Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seriously. Or Not.

Hello, friends! As you've guessed, I took a little break from ShoeFitz this week; we were out of town enjoying time as a family, which didn't leave much spare time. You'll be happy to know that we had a fabulous Easter. In retrospect, though, I feel the need to confess a few things. . . maybe.

First, these are not some of the only Easter pictures I took of my children:

They couldn't be the only pictures of my kids on Easter. I just bought a new camera! And Little Man is missing, along with his new shirt and tie. *sigh*

(Doesn't look like I'll be winning the Mother of the Year award anytime soon, does it?)

You'll just have to take my word that the kidlets looked adorable in their Easter getups, and Little Man definitely didn't stain his new shirt. With strawberry juice. Or syrup.

Nor did Royal Princess have a. . . um, baby-style clothing disaster during church. She definitely wasn't wrapped up in just her pink blanket while her mother frantically searched for a new outfit. And certainly no one laughed and said, "Aww, she looks like a cherub!"

But I don't have any pictures of that. (Seriously, I don't.)

Also, I didn't wake up at 5am Easter morning to the sounds of a mouse scurrying around my kitchen. I didn't stand there like a statue, and of course I didn't spend the entire Sunrise service, Easter breakfast, and morning worship utterly distracted by the thought of mice. . . er, evidence in my pantry. You know I would never do that.

And then I didn't go ten hours away on Easter for a family trip, and completely neglect my blog.

(Or maybe I did do that last one.)

How was your Easter?

Trying not to start complaining, even after Lent,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Real Miracles

Tonight, a simple thought from a simple woman.

Sometimes things look like no big deal. A seed, a bud. . .

A boy and a girl. Small potatoes!

And so it goes: One lone Man, abandoned by His friends. One solitary tree, rough hewn and cruel.

One single death. One dark afternoon.

Small potatoes.

What does it mean for us, with cars and smartphones and mortgages? The death of One thousands of years ago -- whose idea was it to make this a holiday?

Who cares to celebrate a bleak Good Friday?

Blossoms spring into bloom.
Boys stretch into men.
Girls transform into women.
It's reality and miracle all at once.
Are you breathless yet?

And so the dead Christ breathes, eats, walks again.

Wakening from winter's sleep, nature teaches Easter's lesson: He is risen.

Click on the links (seriously),


In life, so many things are unsure. Health. Tax credits. Job security. Gas prices (!!!!). Pant size.

From day to day, life changes. It can be a little unsettling, can't it?

People are one of those unsteady things. Don't get offended! I'm no Rock of Gibraltar, either. We're all in this together.

Do you remember way back in grade school, when you had to write that paragraph about being a good friend? It was the day after Joe and Bonnie got in a fistfight during art class. Remember?

In 3rd grade, you wrote, "A good friend is nice. A good friend can keep up with you at recess. A good friend shares his chocolate at lunch." (And then you thought, "Shoot, I don't have any friends.")

Back then, you didn't know about lifetime friends, what it takes to stick with people through the bumps of growing up. You were mostly thinking about recess and lunch.

But now you're a little older, and if you've been gifted with a lifelong friend, you know this: Friendship isn't all about nice, or quick. Sharing chocolate, definitely. . . but it's more than that. Lasting friendships require honesty. Trust. Faithfulness. Support. Laughter (especially at yourselves).

And most importantly, lifetime friendships extend grace. Grace. Not the sort of grace ballerinas have -- luckily for me. Friendship offers grace that says, "No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, I'm here for you; I understand, and I'm for you." Grace makes us flexible, warm, true friends through the changing seasons of life.

Do you have a gracious friend? I do, and what a gift she is. Someday we'll be ancient together, laughing at our great-great-great-grandkids.

But we're not quite there yet.

Happy birthday, GraceFriend!

Looking back and forward,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Everyday Learning

Y'know, it really is true that you learn something new every day. Once when I was a not-quite-teenager, some friends and I decided to assert our independence and walk to a guy friend's house. A mile away. Without permission. And then we stayed 'til after dark.

Because of that, I almost didn't make it to my teenage years. You see, our families thought the three of us were lost, and if you think I came home to parents who applauded that move of stubborn defiance. . . well, you'd be mistaken. I was grounded for nearly 10 years. (Or maybe it was a week.)

The moral of that story? Cell phones were invented too late in my life to be of any real value.

As a mom, I usually consider myself to be the teacher around here -- instructing my kids about life, liberty, and how not to be stupid when they're 12. 

