Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 {April} 10 on the 10th

This is what 10 on 10 is all about: taking a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month, documenting a day in your life and finding beauty among the ordinary moments. 

Up early, and flippin' pancakes. :) 

Off to mom2mom, celebrating this precious little gift.

And eating the pancakes I flipped. ;)

Love these women a whole lot.

Time to drop everything on the kitchen floor and chill with Kai for a bit.

Sitting up on a cupboard in my kitchen. So excited about this. Much prep to do for it in the coming week…

A sure sign of spring at the McCallum house…

Time to get busy! This would definitely be filed under "pictures I never thought would be taken", simply because I never thought I would be doing this (and of course I mean levitating).

LOVING our outdoors time today!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

 The boy who wanted to read

Once upon a time there was a six year old who was in first grade.

He felt like everyone in his class was a better reader than him.

He was doing just fine, but he had some fairly significant perfectionist tendencies. 
{His mama knew this because it was like looking into a little mirror}

So, he started working real hard on learning. 

And then he turned seven, and something *clicked*.

He started reading for hours on end. 
Some books were hard, and some words still made him pause. 

But - he didn't quit!

He got a sweet little dream in his heart, and talked about it every day, "Mom, I want to read to younger kids. I want to read to Kai's preschool class!"

What a lovely though. But not really practical. Every time Kai had school, Noe also had school. As much as the mama wanted to nurture the reading, the mama wasn't willing to pull the 7 year old out of first grade to read at the preschool….

And then the day came when the elementary school was on spring break one day before the preschool was on spring break. 


I love him.

 True to the competitive nature of
The House Full of Boys,

the nine year old had to read to the preschool class too…

And life was good,
and full,
and reading month will undoubtedly spill into summer for these guys who just can't get enough. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

 Thirteen years of raw files in my mind

My mind works innately like a camera. It's just a part of who I am. Perhaps that is why a camera feels so natural in my hands.

Right now - snapshots of thirteen years.

March 24th, 2001. Seems like a lifetime ago. But still, I have these snapshots that are clear. Raw, and lovely.

I thought I had so much more figured out than I really did. I was one month post twentieth birthday celebrations.

Walking down an aisle in a small white church building in small town Iowa.

And I thought I knew what love was.

For who I was, and what I knew at that time, I did know in part what this agape covenant was all about. But oh what a small part.

Tulle and lace,
carrying light pink and white roses,
arm linked with my dad's,
eyes locked on the man who was going go through the depths and scale the heights with me.
It's a snapshot that will always be burned into my memory. 

Tennessee. I see a snapshot of us on our first big vacation together a year and a half later. Sitting on the edge of the bed in our condo, with shaking hands and moist eyes, we gazed at two pink lines.

My world was growing. Without fully knowing the repercussions, my heart was opening in ways it never had before. And he was there, as always.

His eyes are intrinsically a part of the snapshots. Kind of like pools of clear water, they have pulled me from despair and spoken hope. They have found mine across a room and communicated protection. They have been disappointed,
and inviting.

I can see those eyes in a neonatal intensive care unit, and at the edge of a tiny graveside. I see them spring with hope as seasons move on. Tilling and planting and tending life together. I see his eyes reassuring me and imploring me to press on.

The snapshot of the tulle and lace brings memories of a girl's view of this union.
Because Marriage is such a sweet fairytale, right?
Passion, desire, fire.
Affirmation, exclusivity, attention.
Ahh, it was going to be grand! 

And there he was holding me as I threw up on the edge of the hospital bed, room spinning, facing preterm labor again.

And he walked into a house,
met with a crying 2 year old,
screaming 4 day old,
and sobbing wife.

And he was at the wheel on those trips back to Michigan, after a visit to my hometown, where I always started crying right around the turn off to Cedar Rapids….

More babies,
more experience,
less time to focus on *us*.

Those eyes. The instant our third came into the world - I specifically remember looking up and seeing pure and complete awe as he looked at me and his newest son.

And suddenly this wasn't about the fairytale anymore.

So much navigating.
So many needs.
Such a crazy learning curve.

Where do *we* fit in to this fast paced dance of pulling all nighters pacing with a screaming baby, diapers (so many, many diapers…),
sippy cups,
and medical appointments?

There he is, sitting on the edge of the couch at a loss as I balled up my body as tight as I could. Everything just looked so dark. To see an image without the flutter of a heartbeat was foreign. My flesh crawled and my middle cramped from the invasiveness of emptying my body of a life that no longer was. And he softly took my hand because he knew I would see light again, but he didn't know when.

And sometimes I was the one holding his hand and willing him to see the light.
Back pain,
job issues,
stumbling for his next step,
going back to school,
hours of work.

Sometimes we were so depleted we were in essence gritting our teeth and just holding on because neither one of us could see much light.

