Sacrifice

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This post is for my mother(s). So if you don’t appreciate a sap fest, you may just want to stop right here.  Being far away from my mom, and being the poor planner that I am, I have decided to  give my mom the gift of words. If you were to ask my mother today about what she thought of my writing she would tell you I’m a “beeaauuuuuuutiful” writer and that one time in the 3rd grade I wrote the most amazing poem about my cat Hooty. That poem was the pinnacle of my writing days, and I have yet to surpass it (my words, not hers). I believe it started out like this, “Hooty tooty was a cutie, but she does not like to wear booties.” Child Yeats I was. Sheer unsurmountable genius. So mom, please try not to compare this homage to my glory days of third grade writing.

My mother was the queen of making everything special. She could make a simple ham sandwich into “The Amazing Kaylarific Sandwich”, or a trip to the grocery store a game. I will never forget my fifth birthday when I walked downstairs into our kitchen. Colorful streamers were strung from all the corners and sign proclaiming “Happy Birthday!” hung in the windowsill back-lit by the sunrise. All of my toys were seated around the table waiting for me and welcoming some new “friends” to the clan. They were all there to celebrate my birthday, and my mother was at the stove making pancakes that were in the shape of anything but circles. My mother taught me to celebrate people, make the most with what we had, to never make pancakes in the shape of circles, and to always sing “Happy Birthday” to everyone, no matter what their age.

mom & sis

My mother allowed me to be the includer that I am. She never put a limit on how many kids I could invite over, knowing that I didn’t want anyone to feel left out or forgotten. I think the most epic of sleepovers had 19, 12 year old girls in attendance.  God Bless you Mom! We lined our sleeping bags up so they stretched across the living room and squeezed girls in wherever there was space.  She later informed me that she used to change all of the clocks downstairs to trick us into thinking we were staying up much later than we were. Good one Mom.  She would run around helping me  cleaning the house to get ready, and making sure we had plenty of root beer and sour cream & onion chips, to later quietly disappear upstairs to allow us room to be silly. My mother taught me how to have an open house, how to serve the ungrateful, and how to trick your children.

mom

My mother is a champion cheerleader. She always told me that I was capable, to work hard, and that I could do anything I set my mind to. She told us to “shoot for the stars, and you’ll land on the moon.” As often as she told me how smart and wonderful I was, she also stressed that no matter what, she would be proud of me and love me. I did not need to prove my worth to her, or live up to any expectations that she had for me. She would tell me that she knew I was capable of great things, whatever that looks like.  Her love for me was never based on performance. What a beautiful representation of Christ’s love for us. We are His children and nothing can separate us from his love. His love for me is not based off a checklist of morals, but simply because I am His daughter. My mother modeled His love to me.

For years I watched my mother labor away at the landscaping around our house. She would hike out into the woods and dig up the biggest rocks she could find. And with her 5’3” petite self she would haul these rocks  boulders, single-handedly. She also kept a shovel in our trunk at all times. Wherever there were flowers growing on a back road, my mother was there to dig them up and bring them home. I used to be mortified by this as a child, but now I admire her resourcefulness. My mother taught me patience, persistence and hard work.

As much of a worrier as my mom tended to be, she allowed her children such freedom and displayed deep trust. She trusted me to make good decisions and stepped out of the way. I remember being shocked,  particularly in high school, when I learned of the limits that other friends had placed on them. My mother set our limits by allowing us freedom. I knew that my mother trusted me and that was enough to hold me accountable whenever she was far off. My mother taught me to trust and be trusted.

At church this morning people threw out words that made them think of mothers. One of the first to be called out was “sacrifice.” This is without a doubt the word that springs to mind when I think of my mother. She always went without so that her children could have more . She did not once complain or pile on the guilt. She does it all out of overwhelming love, and as easily as breathing.  My mother’s sacrifices remind me of how selfish I am, and how much I need to grow in this area of life.

mom & me baby

I have had a second mother officially for the past 4 years, but I really count it as 8. My mother-in-law welcomed me into her home to love and care for her son immediately (unless there’s something I don’t know about ;) ). In the early months of marriage and living just the two of us, I bugged her with cooking questions (how do you boil an egg?). She offered her wisdom in the kitchen as I painfully scrambled to find my worth as a wife in what I cooked for dinner. I knew I had a lot to live up to when I started cooking for my husband, and she lovingly answered my questions when I reached out for help. My mother-in-law also taught me how to be a better gift giver. Her outpouring of love for her family usually comes in gifts, and in the beginning made me very uncomfortable. She would not take no for an answer and taught me how to receive and how to be generous. I am also thankful for the amazing man that my mother-in-law raised. Behind every man who knows how to love and care for his wife, is an amazing mother who showed him the way.

Linda and Chris

I am blessed by the mothers I’ve been given, and really this homage is just to say, I see you, I remember what you’ve done, I am so very grateful, and I love you.

sleeping on mom

Hope in the Darkness

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Today when I climbed into my car there was an unexpected gift on my steering wheel; the new Mumford and Sons album from my dear Hubster.

Mumford and Sons new album

This is a purchased copy :)

I put it in and promptly blasted my speakers as I rolled my windows down. To me, Mumford is more than just good ole knee slappin’, foot stompin’, harmony belting music. Mumford represents a time that I felt on top of the world. It represents a clear split in the “before” and “after” of this year. On the coat tails of SXSW I had won free tickets to the Mumford, Edward Sharpe, and Old Crow Medicine Show concert on the LBJ library lawn. It was the end of spring break and I had been taking advantage of living in ATX during SXSW. I had been balancing work, school, and life and for the first time felt like, “Hey, I can do this.” Life was making sense and full of opportunity. We managed to get right up front and a night of dancing and singing at the top of my lungs commenced. It was one of the best shows I have ever been to. No holding back; my heart  syncing with the drums.

In the early days of that next week I was still basking in the glow of the music. I had watched the taping of the show that was streaming online over and over. I was still high on South By. Some grieving was subsiding and I was happy to be exactly where I was. I was content in knowing that we were meant to start a family someday. I was happy that we were young and taking advantage of living in one of the best cities in the States  before having children.  I was doing well in school and could see my future in front of me. I was feeling confirmation that I was doing exactly what I was meant to.

It was only 4 days after the Mumford show that life became the “after”.  It seemed that the concert had happened in another life time. I was violently kicked off my mountain down into the deep valley. In those first few months I had stopped singing. I just couldn’t. And as I mentioned in previous posts,I couldn’t connect with God. The way that I have always connected with Him is through worship. It took months for me to able to sing during worship again. But during that time of turmoil, I found solace in the lyrics of Mumford & Sons. They spoke to the darkness, desperation, confusion, and yearning for light and grace I was experiencing. Their songs blatantly question and express their anger but in a way that says, I know He’s still there.

Several months later, much has happened, and the Hubster and I have moved to a different part of town. This is something we fought against, did not want to do, was another repercussion of the year that we had no control over.  I had also been doing some crazy traveling and we were experiencing intense financial hardship. We were a couple of unsettled, frazzled, beaten down, homeless wanderers.

Lately I have been feeling like we are entering a time of settling (despite what my bedroom full of boxes says…). A time of regaining our footing. A time of planting down new roots. I am looking past the negative to see the potential growth. How fitting that Mumford should come out with their new album during this season. A reminder of hope, and joy in deep sorrow and loss. A reminder that I am  seeing purpose again. A reminder that I am seeing my future again. A reminder that life goes on and music is made.

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold on with all of my might
Just promise me that we’ll be alright

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