Monday, November 25, 2013


  Thinking about that turkey and dressing...and all the extras (the sides are my favorites!).  Thinking about the leftovers that will be filling my fridge in a few days.
  Ironic because yesterday in our Bible Fellowship class we talked a lot about leftovers.  Our small group/Bible fellowship class is going through the small group study "Crazy Love" and boy does it challenge me.  First of all, the people in this group are awesome.  What I find so inspiring about them is that we were all raised with different church backgrounds and are at different places in our walk with Christ, but we are all in the same place where it really counts.  EVERYONE wants to know the heart of Jesus more and LIVE it.   We all believe that Jesus is the reason we are here and we want His will above all.  But man is that hard.
  Back to those leftovers.  Francis Chan believes that most Christians today will say we love God with all of our heart, but when it comes down to it, we are giving Him our leftovers.  Our whatever is left after the real deal. After the important stuff.  
"Many of us believe we have as much of God as we want right now, a reasonable portion of God among all the other things in our lives.  Most of our thoughts are centered on the money we want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have, the spouse we want to marry, the kind of person we want to become...But the fact is that NOTHING should concern us more than our relationship with God; it's about eternity, and nothing compares to that.  God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives."
Chan, Crazy Love

God is not someone who can be tacked on...He's not someone we can serve leftovers to and think that's enough.
He's the real deal.  He's the actual Thanksgiving dinner, not the leftover stuffing and turkey in the fridge.
Challenged.  Is he getting the real deal thoughts?  my (actually His that He's entrusted to me) finances?  my time in service?  my time in Bible reading?  my words?  my heart?  And what does that really look like?
Gonna wrestle with that.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday night sickness

It was one of those weeks...
The kind where everything was a balancing act and each night was filled to the brim of people running place to place.
The kind where work was stressful.
The kind where family dinners weren't really existing.
The kind of week that drains you.
So Friday night hit and E and I just wanted to crash.  I took the kids to the park after school, hoping to run off a lot of energy.  I got them a movie on the way home in hopes to just sit and catch up with my husband. We got a pizza for dinner.  Our oldest didn't eat.  She told me she wasn't hungry.  Our middle child was WILD.  He had a tremendous amount of no-nap energy.  Our youngest was doing everything to make the middle child mad.  The sitting and catching up was doomed from the start.
Then the throwing up happened and it was a MESS.  You know there is nothing that humbles you like cleaning up puke?  But as I comforted my sweet little girl who now sat in a warm bath as I scrubbed the floor, trying to hold my nose, I realized that for this too, I am thankful.  I am thankful for all the nights my mom sat and rubbed my back as I threw up and cleaned up my mess.  I'm thankful that now I can take care of my own children the way my parents took care of me.  You know who my little girl wants when she gets sick?  Me.  Why?  Because she thinks I can make it better.  There will be a day when I can't make it better anymore.
"Hey Mom, I'm sorry I made a big mess.  It must be really gross to clean that up, " she says and it breaks my heart.
"Em, you couldn't help it.  It's okay."
"But I wouldn't want to clean it up.  Do you hate doing it, Mom?"
I stop what I'm doing and turn and look at her.
"It's not my favorite thing, of course.  But I would do it over and over and over again because you are my girl and I want you to be better."
She nods.  "One day I'll do the same thing for my little girl."
And I have no doubt she will.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To my firstborn, my little girl

