Monday, August 21, 2017

What Could Eclipse a Total Solar Eclipse? A Rain!

Yes, friends.
Happy TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE DAY!!! Otherwise known as the day where parents everywhere have lectured many a child about damaging his/her retina, only to have to explain to that SIX year old what the heck a retina is. Also known as the day of packing lunches in disposable containers to send the kids to a lovely day sponsored by the library and school...which is probably not happening thanks to a good soaking rain, so I hope you kids enjoy your lukewarm Gatorades!

Anyway, you want to know what could totally eclipse the excitement of a total solar eclipse in farm country? A good half inch of RAIN (and maybe more...but my dog has eaten our rain gauge, so I'm just "ishing" it.)!
While I want to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event, you should see the happiness on my face realizing that God will not let us burn up during this eclipse, as we are dry as a danged bone around here. I know it's getting down to the harvest wire when we'll be complaining about moisture, but as for me and my dusty car, we are celebrating rain!

Which has gotten me to thinking about the brevity of drought and eclipses as well as the reactions we have had in our first world culture. Today, as I trolled social media while the twins watched Daniel Tiger (don't judge, I never claimed to not be #firstworld), I saw how many people in my feed had pulled their kids from school or were headed south for a better view.

Really? Pulling kids out of school? Our school is having a program, so I believe that my choice to work happily in silence while experts guide the discussion and monitor the aforementioned retinas of my kids seemed like a parenting win, but you do you.

Next on my feed were my farmer friends, praising God about the rain. Not in a "who cares about the eclipse," but more of a "if the world doesn't end because of this event, we will be able to feed and clothe our family and yours" sentiment.

Which led my thoughts down the rabbit hole of how we as people of means and constant news and information are reacting to things in nature. In true first world fashion, there are reports of price gouging in hotels along the prime viewing area and sketchy, unprotected glasses (KIDS-SERIOUSLY, YOUR RETINAS WILL FRY). There are people who are way into this, and while I think this is pretty amazing, shouldn't just the actual event itself the amazing part? Maybe I'm just jaded. Maybe I'm just going to walk out in my driveway, wet from a soaking rain and wear the glasses my mom bought me (she's still concerned about my retinas) and enjoy the moment in a very "in the moment" way.

Why do we live in a world where everything has to be so pomp and circumstance-y?

I think that's what got me to consider the reaction of the farmers to the rain and the eclipse. Our worlds are ones that are focused on "us." Put that on a pillow as one of my best, most deep thoughts, right? And, while my world today is more concerned about the information my kids are given, their eyes, and the fact that the crops and pastures look good, I'm a little less concerned about an eclipse themed meal tonight, or driving three hours south to get a better look.

I'm not being judgmental, so please hear that. You do you. Seriously.

Again, today is amazing. This event is incredible. I wish I could see Amelia's face when she gets a good (albeit safe) look at something she'll remember forever. Jack was bummed to miss it, because, like a smart first grade team, those teachers didn't want to monitor glasses wearing and are instead watching it on live feed. However, I want all of us who have listened to the coverage, made the plans and the meals and maybe even trekked to another zip code to also remember that while this is all amazing and incredible, the natural world is pretty danged amazing all the time. Maybe it's because of where I live and who I am, I have seen a lot of pretty amazing things that I haven't had to wear protective eye gear.

A well timed rain shower being one of them.

Friends, enjoy today, but don't wear your protective eye gear tomorrow. Look around. Find someone or something/someone that is bigger than you, bigger than any party or news coverage, and celebrate it/them. Eclipses have happened in my life's story several times, I have been too busy worrying about what's blocked out that I couldn't appreciate the outer rim.

So, I hopefully haven't offended all you cookie bakers and party makers. Enjoy today. Look through your glasses, and know that I'll be standing in the puddles in my driveway, thanking God for rain and uncompromised retinas.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

You're Not a Princess Anymore

There are still a few wedding pictures up in our house amidst all the school and baby and family pictures.

One in particular is on my desk in our home office. Our office is in the heart of the home, a marketplace of craft supplies, our family computer, the entrance to our basement, and my desk. By design, I like it (and the locking doors help when I have conference calls), especially when little voices come up with commentary behind my desk chair.

"Mommy!" Mary gasped one day with her hands on her face. "You're a PRINCESS! And Daddy is so FANCY!!"

Well. If that doesn't make the piles of laundry on the floor and the salty feel of my skin, still not showered from my morning's run melt away from my memory...

"But you're not a princess anymore."

SCREEEECHING halt to that warm fuzzy.

Joe does look fancy in our picture. I am princess-like in my white dress and veil. It's a candid picture of us sharing a kiss after our wedding ceremony, 14 years ago today.

Today, not so fancy.

The past 14 years, very few "princesslike" moments and fancy times have been shared.

But that's real life, folks. Pinterest and photos and curated images and perfectly posted Facebook memories are all lovely and nice. But they are not real. Our wedding day was a lovely one. I have shared that while it was one of the best days, best too was not perfect. We planned and planned and planned and God laughed and laughed and laughed (all while He unleashed the best hail storm He could during our ceremony.). The picture on my desk doesn't show that we were all pretty worried about my aunt, who was supposed to be our photographer. She was in the ICU, unsure of what was wrong, in critical condition.

But that's okay, too. I'm good with remembering the moments that are small and sweet on that day. Isn't that what we're supposed to do in marriage? Remember the sweet small times and hold on to them as we navigate the big?

This year has not been the easiest in our marriage. Lots and lots and lots of hard and scary and tricky and trying and exhausting moments and conversations have been had. Joe and I have pushed through, pushing away at times, but always figuring out how to come back together to work through the hard. It is human nature to look around and see everyone else doing it "right," and our culture has become one of comparison. However, it is faithful marriage and believing in and living out those vows we shared 14 years ago to quit comparing and start loving each other, even when we ourselves are unlovable.

This next year of marriage is going to be easier, right? There will be moments of princess and fanciness, right, Joe? Nah. There's still laundry and car pool and ballgames and lessons and cattle chores and dust and bills and appointments. However, in this new day, this new year in our marriage's story, I am encouraged more and more every day. I do not recommend a massive health scare and employment woes as a way to see your spouse in a new light...however, I am seeing you for the fancy dude you are. I am seeing your new role at work making you fulfilled. I am cheering on your new page in health. I hear your encouragement as I walk into my career. I lean on you for support in the hard days and laugh with you when the not-so-fancy part of parenthood rears its ugly and gross head.

Thanks for 14 years of non-princess, non-Pinterest days, my love. Life is hard and messy and crazy, but I wouldn't want to roll my eyes at anyone else but you.

However, next year? Can we take it easy on the crazy? Maybe a nice island vacation instead of a stent?