Are you my Mother?

imageI was chatting with someone about their job the other day. Then they asked me what I do. I told them that I was a professional counsellor, but that at the moment “I look after a two year old.” Which at best sounds like I’m a nanny, and worst that I’ve stolen a small child off the street. After that conversation I realised that I have the most massive aversion to the moniker ‘stay-at-home-mum’. It actually makes me recoil on the inside. My repulsion forces me to give people the two stage answer to the question of vocation. The second part of which comes out in a way so confusing that no-one is really sure what’s going on. I always mention my ‘proper’ profession first, because it sounds really important. And staying home with a kid is so commonplace.

It’s not my intention to cast any aspersions on women who delight in staying home with their kids; I often wish that my own dreams aligned more with my current reality. I actually somewhat envy the beautiful mums that cherish the days of babies and toddlers. But I just was never that person that longed for children. I always knew that I wanted my own family, but it wasn’t like this empty space in me waiting to be filled. I had to trust when I was pregnant that I would somehow love my tiny human – which thankfully I did. I’ve never been a baby-grabber (in the friendly or criminal sense), and I still actually find it awkward having other people’s kids over; it’s like there’s these tiny strangers in my house and I’m not quite sure how to relate to them.

One of the best people I’ve ever met once said, “We all have the fundamental questions of, ‘Am I loved?’ and ‘Am I important?'” I have grown used to answering the latter by being good at doing stuff; by excelling at work and study, by contributing to a common goal, to being a productive person, and a creator of ideas. I thrive on feedback. I love it when people appreciate what I’ve done. It fills my soul to feel like I’ve accomplished something concrete and vital. Pretending to be a dinosaur just doesn’t quite meet those criteria. And I’m actually really crap at making dinosaur noises (however I do a very believable rooster).

I know everyone’s journey is so different, but for me, I feel like God’s asked me to be at home with Judah. I tried not to actually. I had planned to start part time work when he was smaller, but he was such a sick screamy refluxy bubba, that I had no choice but to stay home. Then I investigated further avenues of work and applied for jobs. No dice. I feel like God’s kind of got me pinned under his gracious thumb. Because although it feels unfulfilling to the part of me that wants to be ‘important’, being Mum-mum to my little Schnoops is teaching me that what’s important is doing what God wants me to. And right now that involves being a munted dinosaur. And what could be more important than that?

So, hi everyone. My name’s Deb and I’m a stay-at-home mum. And I think I’m beginning to actually really enjoy it.

“Rrrraaahhhh”.

T-Rex (Deb) xx

Addendum…

Hi friends, further to my last post I realise it could appear like I’ve painted my new American friends in a less than flattering light. Oh my. That is so not my heart or intention!! I am surrounded by some amazingly kind, gifted, sweet and fun people! Anything I wrote was simply to highlight how much of a fish out of water I am feeling. I think I have underestimated the cultural shift. I’m sure in time I’ll become less awkward, figure out the social norms and feel more at home. In the meantime, please bear with this bungling Kiwi.

Love you, 

Deb xx

Stopping to Admire the View

When I was younger, I remember we had a special evening dedicated to the telling of one’s most embarrassing stories. I remember our youth leader told a story about how he broke his G-string on stage one night. Which would have been an awesome story – if he weren’t referring to his guitar. That’s not even an embarrassing story, it’s a pun story. Which in hindsight actually does make it an embarrassing story… Anyway, I could never really remember mine. I know for sure I had them, but they just never really seemed to surface in time for a cracking anecdote. However a couple of months ago I had a corker. An absolute Miranda Hart. Even worse than me telling the childcare dude at church that it was okay for Judah to eat ‘Graham Crappers’ (yes, I know). Just sit tight for a minute and all will be revealed.

Moving here has naturally involved being the new people again. Probably not the most fun thing ever, but generally I don’t find it horrible; just a bit wearying. I feel like there’s a whole lot of backstory for others to have to catch up on, and being known is really important to me. One thing that has caught me off-guard as I’ve begun the process of knowing and being known, is that I’ve discovered that I care more about what Joe Public thinks of me than I thought.

I have done A LOT of internal journeying over the past ten or so years. I’ve had much prayer, counselling, bleeding heart friend sharing, journaling, alter-calling – you get the idea. While still in Christchurch, I really felt I had come to a place where I felt so comfortable in my own skin. I felt like my interactions with others were authentic and my relationship with the world around me was pretty natural and unaffected. Interestingly enough, some of this was obviously due to the culture of people I was spending time with; people who were so down-to-earth, humble and ‘earthy’ (in the very best non-smelly and hairy way). However, landing smack bang in the middle of a new culture was a little affronting. A lot of people I interact with are just so very well groomed. They have these amazing eyebrows. And while it would take a lot more than this to get me out of my weekday mum uniform, feelings of frumpiness play at the edges of my mind. I’m also still trying to pick up on different social cues. I find myself unsure what is appropriate way to leave a conversation in this new cultural environment – I give what I know to be the ‘normal’ signals to end a conversation, begin walking away, and the person keeps talking to me. Talk about awkward. And it takes a toll on my confidence.

