Older Than Jesus

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well, yes, today is my birthday.  It always sneaks up on me somehow, just like Christmas or Easter or any other "holiday" that are like spokes in the calendar wheel of my life spinning way too fast.  Here again already? Wait, what?  I trust you know exactly what I mean.

A few years back, I remember that Coca-Cola had a ad campaign about celebrating the 25th anniversary of Diet Coke.  It was then that I realized I was older than Diet Coke.  This seemed unfathomable.  Like a staple in my life that I figured had always been around suddenly told me I was a fossil.

Today I turn older than Jesus.  The big 3-4.

me and my people.  we tough. 

Okay, let's not get into theological semantics about how Jesus has actually existed forever, etc.  I get it, yes yes yes.  But, we know He lived on Earth in human form and was crucified at the age of 33...so, in my head, in my image of who Jesus is as a man on this planet - He is sort of eternally 33.  Does that make sense?

My whole life, Jesus has been older.  When I was a child, He was just flat-out old.  Then, as time will have it, we aligned to be peers more and more.  While my understanding and wisdom is severely (severely) lacking in comparison, I could imagine life more and more as a human adult the closer and closer I got to it.

Now, there's just no denying I'm a grown-up.  Now, when I look at paintings or drawings of the imagining of what Jesus looked like - I'll always be older than Him.  I will have a new perspective of imagining what it would have been like to know and live with Jesus as an older-than-Him friend.

This is bizarre for me!  I don't know about you, but for me, I haven't followed the example of a lot of people who were younger than me.  Most of my life, I look to those who've lived longer; I turn to those who have greater experience than me to teach me the most.

Yet, now I can sort of imagine a new perspective of a person in the Bible - the person who met Jesus and may have thought "THIS guy?  But he's so young!  He's only been doing ministry like a few YEARS or so!?  Why should I follow him?  How could He understand my life?"

It's tempting in this life to think that only the oldest, wisest, most experienced people could teach me the most.  It's been nice to have the excuse of youth to fall back on when poor choices are made.  But, there is so much greater freedom in embracing the idea that I will never ever be perfect in this life; and there is such insurmountable hope found in the fact that God exposes me to grace and love and wisdom from the most unlikely of places and people.

Granted, I might not yet be old enough to yell at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn or eat dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon.  But, I'm old enough to know that I don't know everything and I never will.  It's refreshing and relieving, and not at all disappointing like I would have thought many years ago.  At this point in my life, as a grad student and mother, I'm humbled daily at how much there is to learn (over and over and over again) in this life.  And I look forward to spending the coming years (hopefully many!) learning from the unexpected.

After all, the most important lessons of my life came from some young carpenter chap who had the reputation for stirring up trouble in the temple.

Signs of Life

Monday, September 15, 2014

Do you ever look around and wonder whose life you're leading?

Sometimes I'll glance at these strange little faces in front of me and remind myself "these are my children".  What?!  I have kids?  But I'm too young for that...too crazy...too spontaneous.  Who would ever entrust me with the care of two humans who depend on me to teach them the ways of the world?  This is INSANE!

Raising little humans reminds me that there is a lot of wonder left to be discovered in the nooks and crannies of life.  Days full of whining and laundry and cleaning up after their "creations" again and again can begin to feel like a dead end.  I want to throw my hands up and shout "That's it!  I've hit the ceiling here!  There's nowhere to go and nothing new under the sun.  My sanity is somewhere at the bottom of a laundry basket which will never be found since those shirts won't fold or put themselves away.  I'm spent."

And then I look around.  I take a deep breath and just observe for a moment.

The cuteness is real, but it's often hard to tell
whether the illness/injury of the day is or not.
I can't decide if I'm raising actresses or hypochondriacs half the time.
Isn't this beautiful?
 It's a drawing my daughter did of her and her sister...
on the OTTOMAN in their play room.
Signs of LIFE are everywhere.  Life that is happening NOW.  Life that is active exploring, questioning, growing...all the while deepening my appreciation of the very present that I'm drowning in.

Scribbles on the wall.
Mountains and mountains.
These crazy days of exhaustive motherhood (you know, the I'm-needed-every-second-of-the-day-for-something) are greater than the sum of their parts.  You add up whining + chores and somehow it equates to magical memories you will be more nostalgic about than most other moments of your life.

Parenthood is a great mystery.  It's silly, boring, unpredictable, inspiring, ugly and completely glorious.  It's life.

Q&A: Remote Relationship

Friday, September 12, 2014

Q: PardyMama, 
When my hubby gets home from work, all he wants to do is chill.  Why does my husband zone out when we're watching TV??? Why can't he talk to me?  I wish we could communicate more, but I don't know what to do.
Remotely Uncontrolled

A: Dear RU,
It's frustrating to vie for anyone's attention, especially a person you love.  The TV is tough competition too, with its ability to be all-accepting, non-judging, visually stimulating, and totally entertaining.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to veg-out and relax for a little while, but it's no fun when it's at the cost of someone feeling left out.