The snapshots are more clear at this point and they begin to have a whisper of things more eternal.

There's our God, holding us up when we can't stand. 

It's starting to make more sense now.
That this covenant is not about me,
or him,
or them.

It's about putting Christ on display.
For if anything can plunge the depths and still arise with beauty? - It has to be fully and completely about HIM.

I'm literally laying on our deck at midnight. He's cutting down trees in the backyard, not because they ned to be cut. I don't know if I've ever cried with my whole body like I did that night. We had both made poor choices and we had to face the dark monster. It was always there, cycling in and out of our story oh-so-uninvited. It was this lie that snagged him when he was stressed; that pornography could give him a few minutes of maybe not facing life. Maybe exhaling for a minute and alleviating the stress. But it never really paid what it promised and we were cut deep.

He smelled like sawdust and my hair was soaking wet. I did not feel love for him, but I clung, and he clung. There on the deck, we faced the ugly and we cried hard.

Four boys,
and growing up (ALL of us growing up. All of us),
and the last sippy cup being tossed.

I see him patiently winding a kite string. Over and over. Careful untangling it from a branch. Little boy feet run with the freedom and joy that comes with wind in your face, a kite in your hand, and knowing beyond a doubt that you have a daddy who loves you.

He's showing them Jesus. He's guiding them to the heart of their Creator. Those snapshots are priceless.

He's sitting in our living room after scaling the stigma of pursuing counseling, and I think I love him more than I ever have before in my life.

He lets Jesus turn his heart inside out, and he grasps onto Him with a desperation. I see it in those eyes. Still pools of blue, but with a new steely resolve that I never seen. And a tenderness; an incredible tenderness that I can't even began to see the depths of.

I'm reaching for the big heavy door at the counselors office too, and I have to just laugh. Stigma and pride and expectations have no where to go now. Goodbye. 

Remember that fairytale where the prince and princess go get counseling and…… ;)
Right. Me neither. Let's just go with real life.

I told God what I wanted our love story to look like.
I wrote it beautifully.
 It was nearly perfect.
And at first it looked like it was playing out exactly how I had planned.
Oh joy! Happy sigh.

But then I looked in devastated horror as my fairytale was pried from my fingers, and the ashes of my love story floated around me.
The ashes landed all around my feet, and something breathtaking happened.

This redemptive story grew up from those ashes that didn't look at all like my story. As if ashes could be seeds, it was like wildflowers blooming across a field.
There it was.
This is God's creation. These 13 years were never "my story" anyway. I am living out a picture of what it means to love without condition, to serve as Christ serves us, to open myself up to being served, and to forgive.

I am living out the greatest story of all. The gospel is put on display when I surrender my marriage over to the one who designed it. I wash his feet, he washes mine.

Last night we were in the kitchen together. So mundane, so everyday. Just cutting chicken. Just mixing sauce. just boiling water for rice. Just fielding the standard million and one questions from the many little boys. But he'd catch my eye, and I'd see that look (I swear he still makes me blush). No cares for the 8 eyes making up a mini audience. "They'll be super secure" we joke as we move closer and forget all about the chicken and the sauce and the rice.

I know perfection isn't the goal anymore.
I want more eternal things.
I want to put Christ on display and show a hurting world what it looks like to experience beauty from ashes.

 It's why Jesus came and it's what these last 13 years have been about.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

 {March} 10 on the 10th

So, yeah - due to limited internet,
a little pre-spring break getaway,
and life… I am more late than usual on this. :)

I'm holdin' on though. I am still doing this project on the 10th of every month, even if I don't get it posted right away. This is pretty much the rhythm of my life right now. Good, good stuff. Good struggle, good joy, good living.

And here we go.

This is what 10 on 10 is all about: taking a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month, documenting a day in your life and finding beauty among the ordinary moments. 

The boys are responsible for picking out their own clothes each morning. But sometimes we have a particularly tough time staying on schedule….. And they just LOVE it when I pick out their clothes for them and make "people" out of them. It's the little things. ;) This morning was one of those mornings

Don't let anyone ever tell you that stuffing a bean bag is easy. Ever. 
It's a good thing my mother-in-law stopped by. She may not have known what she was getting herself into, but she was a hero today. ;) 

Boy, do I love this appliance!! Still morning, and supper is ready. Score.

Maybe I can will spring to get here.  Time to get out the dresses. I don't even care {that I might freeze} anymore. 

A quick stop to check out some clearance racks in anticipation of next winter….

The very best part? {Still on a high from this…}

A working Monday. So nice to be back at the Center after a few months off. I love my boss. Except sometimes I'm her boss. But here she's mine. ;) 

Slight addiction. 

…And the mud. Oh my, the mud. 
But really, I have never been so happy to see mud in my life. 
It isn't frozen. "
'Nuff said.

Oh, and I really head over heels love the kid in the mud.