Confessions of a Whimsical Heart: Part 1

LauraAll Posts

images-11.jpeg

Like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, floating up to the blue autumn sky, fanning its wings beautifully on a blade of dewy grass only to be plucked from the land of the living by the chubby fingers of a curious child, the whimsical heart can be both beautiful and dangerous. I know; I have one.

The whimsical heart might be easily admired from afar; it has had countless adorable starring roles in movies (usually as blond Kate Hudsons) that encourage the whimsical person to “keep bein’ you!” and demanding that everyone else stand back and let the little one fly free. And what’s not to love? The whimsical heart is creative, passionate, joyful, fun-loving, and unique. That’s the part they show in the movies, anyway. What they don’t show is that the whimsical heart is also uncontrolled, shifting, and easily tossed about. Without boundaries, a whimsical heart follows Creativity, Sensationalism, Emotionalism, or Selfishness, which all end up in disaster (even though it was deliciously fun getting there). Even whimsical hearts that love God can spin ’round and ’round because we naturally approach God and His Word as a refreshing frolic or a gorgeous piece of artwork. Although our hearts might break over the beauty of the King, it might never dawn on us that His kingdom is full of practical wisdom for our day-to-day actual behavior. Left alone, we don’t easily discern between God’s definition of “lovely” and the world’s definition… nor do we remember that it’s important to discern between the two in the first place… nor do we necessarily want to discern between the two. (If you don’t have a whimsical heart, this is probably quite difficult to comprehend, but it’s true!)

These meditations have developed as I deal with regrets: things I’ve said, done, or thought in the past that give me shivers today. I can’t tell you how often my heart will seize in memory of something so ugly or ungodly that I’ve done, believing at the time that I was being funny or sensual or fabulous. I’m growing increasingly tired of learning about healthy boundaries through mistakes I’ve made rather than through wisdom and warning. So, I’ve been asking God to give me some insight about my heart and some guidance for the future. I’m not surprised that one of the first things God has done is revealed some boundaries that I will need to keep in place in order to be transformed from an uncontrolled whimsical heart to one that is controlled by the Holy Spirit and who stands firm in the Truth.

Presenting “The Needy List” of the whimsical heart:

* People who aren’t intimidated by a little passion and aren’t as easily convinced that every whim is gorgeous and right (enter Ryan, my husband; thank God)

* The permission to acknowledge that we actually do need boundaries (lots of people want to “rescue” the whimsical heart by encouraging it to be “more free,” when in fact they are shewing it towards chaos); the faith to believe that those boundaries will only cause our creativity and passion to become more beautiful (enter my family and dear friends)

* Deep instruction in the Word of God that demands a practical, consistent, behavioral response (enter Vivienne’s nap time when I can read God’s Word; as well as my dear friends and family, again)

* The courage to sloooooow down and respect warnings, consequences, and practical wisdom (enter the Holy Spirit, solitude, submission, good literature, and long afternoons on the beach… and turning 25, which seems to have been a defining moment in my ability to consciously discern between wisdom and foolishness)

* The divine ability to love the unchanging direction of the Holy Spirit over our own shifting passions (enter the Holy Spirit and His Word, again).

Why Vivienne Didn’t Miss Us Much

LauraAll Posts

Even though I diligently lined up dated envelopes across the refrigerator (each envelope with a note, a picture, and a special sticker) and marked the calendar so that that Vivienne could see our return date approaching; and even though Ryan and I called every day and video-chatted with her every-other day, I think Vivienne’s balanced response to our week-long absence was far more influenced by…

img_1466.jpg

Time with Grandpop.  Like cuddling up to Winnie the Pooh.

img_1471.jpg

Reading and playing with Grandmom and adorable cousin, Ali .

img_1477.jpg

Lunch with friends.  One of Grandmom’s surprise afternoon activities.

img_1493.jpg

Admiring the scarecrows at Peddler’s Village

img_1517.jpg

Enjoying a traditional merry-go-round ride with Grandpop.

