My new adventure Quirky Faith starts today. For those of you who have been following my posts here please consider coming over to http://www.quirkyfaith.com. I will likely post here at http://www.mindychumbley.com still occasionally when I have something that’s just for my family and friends- but my time and attention will be moving to to the new blog so I’d love to have you follow and subscribe there.
Well. We are one week and two days into summer vacation. My family has survived the insanity of Vacation Bible School at our local church last week. Its a 300 kid, 200 worker fest of crazy fun for five nights in a row the week after school gets out. This means that we take the end of school year push and double down.
As a direct result, my car looks a lot like a goodwill donation bin. Clothing changes and wadded up end of year school projects and fast food bags and inexplicably one Minnie Mouse pink sandle have taken up permanent residence. And that’s just the front seat. My if “I had a million dollars drop from the sky” dream is a self cleaning car. Or a budget to hire a butler to stand in my garage awaiting my return home to remind me to TAKE THE CRUD IN THE HOUSE! Probably I could program alarms on my phone and I could have Siri tell me to clean up. But let’s be honest. I’d ignore her. Or be out of phone battery.
I like to create new things. Its fun. I like to paint and write and think of new projects. Cleaning out my car is…..wait for it…..summer kid word…..boring. Its boring right up until its a massive crisis and then its sorta fun. Like a treasure hunt. I also get great satisfaction in taking it from complete mess to clean. But the daily taking my junk into the house and putting it away does not hit my radar. No adventure in that.
My ten-year-old has been taking piano since she was two. Seriously. We were those parents. My theory was that early piano led to good brain development and impressive reading and math skills. I did not factor in the misery of piano practice. While the big sister does in fact read like a speed train we have decided to let little sister wait until she’s five to start piano. It may also be the second child factor. Really its that I can’t hack dealing with two sessions of piano practice a day.
Another piano parent friend of ours told me that he makes his kids take piano just to learn how to tunnel through the drudgery of practice. It builds character. I love the word drudgery. Piano is fun AFTER you pracitice. When you know the songs and you can play to relax and think and entertain and worship. Drilling through scales not so much. But I think my friend may be right. It builds character. And those drills are what lead to the beauty. Or the adventure.
Clearly I need more practice.
I just finished reading a huge hearted, grace filled, crazy fun kind of book called Love Does by Bob Goff.
Bob’s day job is being an attorney chasing down faulty construction companies. His heart work is chasing down bad guys who traffic and abuse children in Uganda. His hobbies include sailing, skateboarding, sitting on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland and dating his wife. He also happens to love Jesus. I like this guy.
My husband and I spent the morning drinking coffee, eating Dutch pancakes and putting together a roof rack so we can properly adventure up and haul stuff this summer. At one point in our marriage we did not assemble things together well. We have had lots of practice since with IKEA furniture and we can generally handle assembly without fighting.
The instructions today had some life advice.
My favorite quote in the Love Does book was about how pushing back on the dark works best in conjunction with friendship.
Organizations have programs. People have friends. Friends trump programs every time.
I like giving to a good non-profit or cheering on an underdog. But I will work to exhaustion and give sacrificially for a friend. I bet you do as well.
The key to really making a difference in the world is to make the underdogs your friends. It’s getting to know the people at the non-profit personally. It’s having fun in the process, getting dirty, dancing crazy and loving in action.
You know that idea you have? The one that won’t go away? The one that scares you? The one where you see you helping someone up or stopping a bully or hugging a hungry baby?
Can I be your friend in that? Go for it. Love does.
It is June 21st. Second day of VBS. Approximately 300 kiddos including 40 preschoolers. I help with the littles. It’s a crazy mass of fun. It’s also my mother-in-laws birthday today. Her first birthday in heaven. It’s heart breaking.
She loved her grandchildren. Fiercely.
However tonight we will be signing and dancing and playing and laughing with three and four year olds. My guess is that your first birthday in heaven is quite the party. Kinda like VBS.
That celebrating often is a great way to live life.
That beards and hats are always a good idea. That building a marriage and a home and parenting your kids well are the best career plan.
That hugs and naps and coffee can fix most problems.
That good memories matter.
Thank you for teaching them to cook and to enjoy serving others.
That adventures and fun matter.
That Jesus matters most.
Happy Father’s Day.
This is my father and mother in 1972. This is before kids and way before grandkids. I love my mother’s dress and my father’s swanky tie. Mostly I love that my Mom smiles she knows something she’s not telling and my Dad smiles like he’s won the lottery.
I can write a long list of things I love about my dad. Hard working and faithful and generous and kind. Willing and friendly and calm and steadfast.
But this Father’s Day it’s that smile that I love the best. And the fact that my mama is frequently what makes him smile. My Dad makes us believe that he thinks he’s the luckiest man alive because he has us. And is there anything more a Dad can do? Really we won.
Thanks for loving us all well Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
I posted this photo a last week and wrote that it made me want to dance or sing or paint. Since I’m not coordinated and I almost always sing the wrong lyrics in the wrong key I went with painting.
My daughters joined me and we painted. I picked up again the next evening. And the next. I like to paint. I struggle with perspective and anything that’s not completely flat. Depth is hard.
Depth in life can be difficult as well. It is hard to write past the surface. Clever quotes and funny memes abound. But this last week the news has been filled with shootings and alligators and politics and sorrow. I don’t have anything substantive to add to the gun control debate or immigration or terrorism or how to comfort strangers across the country. And so I said nothing. That doesn’t feel right either.
After a couple nights of painting, I emailed my painting in progress to my talented artist of an uncle and asked for advice. Frequently gaining any depth in life requires talking to people who’ve succeeded before you. Among other helpful tips, he suggested adding a barbed wire fence. Or an old red barn. I’ve found the painful things in my life tend to make me grow.
Have you noticed its also hard to raise kids with any depth beyond whatever video game or TV show that is currently filling their screens? Time unplugged helps. So does art.
I’ve been mulling my painting for a week. I’d really like to add the wheat grass in the photo. I’m scared its going to wreck what I’ve got so far. This happens to me in life too. Where do I add? Where do I call it good?
Friendships are richer when people know your bumps. Family is better when grace covers pain. I’d take that over superficial any day. Life is beautiful. Better with depth.