My Sweet Girl,
  I remember the feeling of getting past the baby and toddler stage and thinking..ahh, I have entered the easier stage of parenting.  Now I will get more sleep, I will have less tantrums to deal with, and we can go and do more.  In some ways this stage IS easier...but as I'm realizing, the hard stuff is hard in a completely different way.
  I wish I could keep you innocent forever.  I know that's not realistic and maybe not even healthy, but it seems like all over mamas are wanting their little girls to grow up too soon.  There are healthy ways of helping your kids "grow up", but then there are ways that are oh so sad to me.
  Take for instance, entering a store these days where you have now reached the "Girl" section instead of the little girl section.  You look at the clothes with wide eyes and sometimes even a shocked expression.  Me too.  When bathing suit shopping, you go right over to the two pieces and look at me with a questioning glance.  As if to say, "Would you really let me wear this?"  And you are attracted to those styles somewhat because they seem TRENDY and because they seem DARING.  I'm not sure when wearing something equivalent to underwear became trendy, but I have a feeling I know why.
  Little girls have role models in their mamas and the other women in their lives.  When a little girl sees a woman wearing very little and getting attention for it, something inside that young lady dies a little bit.  We whine and complain about how all the little girls clothes have gotten too revealing...but the reason why lies with the adults.  The truth is an adult woman has no business dressing for attention either.  But that isn't a very popular view in our world.
  I confess, my daughter, that I too have been intrigued by the latest styles and trends and sometimes throw modesty by the wayside.  I am going to tell you that sometimes I I wish I could look that good in a bikini.  And sometimes I have even said that where you could hear it.  But the older you get and the more temptation you have to dress in a way that I believe is not pleasing to God, the more I realize that the way I dress and talk about clothes has to set the example I want you to have.
  Because the truth is...I can complain as much as I want about the world today and the role models young women have.  All those complaints have merit.  But what I can't ignore is that it starts with me.  I have to be the role model I want you to have.  And out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.  So even though I'm not in a hurry to put a bikini on these days and strut my stuff on the beach, I need to evaluate the reasons why.  And number one on that list for me needs to be modesty.  I want it to be number one on your list too.
  So nope, you can look right past that bikini and that cut off shirt.  Because I want to be daring in an unworldly way.
1 Timothy 2: 9
"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety..."

  I love you,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day card shopping

  I stood with my three year old as we thumbed through cards, many people crowding the aisle, doing the same.  Looking for the perfect card.  The lady next to me smiled and said, "My daughter just became a mom a week ago.  I'm looking for a card for that."
  Tate picked up a card that played "When You're Good to Mama" only the sound mechanism was having some trouble and it sounded kind of like a dying cow at the end of every phrase.   Not to mention, who wants a card for Mother's Day that plays, "When You're Good to Mama"?
 As I looked at all these cards, which are now priced much too high in my opinion, I thought...not one of them says what motherhood really is about.  Not one captures what I'm thankful for in the remarkable women in my life.  Not one card captures my Nana, who worked tirelessly and raised five children and taught many other children Kindergarten and cooked dinner and cleaned house and did lots of laundry, and gave and gave, and still gives and gives seemingly tirelessly.  Although you know she had to be bone tired.  My great aunt, who loves every one of her nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews like we are her own children.  She is always ready with a hug and encouragement.  Loves unconditionally and without judgement.  Not one card is suitable for my Grandmother, who worked for and received her PhD while raising three girls.  And she worked and raised a family and had hot dinners on the table every night.  Her PhD is in Home Economics...she taught classes on what it means to be a homemaker.  I smile when I think of that.  I learned from the best.  And not one of these cards captures the sweet spirit of the amazing woman that raised my husband.  She never says no to watching her grandchildren, and is there for every one of their events in life.  Her family brings her great joy, and she doesn't complain about giving so much of herself.
  So many women in my life have modeled Godly love for me.  Too many to list aunts, my husband's aunts, my husband's grandmothers, women in my church family.  I could go on and on.
  And then there's my own mother.  I read countless cards and I couldn't find one that captures who my mom is as a mother, as a woman of God.  Or what she has taught me about being a mother and a wife.  The most selfless giver of any person I have ever met.  How do you say that in a card?
  Hallmark doesn't really know what a mother is, I don't think.  Actually the world doesn't know what these women are as mothers.  The world doesn't recognize it.  All these women are well loved in the world, but their Source, the Reason behind why they do what they do?  The world can't see it.

