agenda with notes but if your family sees that many words on a page at your first meeting they may run for cover so tuck it under your copy of the Quick Start Agenda and refer to it as needed.  Start with the gratitude and make sure each person receives some because that sets a tone of love and appreciation for the whole meeting.  Ending with a game leaves everyone feeling like there was at least something fun that came out of it.

In our house my role is to manage our growth and experiences so I create the family council agenda each week.  In the coming weeks I’ll share ideas on how to evolve your agenda as your family acclimates and embraces the meeting.  So much of it is in the presentation and like Ritchie said, when the agenda shows up, we have family council.

Good luck!

Lindsay 2.0

p.s. I welcome your feedback and I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

“Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Elisha

Yesterday as I settled into the news of the terrorist attack in Belgium and felt the fear that comes when people are hurt, this scripture kept coming to mind.  These timeless words were uttered by the prophet Elisha to his servant when they woke up confronted with a seemingly insurmountable opposing force (represented by the tents).  Before taking any action, Elisha prayed that the servant’s eyes would be opened and that he would be able to see that their sincere and brave efforts supporting Israel were augmented by the surrounding horses and chariots of fire.  It was at that point that the real state of things was clarified to at least those two individuals.

Sometimes when disaster strikes or hurt abounds, it can be hard to “see” the hand of God because frequently we want to see Him in protection.  Like Elisha and his servant, we want heaven’s hand to be manifest in the avoidance of pain for innocent people.   It takes practice, patience and earnest seeking of the spirit to learn to see him in the midst of pain, to see Him in moments when resilience is being cultivated.  After yesterday, take a deep breath and acknowledge the fear that you naturally feel because it has the power to transform you, to give you the desire to see things you might not have seen otherwise.  When hurt abounds, as it does now, God can always be “seen” in the healing if that’s what you’re looking and praying for.

After acknowedging any fear or anxiety, try to see this: The signature of the adversary’s work is in fear, division and coercion. On the other hand, the signature of heaven is found in compassion, cohesion, healing and growth.  So find peace in the stories of compassion that begin to emerge, bask in the goodness that flows from people who care.   Find strength in the solidarity of humanity, the vast majority of whom abhor such violent acts.  Watch as wounds, both physical and spiritual, heal through the ministering grace of heaven.  Listen for the stories of people who draw on angelic strength and choose to grow through this hard thing that life offered them.  And hug your babies, your spouse, your parents or yourself, maybe sit in stillness for a few minutes, smile at a neighbor or a fellow driver, recognizing that whenever you choose to love, unify, heal, strengthen and support growth, especially in the midst of fear, you’re in good company “for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

With love,

Lindsay 2.0

Enduring the Pull

Around the age of 14 I learned to slalom ski on Lake Mojave in California.  I had been water-skiing for a number of years and I was getting increasingly comfortable and ready to put another sport in my recreational repertoire.  Sometimes life offers us the choice of taking on something challenging.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  This is one of the times I got to choose and here is what I remember about slalom skiing: Until experiencing it, I had little understanding of just how much work it takes to stay steady and rise above the water.

I had watched other people, snugly fit in their life jackets, hop into the cool water, wrestle with an unruly ski, fitting one foot in first and then tucking the other behind it.  I’d watched them struggle to keep their heads up as they waited for rope, jostled in the water at the mercy of the current and the boat wake.  I’d seen them grab the rope and straighten the ski, positioning their bodies directly behind the boat.  And then I’d watched them call “hit it” to the boat driver and endure the pull of the boat, rising almost effortlessly out of the water as the ski would plane out and they’d fly across the lake with exhilarating freedom.

What I learned when it was me in the water is that those few seconds that seem effortless are, to the skier, quite challenging.  And that the hardest moments of skiing are the moments of endurance between “hit it” and gliding across a lake of early morning glass.  No matter who you are and how strong your body is, those few seconds of extreme pull require commitment, endurance and vision.  You have to tell yourself that you won’t let go until you reach your goal.  You have to remind yourself that you can do it and you have to see yourself skiing on that lake.  Sometimes struggle is like that and when you’re in the thick of something hard, those moments where everything seems more than you can bear, you think you can’t hang on or that you’re the only one who struggles or that you’ll never move through the stretching moments you find yourself in.  It’s not.  You can.  You’re not. You will.  Believe & hang on.

