The Last First Day

Be still my heart.

This is the Last First Day.

My oldest is a senior in high school.  Lord, hold me.

How did we get from this:

 

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To this:

 

 

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It seems impossible yet it’s happening all around me.  Kids are growing up.

Last night I went up to Natalie’s room to tuck her in.  Yes, I still like to tuck her in. That’s normal, right? If not, don’t tell me. It just so happened that the other kids followed me last night. That’s totally normal too, right? Is it also normal that I made her lunch today and I might have suggested some cute earrings and a ponytail?  SHE IS ALMOST EIGHTEEN.  You guys…I cannot cut the cord.  I cannot stop.  Seriously, send help.

So there we are, all three kids and mom, snuggling in her bed, tucking her in.  As a mom, I was in heaven.  ALL MY BABIES WITH ME. You guys…I could not help it. I started crying and talking about when she was young and how much I love her and all the feelings and thoughts.  She smiled and patted me, “It’s okay Mom.” “I know Mom.” “Don’t worry, Mom.”

We talked about how it’s the last of the family years. You know, the ones you look back on and say, “Remember when…” Those memories of all the kids in the house, of all the chaos and the mess and the laughter.  I just kept going on and on.  I think they were just stunned, staring at me and murmuring, “It’s going to be okay Mom”.  But yet, they didn’t leave.  They didn’t run out or tell me I’m lame or look at their phones.   They listened.  They let me have my moment. And then a miracle happened.  They let me pray. For them. For me. For dad. For all the moms and kids and teachers and all the world. Amen.

Everything is changing.

But not yet.

We’ve got this year.

I keep reminding myself that with endings come new beginnings and I love new beginnings.  I remember so vividly when it was just me and Natalie during the early days when her Dad went to work and the others weren’t born yet. Just us.  I made mistakes with her. I was lost and confused and usually clueless and she stuck with me.  She didn’t have a choice of course. Where was she going to go?  Plus she didn’t know all mothers didn’t cut grapes into quarters because they were afraid of choking and she didn’t know or care if our house was messy or if I was messy.  I pushed her in the stroller and I took her to the park and I read books to her and we met friends together. We were figuring it out.  I can’t help but think she has a different understanding of me…one only the oldest child can have…from the days when it was just us and we were together in that new beginning.  She was so trusting.  Can you stand it? I mean, aren’t you just so HONORED to be in this?  I’m in awe of this motherhood thing.

Crying again…gotta go.

Praying for all you moms who are feeling all the feelings today.  Let’s vow to treasure the gift of our kids…whenever and however we can for as long as we can.

These are the days we will remember.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

For the Love – It’s Time!

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Every once in a while a book comes along that INSPIRES.  Jen Hatmaker’s new book, “For the Love” does just that.

This book is for all my friends who are leaders.  That is EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. YOU.

Mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, friends.  You are champions.

Young, old. Single, married, divorced, separated, dating. You are loved.

I’ve seen you do your thing…teaching, writing, preaching, speaking, lawyering, doctoring, hugging, laughing.  You can be a boss in the boardroom and make a mean cupcake for the class party.

You are hand holders and snot wipers.  You offer a shoulder to cry on and a seat at the table.  You laugh freely and love deeply. You offer your heart.

You know things…like how to make a 10 year old boy roll on the floor laughing and how to recognize when your teenage daughter has been slighted by a friend.

You push the swing and swing on the swing and swing the bat. You are comfortable in fancy shoes and cleats and muddy bare feet. Your mission field is the neighborhood, the workplace, the bus, the yoga studio, the coffee shop.

This book is for you.

You know it is more important to be kind than it is to be right. You know when to compromise. You walk through life with open palms, not clenched fists. You understand that vulnerability is a strength. You know the first one to say sorry actually wins.

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We see you in churches and neighborhoods and schools and walking paths and breakfast diners. We see you in the stock market and the business school and the interview. We know you are behind the camera and in front of the camera and you are the camera. You have vision and depth and soul. You create art. You draw people in.

You are on mission. Today. Where you are.