And tons of other amazing experiences like winning a pig race at the local fall festival, finding a perfectly tiny greenish pumpkin, visiting and singing for an elderly couple in my parents’ church, taking her first train ride, playing with puppets, dancing, dancing, dancing (thanks for the sweet new moves, Aunt Erin!), swinging, swinging, swinging, and being loved like crazy.  I sure am glad I didn’t send our little homeschooling book along!  She learned so much  more with Grandpop and Grandmom’s curriculum than she ever would with mine. (Now that’s a valuable homeschooling secret!)

Preparing a Place: Reflections about Disney World

LauraAll Posts, Marriage

img_0255.jpg

For a week, we ooo-ed and ahh-ed as several thousand humans worked to make a magical get-away for millions of guests. Amongst the wonders:

* trash cans that empty into an underground system so that they are never over-flowing and never leaking mysterious syrupy liquid

* music that convinces a person that maybe — just maybe — she is living a musical after-all

* a little plastic “Key to the World” card that takes care of meals, fast passes, park entrances, souvenir purchases…

* chocolate-coated ice cream Mickey Mouse ears on a stick

* fireworks, perfectly pruned shrubs, smiling costumes, vanilla-scented air, and stories that end with “happily ever after” every time.

At first, I was a little suspicious of our choice to spend our glorious anniversary amongst miles of man-made splendor and amusements that, although wonderful, really can’t compare to God’s magnificent creations in nature. These suspicions were validated when Epcot’s most popular ride, Soarin’, swept me up and over gorgeous land- and sea-scapes, puffing citrus and pine scents at just the right time to make the orange groves and pine woods come to life. I thought it a shame that people waited for 75 minutes to board this ride (not us “fast passers,” of course); shouldn’t we have spent the week admiring the real thing instead?? Needless to say, this was my favorite ride.

Then I got to thinkin’ (with considerable help from my airplane book, Radical Hospitality) about the beauty of humans preparing a place for other humans. I thought about how I could learn a great deal from Disney World’s significant effort to relieve a stranger like me of my luggage, hunger, impatience, and adult-sized worries. They did all they could to allow Ryan and me to stroll hand-in-hand down romantically lit streets, to laugh together as 3-D bugs flew at our faces, and to shed a few tears together as Nemo gained admiration for his dad. They were abundantly generous with their colors, scents, tastes, smiles, and creativity.

All of this was divinely timed to illustrate the lessons about hospitality that God has been teaching me for several weeks. Much of His work has been internal, since hospitality is mostly an issue of my heart: He’s been chipping away at my heart’s willingness to receive another person in Jesus’ name. Still, true hospitality also asks me to physically prepare myself and our home as places of acceptance and love. (For my inspiration, I have only to look at the way God has prepared this breath-taking world and the way in which Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven.) I learned that when I prepare a table, an outfit, or a celebration for another person, I am really preparing my own heart to love that person better. And I can already see how this is true: for instance, when Vivienne and I have the opportunity to prepare for Ryan’s return from work by straightening the house and making dinner before he bounds up the steps and knocks some rhythmic wonder on our front door, we are actually preparing our inner selves to love him well with smiles and hugs and grateful hearts. The greeting is always far more divine than when we are wrapped up in our own little worlds upon his return.

That’s why you’ll find this lesson amongst my favorite souvenirs.

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE SOUVENIRS (in no particular order):

1. A week of holding Ryan’s hand and kissing his shoulder whenever I wanted to

2. A week of perfectly blue skies and warm air against my skin

3. Laying in a hammock on a beach, watching a refreshingly quiet sunset

4. Breakfast with Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger (all of Vivienne’s favorite Disney-ites!), and Lobster Eggs Benedict

img_0236.jpg

img_0229.jpg

5. The perfect snow-globe for Vivienne (photo coming!)

6. The thrill of fast pass: walking quickly through rows and rows of “line” in order to pop right on a ride

7. People watching (fascinating, as you know)

8. Simple nostalgic boat rides with dancing dolls, Nordic trolls, and pirates as well as “How do they do that?” rides with technologies beyond my comprehension