But our relationship really isn't that simple. I work with my kids, and they work with me. And every day, utterly without fail, they teach me. Here's just a sampling of the wisdom my kids have shared recently:

1) If you suddenly discover you can't open your oven door, don't panic. Just check to see which superhero might be trapped on the ledge.

In this case, it was Aqualad. And Little Man quickly informed me that he wasn't trapped; he was just working on his supercomputer. Naturally.

2) Never leave a toddler unattended. Ever. (Forget all that stuff about independence.) If you do leave a toddler unattended, know this: She will find food, eat it, and make a terrific mess.

Here, Royal Princess has just hijacked a half-eaten Swiss Cake Roll. (Don't judge.)

3) Worms are fun. You won't die from picking one up, and most worms won't bite you or adopt your body as a host. (Eww!)

They're also long and stretchy, kind of like a rubber band.

And like a rubber band, they'll break if you stretch 'em too far. (Sorry, Mr. Worm!) Thankfully, they can grow their hind parts back. (Aren't you glad you visited ShoeFitz today? All this education, totally free. . .)

As an added bonus, here's something I learned all on my own:

4) Hair dye gone astray can make your bathroom look like a murder scene. Or something even worse.

Shower curtain, with a new hair color.

I give you my solemn word as Ye Olde Preacher's Wife -- it's just hair dye.

And now, since I'm pretty sure this isn't a super appropriate Holy-Week post, I'll leave you alone with your thoughts. Maybe tomorrow there'll be a moral to the story. But today, I'm just. . .

Still learning,

Shared here: A Mom's Eye View!

Monday, April 18, 2011

In the Shadows

In springtime, even the shadows are lovely.

Sunshine makes art of darkness, and with hearts wide awake -- we give thanks.

I know it's Monday, friends. I know.

But on this Passion Week Monday, take a moment to wonder: If the sun paints this beauty with darkness --

What will the Son shape from you?

Of all weeks, this one proves it most: Even in darkness, He's working.

#702 -- Beauty in the shadows.

Thinking on Monday,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Balancing Act

I have a philosophy here at ShoeFitz, a little motto that gives me some direction. Mind you, I seldom really have a plan, but a motto might be a good start, right?

So here it is: If you don't have anything to say, don't say anything.

How's that for a blog post?

(Spread the word.)

It's just that I'm having this kind of week/month/life:
To-Do: Get back to work.
Can you relate? Yes, you live around here, too. You can relate. 

When you're busy with one thing, you're pulled toward another. While you're working at #34 on your To-Do list, you're hurrying to get to #38. You say yes five times to five people, but can only accomplish four; instead of focusing on the four successes -- it's number five that wears on you.

You've been there. 

And you know, usually I'm such a fountain of good advice. (You: *spitting coffee all over your computer screen*) (Sorry about that.)


But tonight, I'm just wondering how, where, and when I'll finally find balance in this life. (Is it ok to struggle honestly on my blog for a minute?) At thirty-something years old, the only thing I've figured out how to balance is the pile of papers on my desk. And even that's about to topple.

So friend, a question for the ages: How do you balance this life? Even if you don't have all the answers, maybe we'll make it through better if we stick together.

Maybe changing that motto,

P.S. -- For those without a blog or Google Account, you can still leave a comment if you'd like to do so. Anonymous notes don't bother me one bit, or you can comment with your (first!) name under Name/URL (even if you don't have a URL). Or you can just grab yourself a piece of cheesecake and forget all about balance and ShoeFitz. Whatever works for you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Live This Day

If you've been around here for a while, you know how I feel about The Preacher. (My Preacher, of course, and only My Preacher).

I totally don't deserve this man. Look at him -- the tough guy with a Royal Princess melting his heart. Emphasis on tough. (And melting.)
(Hello, Preacher!)

Let me tell you a story about that Preacher -- and how he saved my life, this very day.

The doctor's term for my 6:30 a.m. out-of-body experience is hypoglycemia. Basically, my body sometimes has so little glucose/sugar/energy that it neglects every job but breathing, focusing solely on the expanding lungs, the thumping heart.

It leaves the walking, the balance, and the words to My Preacher. He's there.

By 7:15 this morning, I've been gone (asleep/awake in my low) for 45 minutes. My mind doesn't remember any of it. I come back aware, walking -- held up by The Preacher, my pace jerky and unsure -- to the bathroom. His arms hold me steady when my body rebels.

The first thing I say, finally back in bed: "Sorry." Tears pour. (If ever I can't help it, it's in this moment.)

In my mind, the word forms a single liquid drop of sound. Winding down broken pathways to my mouth, it splatters into a thousand droplets. When it finally spills from my lips, sorry is two syllabic grunts, incomprehensible.