This book is for you.

You have been offered grace. By God, parents, teachers, coaches, friends, many people in your past. Grace is your lifeline and you have been saved. You reach out to offer that grace to others and so others seek you…other grace givers …humble servants and truth tellers.

The older you get you recognize your gifts. You don’t minimize yourself or your talents. You no longer want to sit on the sidelines. You don’t want to read about what others are doing…you want to go to battle. You don’t fear what will happen if you fail, you look forward to what will happen when you succeed. You show up. You are ready to do the deep work. You are free.

 

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This book is for you if sometimes you feel not worthy. You wonder, “Have I done enough?” …”What is my calling?”…”Who am I?”  Jen addresses all of this. She also addresses the church with chapters like, “Dear Church…” and “Dear Christians, Please Stop being so Crappy…” 

This book is for you if sometimes you find yourself wondering if you your family is too crazy (NO), If it really is too difficult for you to crack an egg (NO), if Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez get their beauty supplies at Walgreen’s (NO) and if you should wear yoga pants outside of the house with no shirt covering your bottom. (FOR THE LOVE…NO!) Jen covers all of this beautifully. She’s got your back.

There are recipes and thank you notes and lots of personal anecdotes. She includes Scripture and always leads you back to love and truth and Jesus.

 

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You will love her for her honesty. She becomes your best friend, mentor, teacher, preacher and coach. She tells you it will be okay and you believe her. She holds a mirror up, tells you to take a good long look, assures you that you are beautiful and equipped and then says, “C’mon now, get going!”

This book is a movement.  This book matters. “For the Love” is a battle cry.

We are missionaries. In all the places we live and work and abide. For all the people we see, heal, touch, hear, comfort, teach, love.

Jen reminds us, “You are too vital to lose years to regret or shame or insecurity or fear. We are not slaves to those masters; Jesus saw to that.”

She encourages us, “Take all the hard parts-the failures, the losses, the wounds-and give them to Jesus for glory. He makes magic with those, I tell you.”

Amen.

Let’s go make some magic, shall we?

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

BOOM! I finished the Whole30!

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Yep. It’s done.

I did it.

I didn’t cheat once. Not a lick, not a taste, not a sip of off-limits food.

I’ve never felt so accomplished.  Honestly, college, jobs, motherhood, races, triathlons, yoga certification, career, speaking to groups, starting a business, writing, teaching, studying, learning, blogging, growing, parenting…who cares about any of it…the fact that I could go 30 days with no sugar and no gluten and all the other stuff I said no to…Y’all…it’s darn near a miracle.

Here’s what I know now.

When you eat sugar, you want more sugar. Just say no.  #tamethesugardragon

You have a clearer mind when you eat healthy and drink never.

Habits are hard to break but not impossible.

You are in control of what you eat.

You may hear the Lord talk to you in this battle with food. You pray, “Lord, please make a huge gusty wind blow these chips out of my hand” and you hear Him say back to you…”Just put them down beloved.” It’s a convicting experience.

Sleep more and lose the snark.

Cream in coffee is overrated.

Sweet potatoes are my best friend.

It is not that hard to buy real food and cook it.

If you get the #tigerblood, you will need to buy new running bras.  The ones from 1999 aren’t cutting it. Also, it doesn’t look good if you are running with your hands over your boobs.

I survived movies with no popcorn, a meal out at a restaurant without an appetizer, a boat ride without a beer,  TV watching without Twizzlers/M&Ms, Starbucks without cream, and a McDonald’s drive thru without ordering a Diet Coke (Iced tea is okay! Unsweetened).

It can be done.

So, day 31 came and I planned to go out to eat Mexican food with the family.  I really wanted tortilla chips.  They were just fine. Not great. So I had a few, ordered a salad and decided maybe all the things I want aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

Maybe the thing we think we can’t live without will just be “eh” when we get it.

Maybe all of this is just an exercise in figuring out what is “worth it”.

Turns out, I am. Worth it.

So are you.

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©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Whole30 graphic from Whole30