Tuesday, February 10, 2015


There's this phrase, butterfly effect, which works within the realm of chaos theory; and it says a small change in one part of the world can result in larger differences down the road/'round the corner/later in life.  The origin of these terms are wrapped up within the world of mathematics, a subject area that, let's be honest, is one that created its own little butterfly {negative} effect in my life when I was in the realm of my own chaos theory high school pre-calc classes.  But often times the term 'butterfly effect' is used within a context outside of mathematics, as a trope of sorts, to attempt to offer up some sort of an explanation for the events that unfold.

My {lengthy} path to IF:Gathering, if you want to be honest, is dotted with many little butterfly effect moments; which makes sense if you consider that I was working living in my own little chaos theory {ahem, life[!]}.
floral arrangement: Floral Geek
Your body and mind and soul don't always sync with one another.  In fact, it's a rare gift for one to feel as though they completely have it all together; that it is {fully} well with their soul.  The broken world in which we live doesn't promote feelings of contentment.  Faster, farther, greater, higher, better, more, more, more, {more}.  These are the comparative adjectives upon which many of us {feebly} attempt to seek happiness, fullness, achievement, satisfaction.  And when you start throwing out the superlative adjectives, it's a dog-eat-dog world that leaves 99.9% of us feeling the 'worsest' about ourselves.

So I was about here in my life...in the midst of an overwhelming storm, gasping and grasping, overwhelmed by the undertoe.  The chaos theory I was experiencing was so much inmyhead that I couldn't climb out and release the hold it had on my heart and body and soul.  I knew I needed to feel those comparative adjectives about myself, I knew I needed to seek and move and step one foot in front of the other foot.  I'm a smart girl.  But to say I couldn't bring myself to congeal a thought powerful enough to spark another thought and another thought and revive my punctuated heart, was a bit of truth I was so, so embarrassed to lay claim.

I needed a breath of fresh air.  I needed my lungs to be filled with rejuvenating, life-giving oxygen; to have that source of life pushed through my veins, awakening my stagnant and sad blood, revitalize and restore me to a place where I felt whole-er.  {I couldn't venture to use the superlative here...my whole-est me isn't even on the radar yet...}  Being an extrovert who was inadvertently plopped into a space where introvertedness was a natural byproduct of our family's Rocky Mountain-to-Lonestar move, I found myself floating in a space of discomfort; desperately wanting to be connected, plugged-in, a partofsomethingbigger.

I kept recalling a breakfast I had shared with one of my sweet friends before we moved, who had a bit of experience with being 'new in town'.  She had shared that it would take about 18 months to feel settled, connected, and home.  Eight.teen.months.  I remember hearing that, thinking to myself, "no way 18 months...I'm such a people person...it will be a breeze.".

While it wasn't quite a breeze, I have been blessed an extraordinary network of sweet friends who were either raised with the bylaws of southern hospitality, or have come to accept it as a character trait in the time they've inhabited the great state of Texas.  I suppose the butterfly effect of receiving good southern hospitality inversely affects the way in which others show such hospitality.

It was out of this southern hospitality, this willingness to reach out and extend a much needed hand to those who so obviously need it, that I became a partofsomethingbigger.  It took me about .6 seconds to decide if I wanted to attend a MOPS {Mothers of Preschoolers} meeting to which I had received an invitation. A sweet fellow mama saw my pain, sadness, loneliness, need for connection, and with one flap of her wings, like bellows, my lungs and heart and soul filled with hope.  Hope for friends and connections and people who had similar stuff going on in their lives {i.e. littles who siphoned energy like mosquitos in the south, homes that don't clean themselves, laundry that manages to regenerate faster than a toddler can eat a tube of toothpaste [laugh.  until it happens to you.]}

Needless to say, I needed this.  Whatever 'this' was.

MOPS was a 'thing' that I didn't get to participate in while I was teaching.  It's not that there aren't groups out there for rockstar moms who work outside the home, and it's not that there aren't working mamas in my very own group.  It's just that for me, in that season, it wasn't feasible.  Over the course of the past year and a few odd-so months {gasp...dare I say almost 18 months?!}, I have come to learn what 'this' is.

This is an extraordinary collection of strong, beautiful, eloquent, fun-loving, loyal and devoted ladies who love their children fiercely {even in the midst of a tantrum in the middle of the checkout lanes in Target}.
This is a safe and comfortable place where one can seek solace and serenity and sanity, any time of the day or night {'cause trust.me., it's a certainty that there's at least one of us mamas awake; feeding and comforting littles, changing and washing sheets, rocking sick munchkins, worrying incessantly about anything and everything under the sun...you name it.  Someone's awake.}
This is church.  An assemblage of women with a fire burning for God.  The fire is the work of the whole group; helping and reaching and hugging and lifting those whose individual fires might be dwindling to a spark or smolder at times.
This is where connections are made, lives are changed, women are encouraged and inspired and loved and fed {well.well.fed.  MOPS does brunch right, y'all}.  Moms get reprieve from crying, clingy children.  They get reassurance that they're not alone in the battle against the gray.  Or the tired.  Or the weight.  Or the yoga pants.  {wait.  I take that back.  In the name of Jesus, I *need* the yoga pants.}

MOPS is one of my favorite butterfly effects.  I was in chaos theory.  Scrambling, crying, staring, introverting, yelling, not-showering.  And then an empathetic and compassionate mama fluttered her outstretched wings and not only comforted, but inadvertently fueled the pilot light deep within my soul.

Oh, and how those MOPS ladies have fanned that light.

laughs, love, hugs, funny stories.
prayers, encouragement, acceptance, hope.
inspiration, relaxation, motivation...and all the carbs I can eat.  {seriously.  the food.}

So then there's this one butterfly.  One sweet, amazing, tender-hearted mama named Lisa.  The effect of her flutter of wings landed me in the Austin City Limits venue this past weekend; hands raised in praise, my tears serving as the vessel through which my mascara relocated in dark streaky trails down my cheeks.  The event was IF:Gathering, the vision inspired by the impassioned wordsmith Jennie Allen.

Haven't heard of her?  Yeah...that was me a little over a year ago.  Then Lisa, a beautiful soul who entered into my life by way of the flutter of butterfly wings that landed me in MOPS, added fuel to my fire.  My book-devouring, word-hungry fire.  Changed in so many ways with the name Jennie Allen.  Her book, Anything, became my insta-mission as I detoured to the book store on the way home from MOPS that very same day.

As I read and highlighted, re-read and black-inked my pages...I felt the flit of Jennie's wings, softly fluttering in my soul.  This.  This.  This is my next best thing.  My one step deeper.  I wanted needed to be a part of this.

And oh my stars.  I watched butterflies flutter, fires fueled, friendships forged.  Goosebumps and tears and perma-smiles.  We were there for one reason, and One reason only.  And oh, is He good.  He brought us the butterflies; set each and everyone in place, wings poised, ready to set into effect one small and {at times} seemingly insignificant spark that, upon landing in the dry places, can light up the world.

God always hears our cries, 
and helps, and it's often a surprise to see
what form God will take on earth.
~Anne Lamott

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