Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1

There is a 31 day writing challenge out there floating around. I believe the originator is The Nester. It's a bit of a joke for me to try, but try I will. My thirty-one days of writing will be on parenting. After having a few weeks that felt a bit like "coasting," I felt like we've recently hit several bumps. Cora is a delight, a charmer, and all the bits of funny and entertaining that typically come from a two year old. However, she is also challenging, independent, occasionally irrational, as well as deeply sinful. (She gets that last one from me. Just kidding. No, I'm only kidding now.)

Today, she seemed impossible to please. Not that it's my job to please her, but I do love her and want to give her good things. Things were busy today - groceries to buy & put away, a baby brother to care for, a dinner to prepare, and so on. I would try to play with her, and also to invite her to come alongside me and participate or watch me do one thing or another (usually an idea she's on board with). However, she rejected just about effort to make the day fun, and instead would request that her whims or desires be met as soon as the words left her lips. Failure to meet such desires was rewarded with tears, whining and basically acting like I tore her heart to shreds. I want to say yes more. We were just talking about that in a parenting class last week. Say yes, yes to the little, inconvenient things, that really don't hurt anybody. But when I just put on the dress (straight from the washer, as she didn't want to wait for it to dry) she requested, watched her dance performance, clapped for the gymnastic exhibition, helped with another wardrobe change, and now need to throw some clothes in the dryer, I'd prefer it to not be the end of the world if I say "one minute" when she asks to change into yet another outfit.

These meltdown episodes usually left me feeling bewildered and incompetent. At one point, I carried her to her room, all but dumped her on the bed, and fled to my own sleeping sanctuary for a moment of quiet (or what would have been quiet if we had sound-proof walls). I prayed briefly, groaned for a bit longer and then wondered what Brad would think if he came home at that exact moment. Deacon was stuck on the living room floor doing the conversational yelp-and-holler routine he's fond of these days. I told myself that Cora was tired, she just needed a nap. Then I remembered that nap time ended forty-five minutes ago.

Obviously, we survived the rest of the evening. And the Daddy Rescue Squad arrived within the next hour, which always brings a second wind. We get to brave a doctor's visit tomorrow for D's shots and check-up. At the least, it should make for an entertaining blog post...

Monday, July 9, 2012


Living fully now, perspective, and the inevitability of death have been on my mind recently. My priorities tend to be far too mixed up. When I worry more about the junk food I just ate and the damage it could do to my body than the sin I just committed against my husband or in my heart, there is something wrong. I desperately need my heart to turn toward Jesus first.

I feel an urgency to seize the day, the moments that I have. To live outside myself more and to serve and move in more impacting ways. Nothing grand, only simple ideas come to mind, and that is okay. I just must be faithful with the talents I've been given. First this means loving my family well, serving them by my faithfulness to Christ. It means bringing my children alongside me when I love others outside the family, demonstrating how to live a faithful live. It means prayerfully beginning my day, seeking out wisdom and an open heart that is sensitive to the Spirit's guidance. It means having grace, neither being puffed up by my good works nor discouraged by my faults and shortcomings.

From the Valley of Vision, "Shortcomings:"

I fall short of thy glory every day by spending hours unprofitably,
by thinking that the things I do are good,
when they are not done to thy end,
nor spring from the rules of thy Word.
My sin is to fear what never will be;
I forget to submit to thy will, and fail to be quiet there.
But Scripture teaches me that thy active will reveals a steadfast purpose on my behalf,
and this quietens my soul,
and makes me love thee.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Season

Well, it has been a while, hasn't it. Life is different now, and my heart feels a bit more dry in some places. I don't write much anymore - on this blog or in my personal journal. With two littles now, Brad and I were talking about how important it will be that we record our family history, specifically the ways we see God's faithfulness in our lives. In general, I just want to be a better memory keeper of the lives we lead, so here we go, trying again.