But The Preacher understands, comforts me: "It's ok." Relief seeps into his tight muscles, leaks into his words, where I hear it clearly and am myself relieved: She's coming back.

I wonder later in the day about Tabitha. After her own personal resurrection day, when she thought of Christ -- did He seem to have Peter's eyes? Hands? I wonder.

Meaning no idolatry, I prayed as The Preacher fetched me a glass of milk. . . This morning, Lord, You look very much like My Preacher. But thinking more clearly now, I see the truth I missed.

In my awakening, my renewal, my own shadow of a resurrection this morning -- The Preacher looked very much like Him. Not the other way around. And isn't that the whole idea?

As for you, reader, what will you do with the time you've been gifted? I pray you'll take my morning to heart, and enjoy your day. If you walked to the door this morning, if you saw a blue sky above (or even if it was slate gray), if you had breath in your lungs, and words in your mouth -- give thanks.

And live this day.


Raising Homemakers

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New and Improved?

Have you ever been intimidated by something new? I'll let you in on a little secret that not many people know about me. Ready?

I'm not much on change. Or surprises. Here's me, surprised.

(Not happy; just surprised.)

In case you're not sure, I'm the one with cake on my face. Surprise!

So yeah, change is intimidating for me. Surprises are even tougher; they're change you can't plan for.

I made a pretty big step this week toward changing my same-is-good mentality. It's really deep. Are you sitting down?

I dyed my hair.

(All the guy readers just left the room. . .) I'm pretty sure I'm the only woman on planet Earth who went 30 (plus?) years without Miss Clairol. But this weekend when our friend visited, she offered to color it for me, and I just said yes. Past my fear of the unknown, beyond my anxiety about surprises (Y'know, like, "Surprise! All your hair fell out!"), I said yes.

I stepped out of the boat for the first time. And do you know what? I love it! The Preacher likes it, and Royal Princess said, "Ooh, preeetty, Mommy!"

When I asked Little Man if it looked the same, he said, "No, Mommy. It looks purple." There's a moral here: When you color your hair and love it. . .

(Pretending to pray. . .)
Don't ask your son for an opinion.

And now it's your turn! What moral, legal new thing are you going to do this week?

(If it's something illegal, don't tell me.)

Thinking about going blonde. Not,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eye Opening

Last week as I worked at my desk, suddenly the room grew dark. Reaching to turn on the lamp, a quick glance out our front window explained my dim situation.

A storm approached. The sky, blue just minutes before, suddenly grew slate gray. And then came the rain.

My poor pansies -- planted when the temperature was 65, surviving now weeks of freezing nights -- were storm-tossed!

It's a good thing they like water. And storms. And neglect.

(What, you know people like that? No, me neither. Now try to pay attention.)

Like most thunderstorms, this one lasted only a few minutes. Thunderstorm strategy: Rush into town, shut off the lights, drop buckets of cold rain, and then . . .

Paint the rainbow.

That was my original thought for tonight -- to encourage each of us that storms don't last forever. Even the fiercest ones don't have staying power.

But then as I was editing pictures for this post tonight, I noticed something. This is the first picture, enhanced:

Did you see it? Faintly, above the tree? Look closely. (Or if you've lost your glasses, just click on the picture; it'll magnify.)

Did you see that rainbow? Friends, it was there all along, hidden in smooth slate sky. Even when I couldn't see it -- the light was there.

Makes me wonder: How closely are we really looking?

Close enough to see the Light in our darkness?

He's there for the finding, and worth the search.

Squinting hard at rainbows,

Raising Homemakers


Will someone please tell me where the last several weeks went? Our evangelist friends left Thursday after carving out nearly two whole weeks to be here with us, and another dear friend came for a visit on Saturday. Between services, visitation, and other various church functions, today is The Preacher's first day off in over two weeks. Not that he's taking a day off. (Amen, pastors' wives?)

You know I never complain. I'm so over that! *ahem* And I don't have anything to complain about; this is the life we love, the work we want. We love this work -- even when it's consuming.

So today, on the first weekday of a new week, it's time to set aside time for gratitude. On purpose, to remember our gifts. As Ann Voskamp says:

"I will not desecrate this moment with ignorant hurry or sordid ingratitude. . . Here is the only place I can love Him" (p. 70).

And here we are.

This week, no numbers. (Who can number so many gifts? I've run out of numbers.) This week, just remembrance.

Just slowing to see.
Royal Princess, hiding from bedtime
  Life is beautiful. Powerful. Mysterious. (Busy.)

And very, very good.

