Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Riley!

I can not believe it‘s been 8 years. What a gift you are to this family. There are so many things I love about you and your sweet personality. You teach me so much every day.

I love that you have a Pringles can with the word “Homeless” written on it and you collect money for it from yourself and others regularly. You plan to change the world, and I believe you will.

I love that you think Cole’s smile is the cutest thing in the world and you don’t mind telling people how smitten you are with it. Sometimes I think you love him like he was your own child, even though he is only 18 months younger than you.

I love that you think teeny baby shoes are so adorable that you are almost in torture the whole time we are in a shoe store. I love sharing groans of adoration over tiny boots and running shoes with you. I think we are going to be dangerous together when you have babies of your own one day.

You are a dream come true, sweet girl. I cherish you more than you will ever comprehend. Happy 8th birthday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I hate to brag, but...

Some of us just happen to be blessed with talented kids, that's all.

Cole's schedule is pretty booked with gigs, but let me know if you want on the waiting list. He will work for food, as he clearly doesn't get much.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dear Flarp

Dear Flarp,

When I saw you sitting on the Walmart shelf, I knew you were trouble. I should have walked away before you began your charming antics and won over “fun mom” that “smart mom” was trying to suppress. But you are good at what you do. You hypnotized me and lured me in, and soon I had four of you in my basket.

I’ll admit our time together started out beautifully. You were the hit of the Valentine’s gift bags. Even the chocolate was pushed to the side, as all attention was directed toward you. And the fun. Oh the fun. We sat at the table forever laughing until the tears came over your versatility. The variety of sounds you provide is no doubt admirable. The commentary that followed each squish was just what you would have wanted.

But the honeymoon is over. You have turned my world upside down. You are stuck to Riley’s princess sheets. You are smeared on Cole’s bedroom floor. I loathe the day I laid eyes on you. Why did I pass up your brother, Whoopie Cushion? Your clean, uncomplicated, time-tested competition? Why? I will never know how my life would have been different. But I will always wonder. Always.


Monday, February 9, 2009


Saturday night as we were leaving church Riley spotted one of those “to go” communion cups and grabbed it. “Can I have this?” she asked me. I shook my head no and motioned for her to put it back in the holder so we could scoot on out of the building. “Why not? I want one,” she insisted.

Although we had explained communion to her and she has been a Christian for a year, I still wasn’t sure if she completely grasped it. I nodded my head and told her she could take it with her and do it at home, fully expecting it to be forgotten as soon as something else caught her attention. I mean, really, she is a very young, immature Christian, right? Of course I want her to be introduced to these things, but I don’t expect a deep understanding too soon.

Shame on me.

The first thing she said when we got home is “Can I do this now?” So she and I went up to the quiet of her room and I led her through communion and reminded her what it was all about. I prayed with her, then told her I would leave her alone to pray if she wanted.

Some time later she walked into the family room in tears. She collapsed on my lap and buried her face on me. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on. Then I found out.

She was completely overwhelmed that He died for her. That he went through all of that. For her. She was heartbroken. She was thankful. She was completely humbled.

But not as humbled as her mommy. When was the last time I responded that way to communion? How long had it been since I was completely heartbroken and overwhelmed and moved in the way that he intended for us to be when taking communion? You don’t want to know.

As I held this broken 7 year old on my lap and talked with her, I experienced communion in a way I hadn’t in a very long time. And I thanked God for sending me these children, who somehow continue to teach me way more than I can ever dream of teaching them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A little canvas update...

Many of you keep asking how my canvas is coming along, so I wanted to give you an update and let you see for yourself the progression.

Keep scrolling...

A little more...

I know.

But look!

Paints! I bought paints. That's something, right?

Baby steps, my friends. I am all about the baby steps.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The wall

Ever feel like God is trying to tell you something? I put these letters on my entry windowsill. At the time, it was because I wanted our family to be reminded of God’s grace as we leave our home to go out into the world.

I didn’t realize that God was about to reveal that he was wanting a little more from me.

It caught me off guard when I walked through the house and noticed this on the wall.

Then I noticed I could also see it from the kitchen.

And when I came downstairs one night in the dark.

He’s God. He knows I’m hardheaded. He knows I have to slowly process. He was pulling me in. He was Evan Almighty-ing me.

After close to thirty years of Christianity, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to grasp the concept of grace. I knew what it was. But I didn’t accept it. Grace by definition is unmerited favor. The idea that I didn’t need to earn this unconditional acceptance from God was such a hard concept for me. To say my walk down this grace path has been life-changing would be an understatement.
Just as I began to accept God’s grace as a constant, He started digging into another area of grace in my life. My parenting.

Lately I’ve been getting hit with the grace concept everywhere I turn. In books I pick up. In conversations I have. In speakers I hear. I’ve started to realize that although I try to be easygoing and loving, I am often lacking in grace with my family.

I think it is so easy to get sucked into the overwhelming job of training our kids in the way they should go, and forget to grant them unmerited favor. Maybe it’s because we fear that they will think it is ok to screw up all the time. Or maybe we are afraid that they won’t be able to discern right from wrong. I’m not sure what the root of it is, or why we think nagging will ever in a million years produce good.

God spent years settling me into his comforting haven of grace, where when I rebel, I no longer feel that He is wagging his finger at me. Instead I feel him gently saying "Come on, get back up and try again and know that I am behind you no matter how long it takes you to get it right."

So I am now headed down a new path of grace.
The path of offering it fully.
And fully does not mean occasionally.
I don’t want to be the mom that falls into the trap of only being a coach and misses the relationships that grace can grow. I don’t want my children to ever change because of fear of condemnation. I want them to desire to get things right because they are being guided lovingly. I want them to always feel the truth, that I am behind them, supporting them and loving them no matter how long it takes them to get it. I want them to be in a safe place of grace, free to grow and become what God wants them to be.

I’m not changing my standards, but it’s time to make some changes to my approach sometimes. I mean, hello, He wrote it on my wall.