I began to feel a bit despairing. What of all the inner work I had done? Could it not even stand up to a new culture? Enter now my horrible epic story:

As many of you know, worship ministry is my bag. I just LOVE it. I feel born to do it. Singing to Jesus and pointing people in His general direction makes my heart come alive. So naturally one of the first things I did once we’d settled in our church was to sign up for the worship team. After a bit I was asked if I would like to help out with the Christmas ensemble. A bunch of us were singing choir style for a couple of carols. Towards the end of the practice, the person in charge of the ensemble grabbed a mic and said something to the sound guy about running through our parts again, and all the others grabbed microphones too. There wasn’t one for me, so the sound dude pointed out one for me to grab. So I did. And went to stand with the others. Then it all went downhill.

I wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but everybody was looking at me like I had a small piece of poo on my face. They really looked quite shocked and distressed. Finally one brave girl said, “Ah, Deb, this is a special item that we’ve been practicing for.” I just died. Muttered something about ‘how embarrassing,’ and had to make the walk of shame firstly back to the mic stand, then down the stairs and off the stage. Then to top it all off I dropped a bunch of papers on the floor. I think I cried the whole way home.

But you know what? Cringe-factor 500 as it was, I realise that I didn’t feel like it had any bearing on my worth. I didn’t come home thinking no-one would want to be my friend, or that I’d be the laughing stock of Christmas. So, as much as there is still work to be done in the area of security in who Christ has made me to be, I need to take a moment to stop and appreciate how far we’ve come, Jesus and me. I’m taking that time now. To appreciate the view. I’ve been hiking for such a long time, and the vista really is quite beautiful.

Until next time,

Deb xx

 

 

We’re not in Kansas Anymore Toto…

We’ve now been in the land of the Red, White and Blue for just over eight months, and I thought it high time to write a wee update. And start a blog. I don’t harbour any grand notions of becoming a minor Christian celebrity. I don’t even know if anyone will read it. And that’s okay. It feels like it could be cathartic for me at this time in my life to be able to focus my thoughts.

I’ve named my blog ‘Adventures of the Ordinary’. In my younger youth I definitely held grand notions of becoming a minor (read ‘major’) Christian celebrity. However, I find myself on the cusp of 34, having spent the majority of my days in the most ordinary of ways. In my mad fancy it appeals to name the blog something like ‘Musings of a Rambling Lioness Lamb’ or some other such metaphoric nonsense, but the bald truth of it is that I live a very ordinary life. It’s a life I’m learning to really appreciate. I’ll share some of my ordinary thoughts at a later date, but since most of you are probably here just to get the Christmas Letter version of what we’re up to (and are already glazing over – yes, I see that yawn), on with the update!

We touched down in Redmond, Oregon on the 6th of July last year. After 20 something hours of travel with a 19 month old, I was euphoric to have made it! Judah was a total champ, but naturally the Phenergan, which I had trialed earlier with pleasing results, backfired horribly on the plane. This led to a little dude having bouts of screaming followed by maniacal laughter several hours past his bedtime. Nevertheless, we made it. It was a warm summer evening, and I’ll never forget the overwhelming smell of Juniper that greeted us following a rain shower. It will forever be the smell of our new life.

Caleb’s parents were gracious enough to put up with us while we went about the house hunting process. We were sure that we’d be able to find something reasonably quickly, however the credit score we had built in New Zealand meant nothing here, so we had to start from scratch. We ended up staying with the Hargroves for six months in Redmond, before finally getting to purchase our first home here in Bend. Bend is such a fantastic town, just a wee bit smaller than Tauranga, it reminds me of a delightful mix of Queenstown, Hanmer Springs and Tauranga. The real estate market is booming here, and long story short, we were basically handed this house on a silver platter! It was what they call a short sale – essentially a foreclosure or bank-owned property. We discovered it had been empty for eight years before we moved in, and it really did feel like God had been saving it for us. It was within our price range, and we have instant equity in it. The more I get a feel for what the real estate market is like, the more blown away I am at what we got!

Caleb was initially working for a local construction company, but things have kind of fallen into place for him to start a branch of Rupp Family Builders here. Rupp is the company that he worked for in Portland before he moved to New Zealand, and is owned by our buddy Garrett. We’re so excited to see things starting to fall into place, and it just feels like God is breathing favour over it all.

Judah is thriving here! He is loving getting to have regular playdates with Caleb’s family and our new friends, and he’s just growing like a weed! He is the loveliest and cheekiest kid I know! He brings so much light and laughter into our lives. Just tonight Caleb was like, “Judah, can you say ‘Napolean give me some of your tots’?” And Judah says, “Nipple…tots” and cracks up laughing. Love that kid.

We started attending Westside Church in Bend as soon as we arrived, and we just feel like God really has called us to be here. We feel a strong sense of purpose, and we’re starting to get to know people and feel more settled. We’re both a part of the worship team and are really excited to see what God’s gonna do here.

As for me, it’s been a super interesting time. I’ve had a few random health things happen, which has introduced me to the American healthcare system somewhat sooner than I had hoped. The upside in paying $5,000,000 a year in health insurance is that the hospitals really are very well funded. And pretty. And the medical staff all seem very relaxed. Which is good, because¬†we may have to sell our kidneys to afford it…

I’ve started making some lovely friends, and since we’ve moved into our house I’ve made a concerted effort to invite people over. Our prayer is that our home is a place of peace, refreshing and healing for people. On that note, please come and stay with us!!

On a personal level, there have been some hard but really really cool things unfolding in my heart. I’ll save those for another blog post – nothing worse than trying to read a general update and getting sideswiped by someone’s intense personal outpourings ;).

Anyway, over and out.

Deb xx