A Halloween for the Books

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My little Transformer and Butterfly were up at 6am, excited to put their costumes back on. Now they’re prancing around the house in their make-believe story, him with his wrecking ball (we sort of improvised on his costume which included a McDonalds Happy Meal Transformer mask, a medieval knight breastplate, arm guards, and a wrecking ball), and her in her frilly “Batgirl” dress with purple wings.  A bat may not be the same as a butterfly, but Little Miss didn’t need to know!

Yesterday was one of those mom wins for me. It was freezing and drizzling and the kids didn’t have costumes, but I was determined to let them experience Trick-or-treating this year.

I got to trick-or-treat twice in my life (once was in college) and I distinctly remember both experiences.  One was on a visit to my Aunt Gloria in Pensacola who threw a tshirt and face paint on my cousin and I and I was some type of… pirate? But it didn’t matter what I was because I got to experience that American tradition with my cool cousin Allen, and to a 12 year old, that was pretty fabulous.

So we ran to the dollar store and walmart and found a way to help both kids be what they were hoping to be– a transformer and a butterfly.  Then I dragged my sister and nieces along into the plan and at 6pm we were headed out, running around the neighborhood to find houses with their porch light on.  With each door that opened all four tinies chorused, “Trick-or-treat!” and beamed like they had sung the Hallelujah chorus. They filled their buckets and we headed home to make some cookies (store bought and prepped just line up on a cookie sheet for 8 minutes and be ready to eat– my sister is so smart). After cookies the kids ran around the house like little hooligans in their costumes till we said goodnight and I forced them to bed at 9:30.

And I didn’t stress out over the mess, or the late night, or the internally perceived pressure to give them AWESOME costumes.  Because all I could see was my 2 year old Butterfly’s little face running in her tutu and tights through the cold dark neighborhood streets exclaiming, “I trick-or-treating!! I gonna get candy for Daddy!!”  I might as well have taken them to Disney land. And while I can’t make Trick-or-Treating happen every day, I was pretty darn proud of my mommy self yesterday.

This week I got home monday from a weekend away, ready for 4 days home with the kids before the 4 of us go on one more trip.  We’ll be in 3 cities and there will be a lot of meetings, but our business is starting to take shape and gain some great contacts, so it’s worth one more push to travel as a family for a few more days.

And after those 8 days of travel together, I’ll be ready to crawl in a hole.  To hibernate with the kids for the winter while we let Daddy do all his business travel and we have mac-n-cheese for dinner and spend every last dollar on half-day preschool for the kiddos (so they can be ready for school in India and so that I can do all of the admin that keeps backing up).

So there’s just a lot. And some days it feels a little heavy.  And a little too fluid for my liking.

But I’m learning two things. First, there’s something I learned in a workbook on anxiety and depression that a Christian counselor recommended to me.  The problem with anxiety is when it runs your life and dictates your decisions, keeping you from doing what’s important to you. You have won a major battle when you can identify what you value, and do it whether there’s anxiety or not.  To do what matters to you– whether it’s a God-given passion or a deep conviction about where you live or how you love others– and to do it even with anxiety, struggle, or fear means that those things have less power.  They no longer run your life.  And this is a simple truth, but so powerful for me in my life.

Second, this week home I’m meditating on Psalm 23:

“Your goodness and mercy will follow me (chase after me, pursue me) every day of my life.  And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (God’s Holy Presence) for the rest of my life.”

David knew what it was to be chased after and to fear for his life. But He saw that the goodness and mercy of God was an even greater force “chasing after him”, and that it was his choice to see these, and to choose to live in God’s presence, even when he had no choice but to live in caves and tents, on the run.

So today I look up and over the mound of responsibilities, and I see His goodness and mercy, chasing after me like never before.  And that just fills my heart with gratitude.

Common Grounds Coffee, my new happy place

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