The White Pages

On Being Married February 25, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 3:11 am
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We have been married for almost five years. We have been together for almost ten years. And sometimes I have to remind myself how much I. Love. Caleb. It’s easy to forget. To not feel it. Some days are feel it days. Other days are choose it days.

Other things I’m learning from marriage:

You can be in a room together. Or. You can be. In a room. Together.

Sometimes I think I have Caleb figured out. And then I realize I don’t. People are complex and must be invested in fully to be learned and best loved. One layer understood reveals a whole new layer to understand. This takes conscious effort.

He can’t complete me. It really is a romantic notion, but it has never once helped a situation when I expect Caleb to heal my deep hurts or be the answer to my discontentment.

That being said, life makes more sense when we walk it together. “I can’t fix it for you, only God can do that. But, I will hold your hand and walk through it with you.” -17 year old Caleb White

Holding hands is important.

It’s always a good idea to voice the deep things you know about someone else. Being known is one of the more beautiful aspects of marriage.

The words “fair” and “marriage” are not helpful together. Sometimes it’s not fair. That’s what it means to give yourself.

For example, sometimes you have date plans. And sometimes you forget to put gas in the car even though your husband reminded you to, and sometimes you run out of gas with the kids in the car because you didn’t listen to your husband. Then your date plans are “ruined” and you are dramatic and say, “Date night is officially not happening!” And sometimes your husband is gentle and kind (even though if it was him that forgot the gas you would have been…not so gentle and kind) and reminds you from grace that it’s not the what that matters for date night, it’s the who. And sometimes you are glad that your husband is so very different than you, even though you sometimes get frustrated with him for it. This is all hypothetical, of course.

What are the important relationships in your life teaching you?

 

Bag Lady February 11, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 9:28 pm

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Caleb has started calling me the bag lady lately. I resisted at first, but if I’m being honest, it’s true. I am the bag lady. On a normal day I have my purse, which is really a bag, the diaper bag, breast pump, and a food (lego, book, extra underwear) bag. I also have long hair, which gets caught up in all those bag straps. Inevitably I try and untangle my hair only to lose the straps of at least two of my bag lady bags. Usually I also have a carseat in the crook of my other arm and a preschooler at my feet running and growling in my wake. The straps fall halfway down my arm, I get all flustered, try and put them back on my shoulder only for my hair to get caught again and the whole charade replays itself.

Bag Lady is also a song by Erykah Badu that came out when I was 13. I only know this because I googled “bag lady”. Erykah told me, “Bag Lady you gone hurt your back dragging all them bags like that…one day those bags gone get in your way.” And she’s right. My back hurts. And my bags are in my way.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not just talking about bags. Sometimes it seems easier to juggle the bags and get tangled up in the straps when I really just need to reorganize my stuff and cut my hair. I choose the familiarity and “convenience” of the weighty baggage to the (potentially difficult) process of letting go of junk and starting fresh.

Lately I’ve felt a stir in my heart that says drop the bags. Let them go.

This is a spiritual thing.

It is also a biblical principle.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Let us throw off everything that hinders (Hebrews 12:1). Cast your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

Now I wrestle with how.

Photo credit: ~jjjohn~ / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Little Hands February 8, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 2:32 am

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What is it about little hands?

Little hands have the power to reach into my ever-important adult world

grasp my heart

and remind me to hold onto moments.

Moments like when Corban is sick and all he wants is to cuddle, to know that someone is in it with him. He reaches over with his little hand and plays with my hair, just to make sure I’m there and I know that he’s there, too.

Or when I’m finished feeding Brielle and she reaches her baby chub hand up to my face, smiles a little bit and babbles sweet baby sounds. It’s almost like she’s saying thank you, I’m full and content now, I just like being here with you.

Little hands remind me to be with.

To hold.

To savor the simplicity of small touch.

And to know when to let go.

 

It’s Messy Stuff January 27, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 5:14 am
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I have a love hate relationship with Play-Doh. I’m sure there are many who share my sentiment. I came downstairs yesterday to a proud look on Corban’s face and conspicuous pieces of the stuff on Brielle’s shirt. At first I thought he’d tried to feed her the Play-Doh. He quickly reassured me that no, “I just put it in her sweater, Mommy!” It’s in the baby’s sweater, it’s under my table, it’s mashed in my rug, dried on his sleeve, and floating at the bottom of my water glass. It’s also one of the only things that captures Corban’s attention for longer than ten minutes, so it has that going for it.