Our blessed family, almost four weeks ago:

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Tonight I am looking around the house and feel completely overwhelmed and disappointed. This day feel like a fail. Dishes half-started, completely unfinished. Toys strewn around, projects for the day never touched. Clutter still littering countertops, end tables, and most other flat surfaces. Laundry has been washed, dried, and folded - and is creating an attractive leaning tower on top of the bench in our bedroom. Discussions I wanted to have, phone calls I wanted to make, and matters I wanted to settle have gone undone.

I have spend most of the day pouting as I watched one plan after another unravel. Add to that that I have not felt in the best shape and just wanted some downtime today (which I did not get much of at all), and I really had some nasty moments of selfishness, eye rolling, and heavy sighs. You know what I mean.

More important than the disarray of my home, I am realizing the state of my heart is desperate. I have bitterness, resentment and discontent scattered on the shelves of my heart. The mess in my home does not even begin to reflect the mess inside. So instead of spending time cleaning, tidying, and doing tonight, I think I will sit. I will pray. I will ask forgiveness. And tomorrow will grant a new space to practice contentment, love, and obedience.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Over my heart hovers a lens
Backwards over my heart.
This makes the big things
And the littlest ones
So tiny now.

You see,
It hurts.
To crane my neck and look back
Back to my heart.
And I prefer it this way
So much easier,
Looking at yours.

Yours is darker, bigger
My lens tells me
I am better,
Certainly a bit more fragrant.

Now if you will just listen, I can fix you
I can help you be good like me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Redemption & Rhymes with Pill

I once had a student whose name rhymed with pill. That is easy to remember because there were more than a few days where I would rather swallow a horse-sized one than deal with the conflicts he brought to my classroom. The funny thing about Rhymes with Pill was that he was very smart (though spacey) and when asked, he could recite the classroom rules and expectations word for word. (Whether or not he followed those rules to the letter is another story for another time.) However, he rarely paid attention to the specific thing I was asking the class to do at a particular time. He figured that if he worked within the general guidelines of the basic rules of the class that he could ignore my spoken directions and he would be fine. Rhymes with Pill figured he could set his own guidelines when it came to specifics. This caused a lot of problems, particularly if the routine varied slightly from one day to the next, or if I introduced something new. Despite his confidence that he could figure everything out, he instead would often find himself doing the exact opposite of what the rest of the class was doing.

He did not know (nor was he capable of knowing) what the best decision would be for the entire class. He was not aware of particular requests or decisions made by other teachers, staff or myself. Yet day in and day out, he would do his own thing. Repeated conversations, consultations, and disciplines did not seem to make a difference. For whatever reason, he was wired to do his own thing. It has taken me over a year to realize this, but I am not unlike my funny student, Rhymes with Pill.

I know my black and white rules. The ten commandments, the greatest commandment, the marriage vows. I try my best to follow them. But I know that at the heart of things, it is not what my faith is about. Sometimes I am thoroughly confused, however. What am I supposed to do in these situations that are not solved in a Sunday School answer way? What do I do when things are just "fine." What do I do when there is this small, but loud and aching piece that knows, knows with great confidence, that there is MORE. There is more than what I am doing. I try to read a book for answers or talk to a wise friends. That may help for a while. But really, I need directions that are specific. I need clarity and meaning for me, for now.

I have, for a long, long time, let myself believe that everything is okay because I follow rules. Yet I have failed in one way. I have not listened. It is not one of the 10 commandments. "Thou shalt listen." It is just a given. When I break one of the Black & Whites, I far too often fill my own ears with the ringing of my own apologies, my weeping and gnashing of teeth. I am so busy making myself feel fully sorrowful, that I miss a chance to listen. My regret is not sincere, but it is pronounced, and pronounced loudly. Yet there is no change. Maybe repentance is not sobbing pleas, maybe it is quiet. Maybe it is listening.

Perhaps all I need to do is stop talking. Perhaps all I need to do is stop.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


To love is to obey. To care is to try.

I fail frequently, but I want to make efforts even more often.

Luke 14:28-33
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what kind, going out to encounter another kind in war will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."

Do. Not. Quit. My testimony depends on it.