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This is why I love my church

Amen.

 

While I've long loved Glennon ala Momastery fame, I missed this video until the lovely Carol Sherwood shared it in the class she was teaching at our church. Love, love, love this!

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He
Knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners.

~Hafiz

For more about the Dropping Keys concept … click here.


Hardy Boys go to church

Heaven help us

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

OCT 7, 2014 | COMMUNITY

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I recently found a new way to be mortified as a mother: I took the boys to church.

They acted like they'd never seen the inside of one before. And to be fair, that wasn't far off the mark.

I embarrassed us first, as we stood in line to register for Vacation Bible School.

"So they stay until noon?" I asked. The nice ladies nodded. "And I just, like, leave?" Again, they nodded.

"Wow!" I blurted out. "If Vacation Bible School doesn't make a believer out of someone, I don't know what would."

I think it may have came off the wrong way, as silence descended as I ushered my confused children into the church.

Once inside, Jake loudly asked, "So, who exactly is Jesus again?"

On the way home that morning, Sam cheerfully told me what he had learned.

"Oh, also, mom. You told me God is all things, right? Well, I said that God is in my boogers and the teacher said, 'No.' So you're wrong about that."

Why, God, why? Why did my child decide to say "boogers" instead of something beautiful and poetic?

Oh, right. This is real life.

In real life, if you decide you want to become part of a church family, you have to jump in somewhere. And it's going to be a little bit awkward at first perhaps.

OK, if you're us, that's a given. But if you're feeling drawn to check out the whole going to church thing, you should understand it is a come as you are kind of endeavor. If you don't feel welcome after a few visits, go somewhere else.

It took me a couple decades to do exactly that. I'd encourage others to get there faster.

Of course, I'm not here to tell people what to do. I'm just sharing what's working in my far-from-perfect life.

In this life, my children manage to get their pants dirty walking the three blocks to church and turn the little, wooden crosses they made inside the church into guns on the front lawn afterward. I thought would be terribly awkward, considering we'd settled on a Friends church, but instead, people were actually quite understanding.

In fact, people have been so awesome, it's made me wish I hadn't missed out on so many years of church. So far, the only thing I don't like is the part about how it's in the morning.

Too often, I experience the incongruous combination of staying up until wee hours watching the debauchery on House of Cards, then rolling out of bed a few hours later for church.

But, despite the morning issue, I love the connections and friendships we're making as well as growing in our faith as a family.

I like knowing that all of my questions are tolerated, even welcomed. And no one acts as if he has all the answers, or as if that's even possible.

Plus, there's been some comic relief.

When we first started going to church, Jake began praying every night, with his stuffed Zebra tucked into his little folded hands.

"Dear God, please turn my zebra into a real one," he'd say. Then he'd open his eyes super fast to see if it happened.

So far, no such luck.

One rainy morning, Jake insisted on wearing sandals so he could be more like Jesus. I pointed out that it was raining.

His older brother countered with the story he heard about Jesus walking on water. I made a note to sign them up for another round of swim lessons, just in case.

On his first day of Sunday school, Sam learned about Job's trials. They are detailed in the Book of Job, once praised by Alfred Lord Tennyson as "the greatest poem of ancient and modern times."

My 6-year-old summarized it this way: "We learned about how God killed all of Job's family and friends. Don't freak out, mom, it's OK. God made him all new ones."

Needless to say, we've had plenty of interesting, clarifying conversations, one of them devoted to reassuring Sam that Job's story didn't break down quite the way he described it.

We also learned from Jake recently that he took us literally when we told him God was always with him.

When asked why he took off from the soccer field to the parking lot by himself, he said he was going to return to the very last place he saw me.

His dad told him we were worried, and that he couldn't go off all by himself like that. He assured us that he wasn't alone because: "Remember? You told me I'm never alone because God is always with me!"

That reminds me that life is full of misunderstandings, and that even though we all get a little lost sometimes, it's encouraging to know there is more than one road leading to home.

I trust each of us will know when we've arrived. We think we do. For our family, gathering at church on Sunday morning feels like coming home.

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Currently

At this moment I am …

drinking water with Thieves essential oil because I’m determined to be and stay well.

appreciating both boys simultaneously in school for six hours a week. But also treasuring my “just Jake” time.

watching the clock tick – these precious moments I have the house and my thoughts all to myself pass quickly.

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laughing at the memory of Jake making me this sweet necklace in Sunday school and then asking me:

“Mama, can I have that heart crown back? I need nunchucks.”

Then, later: “Here, you can have the nunchuck necklace back.”

eating too much salami

willing time to stand still so I can savor it more.

watching my children grow too fast.

prepping for Sam’s golden birthday as he turns seven on the seventh! (SEVEN!?)

opening (sleeping) giant cans of worms.

sleeping intermittently, hoping that gets better soon.

remembering some sweet memories and some I prefer to keep buried were it not for the fact that festering feelings cause a little bit of trouble left unattended.

brainstorming ideas for a Skylander style birthday party, thank you Pinterest.

wearing my favorite shirt that hasn’t fit in for. ever. (Feeling smug for keeping it now. Still not ready to throw away my collection of other sizes … just in case this is just another stop of the yo-yo that is my battle with bulimia brain.)

considering how much I have to be thankful for anyway.

making lists, and lists of lists because I’m nerdy like that.

feeling like things are going to be okay.

thankful for all of it.

***

Nathalie’s Notes from July, 2014: I’m surprised I’ve only done this type of post twice because I like reading them on other blogs so much. Reading the two I did I’m glad for just that much because of the simple snap shot it offers.