"The deal is — Motherhood isn’t sainthood and we’re all a bunch of sinners here and don’t let anyone tell you any different — pushing something out of your womb doesn’t make you a better woman. Real Womanhood isn’t a function of becoming a great mother, but of being loved by your Great Father. Someone write that on a card with a bouquet of flowers. We all need that."
Anne Voscamp

  These women have taught me and are teaching me that motherhood is all about leaning on God.  That the rewards of motherhood to the world look like successful, beautiful children, but to God they look like a woman who served Him by the giving of herself.  Becoming a mother is easy in comparison to BEING a mother.  (Yep, even that first labor.)  And I don't think I've even gotten to the hardest part of motherhood...the letting go.
 So on Mother's Day, I'm thankful for the women in my life who love unselfishly.  Who have modeled for me what it truly means to be a mother.  And I'm thankful to the Great Lover who loves US unconditionally, even when we fail as moms.
  P.S. Tate decided the best card was a Toy Story happy birthday card.  After reading dozens of cards, I think I agree.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


To My Dear Firstborn,
  Seven years ago you entered our world...all 8 pounds and 15 ounces of you.  I'm feeling sentimental tonight, so bear with me when I tell you it doesn't feel like it was seven years ago.
  When you were a baby, you had this habit of sticking your fingers in the mouth of anyone who was holding you.  You liked to wedge those fingers so far down in our mouths, I had scratches under my tongue.  I'm convinced you developed that habit because I loved to kiss your hands.  So...the guilt in me wouldn't take your hand from my mouth, I just let you and so did everyone else.  I can still picture seeing your Papa and your Granddad holding you with your hand stuck inside their mouth.  Yep, you had us wrapped around your little finger.

  When you were one, I was teaching and I couldn't bear to be without you so I would take you to school whenever I needed to go in to work.  I can still picture you toddling around, banging on instruments.  You went to all my school programs, and the kids passed you around.

  At two I remember taking you with Mom and Allie to Jump It and seeing just how fearful you were to do certain things.  That caution stays with you today.  You have to talk yourself into things, as you did then and I remember the look of joy on your face when you finally had the courage to climb up to the big slide and the look of sheer terror turned to bliss as you came down that slide.

  When you were three, you got locked in the bathroom at daycare.  I don't think it was that huge of a deal to you, but to me it was unthinkable.  I cried.  I talked to your teacher (who felt awful) and the director and everyone I could think of.  Mistakes happen.  I remember telling you (because Granddad told me to) that the next time something scary happened, you yell and scream and then you sit down and you just pray and God will answer those prayers.  Emma, you teach me so much with you complete faith and trust in God.  Your prayers are completely sincere and you pray for others so readily.

  At three, we also rocked your world and told you you were going to be a big sister.  From the first moment on, you loved being a big sister.  I'll never forget taking you to an unexpected ultrasound and hearing that it was a boy.  Your reaction?  "Um are you sure?  Can it be a girl too?"  Little did you know, sweet girl, little did you know...

  When you were four, our family had a lot of change. Your daddy finished law school.  I don't know if you will ever know how hard he worked or all the sacrifices he made.  He drove to Indianapolis just about every day for three years.  He studied like crazy.  I'm not sure you understood all the celebrating, but I will always picture how hard you clapped for him walking across the stage.  And I'll never forget you yelling, "My Daddy passed the bar!"

  Tate joined our family a few months before you turned four.  We loved watching you relish your role of big sister.  From the very beginning, you were filled with patience and love and that has never changed.

  When you were four, I got the opportunity to leave my teaching position to stay home with you and Tate.  I felt so lucky to be able to share most of every day with my favorite people.

  You also got really really sick when you were four and scared me to pieces.  I'll never forget the night we didn't go to sleep because you threw up all. night. long.  Come to find out, you are allergic to penicillin.  I never want to see you that sick again.  Got it?

  Starting were much braver than I thought you might be.  You made friends easily and loved your teacher.  To this day, you have never once turned your card.  It's going to be traumatic when you do, but only for you.  One thing you will learn is that you won't always please everyone.  And it's not going to be the end of the world.  But right now, you love to please...and it's hard not be pleased with you.  You are one of the biggest hearted people I know.

  We went to Disney at five, and I'll never forget the look on your face when Meme and Granddad told you we were going.  And the same look the first time you saw Cinderella's castle.

  I'll never forget you playing soccer at five years old.  You never took the ball from anyone.  We couldn't convince you to.  When we talked about it, you said, "I can't do that.  It's not nice."  I'm not sure you will ever be successful at soccer, because we can't convince you that it's okay to steal the ball.  I'll never forget the day you played a team who didn't have all their players there, and the ones that were there were more into snacks and the playground than playing.  You scored three goals...they were kind of flukes, but they were goals!  You were so proud.