Corban got his first set of Play-Doh for Christmas last year (from us, no less). I remember opening it to immediate anxiety. It was so uniform, so one color, so neat, so compartmentalized. And I desperately wanted it to stay that way. I may have even googled ideas for Play-Doh preservation. I tried to convince the 20 month old that, “No, Bubs, the blue and the orange shouldn’t be smushed together.” We all know that I tried failed. 10 minutes in and my Play-Doh fears were realized.

Fast forward a year, and I’ve come to grips with multi-colored Play-Doh smashed into containers and topped with lids that don’t match. I’ve even come to realize how beautiful the ribbons of teal, purple, green, and yellow are when artfully sent together through the extruding press (actual name for the spaghetti maker, I looked it up). Had I spent ridiculous time and energy preserving the facade of neat and tidy, I would have missed out on the beauty of embracing the messy. And that, my friends, is gospel truth. Grace gets into our messy, bleeds out of our neat and tidy boxes, takes up camp in places we may not want it to be, and turns our hidden ashes into beautiful ribbons of color.

 

Thoughts on Courage January 19, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 2:36 pm
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My Word of the Year

Whenever I hear the word courage, I think of the lion from The Wizard of Oz, trembling and kind of annoying, and really, I never felt bad for him. I always found him the least likable of the characters, and I think its because his fearful spirit is in such contrast to the potential of a lion’s spirit. And perhaps I see a bit of myself in him. Or a lot.

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Emily Freeman talks about him in her book Graceful (which I just finished going through with a group of freshman girls from youth group-we all loved it). Courage was a part of the lion the entire time, he just didn’t know that he had it. The cowardly lion finally realized his courage when he had to save Dorothy. He was so caught up in the life of his friend that he stepped outside of himself for a moment. Perhaps this illustrates Jesus’ words in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Perhaps this is courage. Not hanging on tightly to a thread of self preservation, but letting go of our comfort, control, and fear long enough to realize what was there all along. A strength and a love that becomes our courage. A Savior that knows our own efforts to be valiant are tired and need his breath of victory.

If you read through Scripture with the intent to understand courage, one thing becomes apparent. It’s a command. Be strong and courageous, be strong and of good courage, do not fear, do not be afraid. It feels a little overwhelming, the thought that God expects us to muster up some sort of bravery. But by now, I know better than that. I know that when God says, “Be courageous!” there is always a promise, “For I will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:3-9, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Isaiah 41:10). I’m coming to learn that I don’t bring my courage to God, I get it from God. I bring my weary life and He gives abundant life. But, oh, the courage it takes to give up a weary life.

 

Things I Learned About Myself While Living In Very Northern Minnesota January 13, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 1:10 am
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The following is a stream of consciousness attempt to begin unpacking the things I learned during the three years we spent in northern Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior. There’s so much more.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Stanley

I like living simply. Too much scheduling, expectation, and technology makes me anxious.

I’m way more practical than I ever thought myself to be. I like streamlined and purposeful.

Being practical and paying attention to details is not the same thing. I am not a details gal, I’m a big picture gal. I can plan a great party with awesome food and cute decor but forget the silverware and cups.

People give me energy and inspiration. And then I need a nap. In other words, I’m an introverted extrovert.

I love the sound of water. There’s peace in the sound of water. There’s also mystery and power and strength. I can’t hear it without being reminded of my Creator.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Stanley

My fear of disappointing others has kept me from communicating disappointing or hard things. Failure to communicate damages relationships and ruins trust. I’m getting better at communicating.

One can live without things like Band-Aids, Kleenex (sorry, we don’t buy that, just use toilet paper), plastic baggies, paper towels, and conditioner when on a budget (funded by other people) and unwilling to pay the exorbitant middle-of-nowhere price for such things. Being cheap helps the environment, too.

I have a tendency to idealize and desire to love something (i.e. the woods), but that doesn’t mean I can will myself to like it. That being said, I learned that even though something makes me uncomfortable, the enjoyment and appreciation I get out of it when I choose to do it anyway replaces the like I thought I wanted and didn’t have. You can dislike something but learn to enjoy it. This is a good lesson to learn when you are married or have friends. Learn to enjoy what your spouse likes, even if you don’t like it (Caleb has learned to dance, cook, sew, paint my toe nails, and enjoy chick flicks based on this principle. He read that and asked me what I’ve learned to enjoy. Football, basketball, board games. I’m still working on that last one. He’s a pretty simple guy.).

I like to think I will be way more comfortable with adventure than I actually am.

I don’t like wild things. I like control. This taught me something about my theology.

Being a mom is beautiful. It’s also hard. That’s what makes it beautiful and rewarding.

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The boy that made me a mama.

God doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. That’s a good thing. That’s what makes Him God.