Let's give your husband the benefit of the doubt and assume his TV watching has more to do with avoiding everyday pressures than it does with avoiding you.  The TV most likely offers him a chance to decompress and distract himself from the burdens of his day.  Consider his context:  whatever his job may be, chances are good he's being pulled in a lot of directions mentally, or challenged in his cubicle with tasks, or having to prove himself to a boss and provide, provide, provide all day.  The last thing he wants to do when he gets home is provide.  Just like the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is hear the theme song from Veggie Tales (again).  

I would also venture that your needs have to do more with him listening to you talk than actually having him tell you about his day.  (Engagement from both of you is ideal, of course.)  If you are at home with young children most days, chances are good you are eager for human, adult connection by the time he gets home from work.  You've had your fill of cartoons and whiny voices and sippy cups, and finally when you hear him walk through the front door you are offered a mind that has more than Cheerios and Caillou on the brain.  Hallelujah!  Daddy's home!

Two Tips:  
1. Welcome Home
When he first walks in the door coming home from work, HUG.  Hug until you feel the tension of your bodies release.  (Maybe warn him about this new addition to your routine so he isn't blindsided by your assault of affection!)  Now, I know this might sound crazy, but as you hug each other, your bodies will literally "sync up" into a calm state and help regulate one another.   It will help set the tone for the rest of the evening and be an easy first step with zero pressure on either of you to say anything!  You will feel closer to each other regardless of whether the TV gets turned on later or not.

2. Shared Meaning
In order to engage in conversation, you need one thing:  something to talk about!  The more meaning a couple shares, the more they have in common to care about.  In other words, you're going to need to find things you both love together.  This doesn't have to be as hard as it might sound.  You don't have to love football and he doesn't have to love HGTV.  
But, if you want to get to know what's inside that head of his, you have to take part in what's going into it!  Get into a rhythm of enjoying things together again.  Maybe there is a TV show you can both watch together, or silly clips on YouTube, read film reviews on the Internet, read the same books or magazine articles, listen to a podcast you both like, or take part in any activity - be it video games, lawn care, or kayaking.  The more you both mutually care about, the more you find meaning in things together, and the more you will naturally have to talk about.  

Behind the Design

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So, now you know the BIG NEWS and you've seen the NEW LOOK!  Hurrah!  Whatcha think?

This blog relaunch would NOT have been possible without the help of three insanely talented people.  At the heart of this process was one creative genius who has blown me away time and again.  Lehua Noëlle Faulkner has such finesse with design.  Her touch is so unique and heartfelt that she makes people like me (who sit on the sidelines drooling and trying not to say the word "Amazing" too many times in one sentence) actually feel like I contribute to the process.

To say I had something to do with this fresh new look would be quite misleading.  I dealt her out a few adjectives and she developed an entire vision behind it.  Her design of the main logo was crafted by Joyce Chai, who specializes in hand lettering.  Yes - that logo above was originally drawn by hand (I know, I'm spoiled).  The crossroads of Joyce and Lehua's work has brought just the right amount of charm and modern feminity that I wanted the new site to convey.  Bravo, ladies!  Thank you!

The third creative force behind this new site is my very own husband, Josh Pardy.  Josh took my photos for the site, and they turned out amazing!  That's awkward and difficult for me to say - since, you know, they are of MY FACE. (Hello!) But, portrait photography is a new angle for his creative strengths, and I'm thrilled with our collaboration.

I make that sound so breezy, right?  Like we just smiled and snapped shots and voila! New headshots.  Welllll, of course I happened to choose the hottest, most HUMID weekend to shoot on and let's just say it was a toss up as to whether my heart or my hair was more cranky.  Two days, three outfits, and four hair styles later...I had a handful of pics I wasn't grimacing at when I looked at them.  THAT, my friends, is reality.

It's a real trooper and a heck of a man who will sit patiently behind the lens of a camera and focus more on the way the light is hitting my face than my overbearing complaints of how my hair won't obey.  I sure love that boy.  Honestly, we had fun with it, and we both gained experience creatively and in our marriage that serves us well in our relationship.  Team Pardy, rock on.

I hope you get a chance to check out the new ABOUT and CONTACT webpages above.  You'll see in the Contact page that I mention a new Q&A series coming up.  From time to time, people tend to randomly ask me about relationships, parenting, or marriage, so I figured it was high time I began channeling those into a new Q&A open to all readers.  The first Q&A will be up tomorrow, so stay tuned!
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