  AND when you turned 5, you got ANOTHER little brother.  That little brother adores you.  He wants to see you when he wakes up...he asks for you almost immediately saying "SSSSS" for Sissy.  He loves to give you huge hugs.  It's hard work being a big sister to two little brothers.  But there couldn't be a better girl for the job.

  First grade hasn't been the easiest on you.  You'd prefer to stay home with me all day, but you do like school most of the time.  You are a homebody and cautious, not a risk taker.  So much like your mama.  You also have the most caring heart.  You look for someone who needs a friend, and you are a friend to them.  You can't stand to see anyone hurting.  I love that about you.  You adore your teacher and you have learned to love reading.

  Today you turn seven.  Seven years ago, I had no idea how you would change my world, change me.  But change me, you have.  You have taught me patience and strength.  You have taught me to move a little slower, to see the little blessings all around me.  You have taught me to look for the good in everyone.  You have reminded me that everyone needs a friend.  You have shown me what it means to pray and cry out to God.  And you have taught me how to really, truly love sacrificially.

  Happy birthday, sweet daughter.
Always, Your Mama

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Come on Spring!

I'm taking a little detour from Sanity Manifesto.  Hoping to finish it this week tho!

Yesterday I went for a run outside.  Granted, it was a short run because about 7 minutes into it, it started pouring.  It was a cold rain, a reminder that though the temperatures were teasing us with Spring like thoughts, it's really very much still winter.

Winter is a long season, especially when you have small children who ache to go outside.  The hints of Spring just make me want to open all my windows, head to the park, and breathe in that sweet, fresh air.

It reminds me of another longing.

Sometimes this life can be like that.  Sometimes everything is going well, you aren't sure how things could be any can be fooled into believing that this is Heaven, or at least how you picture Heaven would be.
But most assuredly, this is not Heaven.  And usually that reminder comes slapping me in the face just like winter shows up on those days when we are least expecting it.  Sometimes it's a big reminder like a death or a loss.  Sometimes it's a smaller reminder...a hurt not healed or a heart closed off.  Sometimes it's the reminder of this fallen world we are living in.

As good as this Earth can be and it can be is such a sweet, sweet gift, it is NOTHING in comparison of what is to come.  And as hard as this life can be and as long as this life can feel, it is most certainly temporary.

Romans 8: 23 "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

It's helpful for me to remember that even though we have the promise of what's to come, that even though we have the Holy Spirit to help us along the way, that Paul tells us we are GROANING as we wait EAGERLY for our adoption as sons.

It's okay to long for the day when EVERY knee will bow, when EVERY tongue will proclaim.  When you hurt, it's good to GROAN to God.  I remember Mary Beth Chapman saying that every day she wakes up without her precious daughter here, even though she finds happiness and joy, she begs God, "Let this be the day You come back."

One of these days it WILL be the day.  Rest assured, He's coming and He's going to wipe away those tears and finally, completely everything will be okay.  It's a good reminder to me to not cling to tightly to Earthly treasures. It's a good reminder that when things are good, the truth is...there will still be bad as long as we are living on this Earth.
And it's a good reminder that when things are day they won't be anymore.

Revelation 21:  6  "He said to me, "It is done.  I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sanity Manifesto Part 2

I don't think I did a very good job explaining why I am doing this...this is mostly for own benefit, so I can see what my days look like in comparison to this Sanity Manifesto.  :)  How to stay sane when it seems like the daily to do list is so long!  This is just my take on what I read, and how I can apply it.  The original version can be found here...all credit goes to Anne Voscamp.

9.  Make laughter your chocolate.
Love this, and I think I am good there.  My kiddos bring me lots of laughter.  Laughter when life is crazy gets us through.

10.  No songs without rhythm.
I like her idea here...the idea is routine.  So many times as a stay at home mama, I kind of feel like I'm just letting things happen.  Wake up and see what the day holds.  Some of that is good.  But routine is good too.  Kids need routine.  And I'm finding so do parents!  (This closely relates to #18)

11.  On 25, Take 5.
I do not operate this way, and I think it would be very beneficial to me.  She suggests that for every 25 minutes you are "in the pool" (involved in the task at hand), you take five minutes off.  Again, that can be hard with small children.  But how much would I benefit if I saved my checking facebook, email, and text messages for that 5 minutes?  How much would I benefit if I worked really hard for 25 minutes, knowing that after, I could sit and play with my kids for a bit?  It's an interesting concept rather than trying to go from laundry to playtime to checking text messages to emptying the dishwasher back to laundry...ha!