Which is always the way with personal writing. People think more is better, mandatory even. But please believe me when I say some is better than none. One diary entry a week, or even a year still leaves a record of what mattered, especially if you let yourself believe today’s minutia makes for tomorrow’s marvels.

If you want to try it yourself, you and don’t have a blog or journal (I’d love to help you reconsider that!) post your answers in the comments or email me. It’s fun! These two links have a few different prompts than I used today. I wanted to make the answers quick and move to the next, which I encourage you to do as well. This isn’t homework, there are no wrong answers. It’s not all of the things you are doing currently, just whatever pops into your mind.

October 2012 and March 2013. And, now July 2014. (Note to self: I totally messed this up and saved over one of my old "currently" entries. Wish I'd actually backed these posts up another way because it is lost and there were a couple little written polariods I wish I could remember!)

Thank you to Ali Edwards and Elsie Blaha who inspired this list of reflections in my life right now.

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So, also – I hate to be super self-promotey but that’s kind of a thing for people who are trying to carve out some income doing their own thing – I need you guys is what I’m saying.

I’m thankful for your readership, your friendship, your comments, your “liking” me in real life but also on Facebook at Nathalie’s Notes Facebook, click here.

And, if I haven’t pushed it too far all ready – could you take a moment and subscribe to Nathalie’s Notes in the box below? You’ll get a note in your inbox whenever there’s a new post and I’ll feel kinda awesome until I get the notification that someone else unsubscribed and then I’ll be all angsty again. It’s just the circle of (a blogger’s) life.

 

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Thank. You!

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Keep your eyes on your own paper

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

SEP 19, 2014 | Roots to Roofs

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There's this little thing I like to do called scrapbooking. You may have heard of it? It's a multi-billion dollar industry in this country and if you've ever kept something you value and put pasted it onto paper to preserve it you've done it.

But The Industry makes it seem a little more complicated than that. And, while I'm glad there is an industry which supports my passion for preserving memories, people were doing it long before QVC picked on the goldmine, I think we've gotten a little sidetracked by the glitter and embossing powder.

Because sure, it would be lovely to have an entire room at home dedicated to scrapbooking supplies, all you really need is a pen, pictures, paper and some paste. But even a stapler would do. But that's not safe for archiving, they will tell you.

Maybe not. But if my mama left me a bunch of pictures and stories in her own handwriting I wouldn't be worried about the rust stains, I'd just be stoked to have a piece of her heart in my hand. And I certainly wouldn't question her lack of embellishments.

As a writer I obviously believe in the power and importance of telling, and sharing, our stories, but it's not just the big, breaking news stories I want to see covered in scrapbooks. No, I would love for more people to just take note of right now.

We need to celebrate our everyday, ordinary lives. Especially, I think, in this digital age were less and less is being preserved in a meaningful, permanent way.

I accomplish this by taking a picture a day, most of the days, of something that matters right now and I do a little journaling about it and combine all of it in a pocket-page system called Project Life designed by Becky Higgins to simplify scrapbooking.

And for the record, there are more sticky notes than pictures in the pockets at the moment. This year, I'm about 33 weeks behind but have no doubt I'll catch up. Tomorrow, or another year. I've got the pictures and the notes and figure worst case scenario I can staple all of that together and hand it over to my boys when they're grown: there.

There's what mattered to you when you were two, and ten and thirteen. And also in there is what mattered to me, to your brother and your dad. You'll also find in there some of what happened in the world. Big stuff that mattered to everyone, and little stuff that mattered to just us. There will be books we read, meals we savored, things we did, places we went and the people we loved.

Project Life may not be for you. Plenty of people just aren’t into it. But, if this project calls to you, if you are excited at the thought of participating, you can totally do it your own way.

I loved scrapbooking when I did it my own way, back when I was unaware that there was an “industry” based on it. I naturally kept it simple by pasting pictures, stories and scraps of life (ticket stubs, cards, and such) onto paper.

I didn’t know, or care, if I had a style. Or how my style, or lack of it, measured up to others. Because I didn’t care. I was having fun with it.

And then, I learned about and became enthralled by the Scrapbooking Industry. I loved all of it. Until I realized that instead of scrapbooking anymore, I had become a hoarder of supplies and my pictures stayed in boxes and on multiple unorganized files on my computer labeled “new folder.” Why? I think I felt like I wasn’t “doing it right.”

I didn’t know it at the time as it was a gradual shift from actively engaging in my passion to sitting on the sidelines, watching longingly as others played Varsity.

The pages and projects I was looking to for inspiration seemed so complicated. So embellished. So not me. If that was scrapbooking, then I wasn’t a real scrapbooker.

Then I discovered and fell in virtual love with the work, mission and passion of creative people like Stacy Julian, Ali Edwards, Becky Higgins and Cathy Zielske's whose motto is literally "taking the crap out of scrapbooking." 

For me, they lead me back home to what matters to me: the stories, the passion for sharing them, the joy in creating and the purpose in preserving the moments that make up our lifetime.

These women were like the coaches who insist everyone takes a turn at bat because everyone has something to offer, their own way in their own time.

So if you have a desire to record your life in pictures and stories, grab some paste and get started.

And, remember, as it was in grade school so it is in all things: Keep your eyes on your own paper!

Coming up: The Hardy Boys go to church | The scraps of life – Project Life memorabilia | Raising the Hardy Boys, with fart guns | The time times I lost my journal at the airport, and at the gym, and at my boyfriend’s house.

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