9. AMAZING three-course meals with my hubby

10. The reminder that it’s good and rewarding to be generous, hospitable, and alive

Some Favorite Pictures

img_0256.jpg

The infamous castle. I really do want one of these (with a fabulous house-cleaning program, of course).

img_0210.jpg

My Personal Pirate… swoon. 🙂

img_0039.jpg

Just checkin’ in on this Irish guy…

img_0043.jpg

Ryan works on a creation at Lego Land, a shout-out to his childhood passion

img_0089.jpg

Gettin’ in character for “It’s Tough To Be a Bug”

img_0048.jpg

Wolfgang Puck: I highly recommend the Butternut Squash Soup!

img_0242.jpg

After an outdoor dinner at Tony’s, the setting for the Lady’s and the Tramp’s romantic dinner, too

img_0269.jpg

A boat ride,

img_0287.jpg

A bus ride,

img_0166.jpg

A bat,

img_0200.jpg

And a really cool pumpkin. (We’ll have to see if it “earned its ears” when we take Vivienne and Jingle Bells in six-or-so years… I think it’s gonna make it!)

Friday Favorites

LauraAll Posts

This week, I have deeply appreciated…

#1: My Homemade Fruit-fly Trap:

images3.jpeg + images-1.jpeg + images-2.jpeg = A DEAD images-3.jpeg

I waited one day too long to exterminate the few pesky fruit-flies that were bouncing around our counter-tops. They propagated. Like bunnies. No, like fruit-flies. Which is even worse. So, I whipped out my all-natural concoction to ruthlessly kill approximately 20 of them. (Shivers.)

The recipe: In a bowl, mix a swig of apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and a squirt of dish soap. Let the stinky mixture sit on the counter-top overnight. In the morning, you’ll be disgusted (and happy) to dispose of your pests.

#2: Micro-fiber cloths!

images5.jpeg

Get a streak-free mirror without chemicals! Just spritz a little water on the mirror, wipe the surface with your micro-fiber cloth and you’ll be sparklingly proud of your environmentally friendly investment. Find yours in the cleaning isle of Wal Mart, Target, or other micro-fiber selling locations. AMAZING! (This is the cleaning secret that the chemical companies can’t talk about!)

#3: My “Ruble for Your Thoughts” toe-nails! I know it’s a bit unconventional to post photos of one’s toes online, but I just got a manicure and pedicure and love the sparkly autumn color on my toes. My newest statement of conviction is that I simply *must* get a pedicure every October to slough off my summer feet and ease into the cold weather (which came with vigor today!).

dscf3038.jpg

Off with the old, and on with the new!

LauraAll Posts, Marriage

dscf2975.jpg

dscf3029.jpg
Q: Who demolishes ugly old doors, installs two pre-hung doors, paints them, attaches door knobs, drills a peep hole, plays the djimbe, sings in church, sends his wife off to a prenatal massage, AND helps her figure out how to upload You Tube videos onto her blog, oh, AND exterminates an invading and creepy moth in ONE WEEKEND?

A: RYAN BOOZ! What a man, what a man…

dscf2982.jpg

Good-bye old door!

jingle bells: week 22 and 23 prayers

LauraAll Posts

images4.jpeg

This week and next, please pray that everything proceeds healthfully while Ryan and I are enjoying Disney World together!  Pray that this is a wonderful experience for each member of our family. 😉

Here’s what the weekly update said: “Your tiny diver has a few new moves, thanks to her buoyancy in amniotic fluid. She can turn, spin, somersault, and jackknife. Her motions are becoming more forceful and coordinated. The connection between her brain and limbs is growing stronger every day.”  They’re not kidding!  This little one has been gaining strength and oomph by the day!  If you were here at just the right time, you could feel some pretty impressive kicks!