Every summer when I go to Lake Powell I like to slalom ski at least once to remind myself what it feels like.  I usually have to make a few attempts because I’ve forgotten, as it’s easy to do, how to hang on to the rope when every muscle in my arms and legs screams for me to let go.  I ski to practice skiing, to get some water up my nose, shake it off and try again.  I ski to remind myself that I am capable of enduring the pull of the boat for as long as it takes to get me up out of the water.  I ski to practice steadying myself in positions I know will move me forward as the wake of the boat and the water of the lake rock me back and forth.  I ski to remind myself that it’s worth hanging on because there’s nothing quite like watching the sun rise as I slide across the lake with a smile on my face, the wind in my hair and my fingers grazing the top of the water.  Like most things in life, the price we pay for experiential knowledge can be steep but it’s worth the effort.

 

 

RSVP

You’re invited…

to experience life.  Sometimes it feels confusing, oftentimes it’s messy, it can hurt and be overwhelming, it has the potential to be peaceful, joyful & exquisite.

to inhabit a body.  Sometimes you’ll feel at odds with it, oftentimes you’ll forget that so much of life is written in it, it can weaken and break, it has powerful potential to heal and guide you to wholeness.

to be part of a family.  Sometimes it will surprise you, oftentimes you won’t realize how much it has shaped you, membership is forever soul-altering, it has the potential to support your growth & nourish you in a way nothing else can.

to make choices.  Sometimes they feel daunting, oftentimes you’ll realize you can’t control the consequences, it can be hard to make the same one consistently, they create your response to the invitation and they will shape your experience.

So much depends on how you receive and respond to the invitation. The invitation itself isn’t out to get you.  It may be offering to teach you a few things.  If you are snugly cloaked in the awareness that you are incredible and that you’ll have the strength you need when you need it, you respond with your inherent goodness.

If you draw on your strength of soul (yes, you have it) and seek to learn and grow, no matter how hard some moments may be and no matter how many times you have to get back up after you stumble, beautiful things are in store for you.  I promise.

With love,

Lindsay 2.0

Unexpected.

I have always loved this poem by Robert Frost. You’re probably familiar with it too…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the last two lines in the third stanza.  Until recently, I thought I would always eventually find myself on the first road…the place I thought my life would look like.  After some pretty significant differences at the outset of my parenting career, I figured I was just on a detour and I’d eventually rejoin the masses on the main road.  But I forgot about way leading on to way….I didn’t anticipate the ways that I would change and the people I would meet on my road and how that would influence future decisions, especially those having to do with this beautiful little girl in our house.   So I’m learning to accustom myself to surprises, to keep listening to my instincts and to appreciate the joy and excitement on this road.  I think I’m improving my adaptability but my stress resilience and courage could still use some work.  A lot of times it’s scary and intimidating to do things I’ve never seen done before.  I have no context for what “that life” should look like so I create it the best I can with the tools and knowledge I have, trying imbue it with as much confidence as I can muster and striving mightily to incorporate the all the goodness I was given growing up.  This effort, in turn, reinforces my ability to trust myself so at the next crossroads I assess the situation and make the choice that seems right for us.

Does everyone feel a bit lonely on their road sometimes?  This one can be a lonely place because I think maybe my life is a hard one to understand if you haven’t lived it or listened well and it’s hard not to be understood.  And yet, there are parts of this road that have been so intensely personal and beautiful that I usually don’t just volunteer my story, I wait for people earn the right to hear it.  I wait until I know it can be appreciated because I treasure all of it.  It is my story, after all.

So last night as I brushed a kiss across the cheek of my long-awaited, naturally-birthed, ivf, co-sleeping, nursing Montessori pre-schooler, I felt nervous, brave and very, very, grateful for the beauty she’s shown me along the way.