I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont...

I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here
Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Ummm and yes that was my title till my lovely husband corrected me.  Ha ha!  Properly humbled.

Hi Mom,

I thought it might be a good idea to write down some of the stuff we were talking about this morning.  Well the biggest thing of course is that the Patriots won the Super Bowl last night!  Kevin … you know him, that guy I had been dating for six months but you knew I would marry, and our four oldest sons watched it.

I remember watching The Pats with you, Dad, and the boys when I was a kid (ha ha funny how “the boys” meant Rocky and Larry my two older brothers, and now “the boys” in our house are my 7 sons).  Anyway, the noise from football games used to drive me crazy, and truthfully I didn’t do much watching, I mostly sat on the couch in the same room with you all and read a book and looked up when I heard everyone yelling at the screen.

I have to admit that I still only have a peripheral knowledge of the game, but yesterday the kids really wanted to watch.  So we put together a little Super Bowl meal of mini meatballs with dipping sauces for dinner and homemade cream filled donuts that Kevin made earlier in the day for dessert.  Umm yeah, I married a man of many talents!

The three littlest boys were up to watch the start of the game, but by 8 they were tucked into bed.  The rest of us curled up on the couch and floor together and dug in.  We are not a football family and Kevin had to give a refresher to some of us as to what was going on, but everyone caught on pretty quick.

For most of the game…  it wasn’t looking good.  In fact it was looking terrible.  The Pats got in their stride late in the game and turned it completely on its’ ears.  Kevin kept saying “The game isn’t over till it’s over.” to sour faced boys and grumpy mumbles.  Someone thought we should just turn it off altogether and end the misery.

And what if we had?  What if we had?  What happened in that game was nothing short of miraculous.

I’m not going to pretend I can talk football here.  But in just a few hours last night we went from dejected and almost without hope to elated .  At 10:30 after it was all said and done I called Dad and Marge and shared in the pure joy together.  The boys knew how upset “Papa” would be if they had lost, so they were extra happy, for him, that the Pats had won.

Kevin and I sent the kids to bed knowing it’s school for most of us in the morning.

It wasn’t till 5:45 this morning after my shower, getting ready and thinking about that glorious game that I remembered you Mom, and started thinking and talking to you.  It’s hard to believe that 18 years ago this morning you took your last breath here and your first breath… there.  And how in those days after you died how even with Kevin, and Dad, and “the boys” (my brothers, not my sons), I just couldn’t see how the game could turn around…

But it did, just not in 3 1/2 hours like last night, it took longer, but wow, I mean wow…

I know you know, but, I have 7 sons Mom!  And I moved from our home by the sea to Vermont with Kevin 11 years ago, and we make Maple syrup and on good apple years we press apple cider, I talk to Dad every day on the phone and love being an everyday presence in his life even though I live miles away, and I learned to love Jesus just like you said I would, and more and more and more.  And life still gets tough sometimes, just like it did when you were living, but I’m learning to love the way that came just so naturally for you, the way of loving people where they are at and looking out for the underdog.

And last night I got to watch a miracle of perseverance and hope with my oldest sons and their Dad and this morning after the three older boys were off to school on the early bus, I got to listen to my 8 year old plunk out the hymn “How Can I Keep From Singing” while he sang the lyrics, all while diapers were being changed, and morning clothes were warming by the wood stove.

And then just in memory of you I steeped some Lipton tea in your Willow Ware teapot mixed in a little milk and sugar and sat with that guy you knew I would marry (before I knew it).

My did God turn my life on its’ ears since you’ve been away Mom, and it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you, but it does mean the game isn’t over yet and I’m still playing.

With love from your little girl here on earth who is thankful to the Pats for never giving up, and praying for that kind of hope and perseverance for us all.

~Lisa

Calm in the Storm…

Calm in the Storm…

Years and years ago I was 23, I lived on my own in a big old apartment with french doors that had skeleton keys and I worked three part time jobs to pay for the luxury of my very own personal space.  I ate ramin noodles and ice cream most days and learned to be grateful for the nutritious meals I ate at my parents house on weekends (you know the ones I scoffed at as a child).