12.  Unplug to plug into your purpose.
Constant connection to electronics is unhealthy.  I'm one to talk.  This is big for me, but I am trying.  I'm not going to go drastic, but I would like to change this.  I would like to unplug for a few hours every day.  Sometimes I think about my grandmothers with awe and how they got so much done while still being moms to three and five children.  I think, they must have worked their tails off.  Yes, I think they did.  But also, they didn't have some of the distractions and temptations we have today. Facebook, text messaging, etc...we are able to have conversations at any point of the day, any time we want.  And that's not always a good thing.

13.  Watch your nos and your yeses will take care of themselves.
SO much truth here.  She says..."Don't have guilt about a no, because every no is a yes to something else."  We cannot do everything, and at this stage of life, I have to say no to a lot.  But I love the reminder that a no is a yes to something is a setting of the priorities.  No, I cannot teach another student.  Yes, I can spend that time with my family.  No, I cannot Zumba tonight.  Yes, I can make dinner.

14.  Daily Stillness Appointment
She suggests that for five minutes each day...we just sit and ponder.  No emailing.  No facebooking.  No cleaning.  No cooking.  Just sit.  Have you ever done it?  I tried last week a couple of's amazing how long five minutes feels!  The first day it felt like I was just procrastinating what really needed doing.  But after, I think there's some value in it.  Calms you.  Gets you ready to work.  She says..."You only pass by this way once."  Makes you put perspective on the day...this day will only come once.  Am I using my time wisely?

15.  If the Heaven's declare, get out there.
This is all about getting outside once a day.  Oh man this is hard.  Especially in the dead of winter when I don't want to get my kids out.  We do try though..and you can bet in the other seasons, we do it.  I start to go a little nuts when I'm cooped up inside...don't you?

16.  Work on your wall before noon.
She compares this to Nehemiah and his wall.  LOVE this comparison because it's how I feel...just move a few bricks.  No way that wall is going to be completed (is it ever really completed?)  but get a good grip on it before the lunch time hour.  Whether for me that's starting/planning dinner, sending emails regarding lessons, picking out music, grocery shopping, laundry...move those bricks.  I love what she says regarding this..."If you don't intentionally work on your wall, the tyranny of the urgent can make your life a rubble heap."  Yes!  This is what I struggle with!  At least once a day the tyranny of the urgent takes control...I want to prolong it as long as possible.  I want to think about what's for dinner before 5 p.m.  To have emailed my husband my teaching schedule/kids' schedule before I'm texting him saying...where are you?  To have my daughter practice/do homework before it's 7:30 and baths still have to be given.

17.  Envision the end goal.
What does a day look like when my goals have been reached?  What does my end result look like?  An organized house, drawers full of clean clothes, a healthy dinner on the table, happy, clean kids, students who get my undivided attention, homework and practicing done, dishes washed, me getting a work out it even possible?  Haha.  I think it's important to keep in perspective a goal and then a REALISTIC that's really attainable?  Are all three of my kids going to get a bath every night?  Nope.  Am I going to cook a good dinner from scratch every night of the week?  Hasn't happened yet.  Will my laundry always be caught up? Ha.

18.  Everyday.  Not every now and then.
She reminds us that habitually doing something is what is more apt to change your heart than doing it randomly, when you remember it.  That means my time in the Word has to be set in stone daily.  That means praying for my kids and my husband isn't for when I get time for it, but that I have to MAKE the time for it.  It's not an afterthought.  But what I'm figuring out and probably everyone else has this figured out :), is that it works for getting other things done too.  Laundry in first thing in the morning, out when I get home from school drop off and another load in.  A 15 minute clean up session before I teach and another before bed.  Haven't quite conquered the grocery shopping once a week/weekly menu...but it is a goal.  And I'm getting better!

Stay tuned for Part 3!