Loving it,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Same Old Story

The other day, I posted a sad pout about my Royal Princess. Remember? *sigh*

Today, since it's Friday (and no, I'm not linking to that song, reader), and nobody wants to cry on Friday -- let's finish the week with a little glimpse of Little Man.

Here he is in his Ninja phase:
(Note: Little Man looked at that picture this morning and said, "Where's my face?!")

And of course the Mad Scientist pose:
*He lives! He LIVES!*

Y'know, most days Little Man is pretty much a Big Kid. (You remember when five was big stuff, don't you?)

And then other days. . .
I'm not so sure.

You saw that, didn't you? That hint of a shadow of the chubby baby cheeks he used to have?

So never mind about all that Big-Kid stuff. 
*Can I keep him, Mom? I promise I'll feed him!*

Happy Friday anyhow,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dare Ya

Did you know Easter is coming?

Of course you did. (You've been to Walmart, right?)

Let me ask you a serious question: How many Cadbury mini-eggs have you already eaten? Wait, don't answer that. Nobody. Answer. That.

In some circles, Easter is pretty controversial. (And no, not because of the sugar.) 

It's controversial partly because we can teach kids to stare at the pretend of Easter, but lose sight of the Truth. And that's valid -- it's awfully hard to find balance as parents. Thankfully, God made kids resilient.  
But I have a different idea from my own life: I think adults (who don't have the good fortune to get baskets of chocolate bunnies) lose sight of the Truth, too. In our Easter dresses and Easter hats, Easter egg hunts and Easter pageants, Easter sunrise services and Easter songs, it's easy to get

Prideful (Oops, scratch that!), and
Just plain worn thin.
Oh, and did I forget to add -- forgetful?

I'm already feeling it around here. I'm stowing away candy (for the baskets, silly!), shopping for shoes to match Royal Princess's dress, and praying I'll find pants to fit Little Man's long, long self. 

I'm getting distracted by the presentation of Easter, and forgetting all about the Power of this Day of days. The day His followers didn't realize they'd been waiting for; the day we over-prepare for, yet somehow manage to under-experience.

Am I all alone in that? Maybe.

So I'm daring myself to stop. Stop running around like a headless chicken (eww, do they really do that?), stop preparing for a perfection that won't come anyway, stop forgetting to remember the whole point. Stop, and then go -- slower this time.

I'm daring myself to downshift a couple gears, to teach my kids by example that Easter isn't about presentation; it's about Resurrection.

Oh, and by the way. . .
I triple-dog-dare you.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Not Pouting

I used to have a daughter.

Technically, I still do. But I mean she used to be my daughter, a real true-blue mama's girl. My Royal Princess.

But suddenly, I think I might've lost my girl. . .

To that man there. That Preacher. Did you see him?

Yeah, I think the Preacher has stolen my baby girl's heart. *sniff* Preachers aren't supposed to steal, are they? Don't you feel sorry for me, dear reader?

You should hear the way my Princess says, "Hey, Daaaadddddyyyyy!" It's ridiculous.

I just can't figure out why she'd prefer him to me. Is it because I put her in timeout. . .

. . . While he does this?
On second thought, I just might like that Preacher after all. He's good to my girl. Maybe he'd be willing to share that sweet baby Princess with his old wife.

Either way, all I know is this -- I'm keeping this one:

Tonight at church I picked him up to hug his neck, and someone did a double-take. I'm not sure if it's because he's almost as tall as I am, or because he looks older than his five years, but that Little Man is still --

My son
My boy, and
My kidlet,

And I plan to pick him up and hug his neck as long as I can.

Too bad the Princess won't let me hug her anymore.

Definitely not pouting at all,

Monday Morning

Here in the Fitz house, last week was a very busy one, with good friends and their three sweet kiddos visiting for special church services.

(I'm keeping this one. Don't tell.)

And can I share something with you? It's easy when you're running, to forget to look for gifts. Yet there's no better time to keep looking, than when you really don't have the time to look.

(Wait, did that make any sense to you? You: *scratching head*)

Since I promised the usual excellence today, I'll share a piece of the view from here lately. Maybe this way, I can keep them forever.

(The memories, I mean, not my friends' kiddos. Except maybe one of 'em.)

Gift #675: Gingham, bloomers, and blue shoes

#676: Boys' eating pizza...

And more pizza. (Don't even think about asking for a piece!)

#677: Hair bows! And a girl Beauty, happily playing dolls with Royal Princess.

#678: Springtime, signs of life everywhere.

And this morning, I'm thankful for a fresh spring day -- warm before the storms (#679). I know it's Monday, and maybe a sin for me to say this, but:

Don't you just love fresh starts?

Make Monday a fresh start.