Monthly Archives: February 2014

Welcome to the world, my daughter

As I write this, my daughter is asleep in the other room.

And as I write them, the words feel so deliciously surreal.

She was born this past week  in the wee hours of the morning as the snow came down.  I was so looking forward to the surprise of whether she’d come out a boy or a girl.  We’d waited so patiently for her, through days and days of painful prelabor, during which we’d walked in endless circles around our apartment complex, through the snow, and waded through sleepless nights.  But I’ll always remember how when they finally held her up for me to see, it never even occurred to me to think whether she was a boy or a girl.

She was a gift.  She was my child.  She is our joy.

As the three of us settle into our new life of feedings, changings, and lots of sleeping (for her not necessarily, us!), I’m so touched by husband’s strong desire to be with his daughter during every waking and sleeping moment.  As I banged out some last minute work on my dissertation this weekend and he held her, it occurred to me that his requests for me to put her in his arms signal his willingness to adjust his life to her, while I had been merely trying to fit her into my already existing one.

With all the parenting buzz and blogs (and no, this isn’t about to become another one of them, don’t worry!), not to mention our time in China, we’re acutely aware of the missteps one can take by making their child the center of the universe.  But there is a shift in the orbit it seems.  And that’s not a bad thing.  Perhaps, and at best, I think, we’re all adjusting to one another, learning to yield and depend and be graceful with one another, and it’s making us stronger and better along the way.  We’re stumbling a bit in the newness of it all, but I want to welcome my daughter into new life, not just my life, but a shared, God-given, grace-filled one.

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Welcome to the world, Lucia Jayne.  Your name means light, and suddenly everything feels new.  The cliche is true: things will never be the same again.

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An invitation to breathe deeper

Apparently Huffington Post has dubbed 2014 the “year of mindful living,” and TIME magazine alleges there’s a “mindful revolution” in the wings.**

There’s been all sorts of talk about the value of the creative pause, the importance of sacred space (I swear I’ve linked to this article before, but it’s still great), and the benefits of meditation.  

And, predictably, especially given the title of this blog and its content, I couldn’t agree more! 

The snowy Princeton campus.  Photo by Serena Stein.
The snowy Princeton campus. Photo by Serena Stein.

But I have to admit that I don’t always practice what I preach.  

While I’ve been wildly productive when it comes to the dissertation and ticking things off the baby-prep list, I’ve been flittering away downtime with a host of media distractions.

This isn’t the end of the world, of course.  Social media can be wonderfully connective, and much-needed breaks from the rigor of our working lives with tv, youtube, etc. are understandable.  But when I think about what I really want to get out of life, I realize how much I don’t want to distract myself from what God’s doing.  Rather than check out, I want to check in.  And rather than emptying my mind, I want to be filled with the mind of God.

Through the distractions, I hear God’s invitation to breathe a little deeper.  And this morning as my dear friend and I sat basking in the word of God, simply breathing together, we felt anew how good it is to simply be in the presence of God.  I don’t love the phrase, “carving out space for God,” because I think it’s misleading to suggest that we’re the ones who should be doing the carving.

And yet, I think there’s something to be said for embracing the silence that God grants.  There’s something to be said for choosing not to be distracted.  And there’s certainly something truthful about remembering that the invitation to the spiritual life is just that, an invitation, which we can either accept, despite all its inconveniences, challenges, and grace, or decline for the meagerness of our own devices.

Pretty Princeton in the glow of snow.  Photo by Serena Stein.
Pretty Princeton in the glow of snow. Photo by Serena Stein.

How can you embrace the silence, the invitation from God in your life to breathe a little deeper today, tomorrow, and this year?

**Check out The Huffington Post’s critique of the TIME article here.