It was during those tween-like, early twenties years, full of angst that I wrote poetry and taught myself moderately to play guitar and worked on my “art”, all with the backdrop of my mother striving to live through the biggest fight of her life.  Her battle with stage 4 cancer.

I had always had a dark side, I remember feeling bouts of melancholy since early grade school, not knowing exactly how I fit into the world.  It wasn’t till college that I learned I could or even should use those feeling to fuel my art.  I remember a friend saying after seeing one of my pieces:  “It looks really well done, but why does everything have to be so gloomy!”.

Anyway, I remember this day, a few years after I had graduated from college, it was a stormy day in my soul and nature seemed to feel the same.  I was sitting at the Gut, the tip of the peninsula where I grew up, with an ocean that reflected my mood.  I watched the seagulls sitting on the waves keeping their equilibrium while everything rocked and rolled.  After being planted on my bum on that stony beach for a while drinking it all in, I drove the half hour back home to my apartment, pulled out my oil pastels and drew with fervor on a piece of cardboard I had.

There is something I’ve always been drawn to about this piece and while some of my artwork has gone the way of scissors and tossed, painted over, or put away, this one has stuck around.  I named it “Seagulls in a Storm”.

It has been on a few different walls in our house, but the last few years it has lived above our wood stove.  I never meant for it to stay there that long.  I have a big canvas I put together 3 years ago to replace it.  The only problem is I just can’t seem to figure out what to paint on that canvas.

And lately the angst-ee-ness of “Seagulls in a Storm” has really started to itch at me.  It just doesn’t seem to fit anymore, the melancholy that always came calling for such a large part of my life, has been calmed…

So I decided to look for a way to change the story.

Rummaging through some of my art, I found a collage I put together about 5 years ago from pieces of a painting I made in the dizzying months after giving birth to my very first son 15 years ago.  Sleep deprived and hungry for something other than diaper changes, nursing, and rocking a colicky baby, being lost in paint was such a relief. The frenetic swirls of color from my early 30’s reflect another sort of storm and another effort at painting it out.

The collage looked nice on the wall, but didn’t do much to change the conversation.

Then I thought about Jesus and His fishermen friends and that wild night out on the sea of Gallilee when He was napping in the stern of the boat they were on and all His friends started freaking out thinking they were going to die as the waves swelled and the wind blew.  Waking Him up in terror the first thing Jesus does is shame them for having so little faith and then he did his Jesus-ee thing and stood at the stern and stopped all the swell.

So a few weeks ago I painted this and placed it under “Seagulls in a Storm”:

Then I grabbed a statue that one of my sons bought me for Christmas 2 years ago at a church bazaar.  It is of the Infant Jesus at Prague, I never really knew where to put it until now.

And last night I spent the evening hours (thanks to my husband Kevin who made dinner and took care of bedtime) painting an excerpt from Matthew 8:24-26 on a canvas and a framed piece of cardboard.

Voila!  Story.  Changed.

But, it wasn’t till tonight while writing this post that I actually saw how those seagulls I observed in my early twenties behaved just how Jesus wanted his disciples to act that night on the boat.  I always thought of the storm and the motion of those seagulls like the turmoil in my soul.  But, the ocean rocked and the ocean rolled and those seagulls didn’t flail about frantic, they just moved right along with it, peaceful as could be.  It was my eyes and my soul that couldn’t SEE it.

I always saw the storm, instead of how the birds were reacting to it.

I now have a new story above our wood stove, a hopeful reminder when it is all breaking loose and 7 boys from teen to toddlers are screaming for my attention, or at each other, or when the world outside our door seems to be insanity, that we are called to find peace in the noise knowing that asleep at the stern or comfortably atop the waves like those seagulls, God calls us to faith and it is faith alone that will calm our storm.

With love from the not very ocean-ee but still sometimes stormy Green Mountains of Vermont,

~Lisa

 

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