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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Being Elizabeth

The name Elizabeth means “God’s promise”. We can all most likely think of a famous Elizabeth, but I’d like you to meet a few less widely known bearers of that same name.

My grandmother, Nana as we called her, was Carolyn Elizabeth. Nana was an incredibly strong woman in spirit who raised four children, helped manage the affairs of the family business, and endured the loss of two siblings while immigrating to the United States with her mother, a brother in the Korean war, and two of her own children. Growing up, I saw my Nana as my rock and comfort. She held our family together and made sure we took care of one another. While her health began to decline later in life, she remained just as stubborn and independent as her body would let her, even holding off her eminent death as long as she could still fight. My Nana embodied God’s promise of faithfulness, love and devotion to family. She was an Elizabeth.

My dearest childhood friend is Elizabeth Tova. She has been a blessing to my life for over 30 years. I have known her longer than I have known my own siblings. Elizabeth is curious, wise, creative. She possesses a spirit of adventure and inquiry that has always enthralled me. Her education, passion and work have sent her traveling the globe in service to others, collecting stories from various cultures and people. I could sit with her over coffee for hours just listening to her retell her adventures. Her latest adventure is motherhood and I have watched her embrace it with fervor and reverence. Because of Elizabeth’s captivating spirit, I chose her as my daughter’s namesake. Elizabeth embodies God’s promise of wisdom, grace and friendship. She endures as Elizabeth.

My oldest daughter is Tovah Elizabeth. Her names are a combination of “God’s promise” and “blessed” and she is both in so many ways. I lost a child at a young age and being given the opportunity to be a mother again with Tovah was God’s promise to restore me and place a new life in my hands. I will never forget the feeling of holding her for the first time and being completely at peace. Tovah is a remarkable child with a huge heart for others. She truly believes in humanity and has such a strong faith. She sees needs to be met and wants to solve the world’s problems. Her strong spirit far exceeds her age and is evidenced in her compassion toward her friends, family, animals and mankind. I am in awe everyday of the two amazing girls God has allowed me to raise and love. Tovah embodies God’s promise of compassion, service and steadfast faith. She bears well the name Elizabeth.

I too am an Elizabeth, Erin Elizabeth, and there are many more. I facilitated a training workshop just yesterday and, as we were sharing, an instructor described his daughter as a spirited, gracious and loving child who came to him and his wife later in life and is such a delightful six year old. I asked him what they named their daughter. He replied, “Erin Elizabeth”. I said she’s off to a great start.

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Life’s Interruptions

This week has been emotional. Let me just get that out there. It was filled with the ups and downs of life, but this week it felt more like sharp corners than the natural ebb and flow. I think it hits us hardest when we don’t feel we are in control – when the situations smack us upside the head without warning. I have been forced to be stronger than I thought I could, forced to wait and be still, forced to make difficult decisions, and forced to provide for others with even greater determination. Yet, in everything, there is a lesson to be learned. This is the stuff.

These are the things I have been reminded of this week:

  • Say “I love you” often and in return
  • Hug your children everyday
  • Take a walk in the sunshine
  • Pick up litter, even if it’s not yours
  • Smile at your cashier/waitress/toll booth operator/bank teller
  • Say “Thank you” and mean it
  • Pray AND praise
  • Have coffee with a friend (or tea, or ice cream)
  • Cook a meal together
  • Don’t neglect your passions
  • Cuddle with your dog (or cat)
  • Pause and listen

In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I’m blessed

It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use
– Francesca Battistelli

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Be Comfy

My youngest tells me I’m comfy. She says this as she cuddles with me on the couch or gives me one of those “I don’t ever want to let you go” hugs. I’ve often been torn about how to receive this comment. As a 7 year old, I am sure she intends it as a compliment; sort of a nod to my motherliness. As a woman, I generally want to be anything but comfy. I have many gifts, but “stick-to-it-ness” is not one of them. Sure, I can get started, but at some point I usually punk out and deem it not worth the effort. Therefore, losing weight is not my forte. I probably can’t get away with claiming it as “baby weight” now that my babies are 7 and 11.

I do attribute my shape to my two pregnancies, which have given me curves I never had previously. I am grateful for my curves and for how feminine I feel when I embrace them. Yet, there is always this inner voice that tells me there could (and should) be less of me to go around. This voice has been amplified by others who have used their outer voice to influence my inner voice and convince me that I am not sufficient, just as I am.

Raising little girls is a lot of pressure, particularly when trying to combat the images to which society holds them. In our family, our standard is much higher for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). I have spent a long time trying to please others and fit into their mold, but that never works out.

I am me. I am cuddly. I am comfy. If that is good enough for my daughters, it is good enough for me.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Nothingness

Shadow FunThe weather broke this week into a milder stretch that I hope will sustain itself so we can finally claim spring. After being away from my girls for the better part of a week for work, I was content to do absolutely nothing this past weekend. We started our weekend of nothingness with a homemade Belgian waffle brunch (because we slept in, of course), followed by “Sample Saturday” at the local grocery store. An afternoon Netflix movie about a dog provoked us to “tears of joy” as my oldest would say, and prompted us to lay on the floor for a bit, cuddled up with our aging Lab. We baked cookies, made pizza bread for dinner, and cuddled in my bed for some quality time before resting up for our second day of doing nothing.

A glorious Sunday afternoon prompted a (short) walk with our dog, then a (longer) walk just us three girls searching for signs of spring. We took pictures to document our sightings and a few others just for fun. Upon returning home, we retrieved the porch chairs from the shed and washed them down. The silent consensus was to avoid going inside if at all possible, as evidenced by each of us taking up residence on the porch for the better part of the evening. We played games, shared thoughts, laughed and loved, until the day ran out. My youngest summed it up perfectly, “We should do nothing more often.”

Indeed, we should.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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