Monday, January 24, 2011

So our 17-year-old, Matt, after much coaxing for weeks before Christmas, FINALLY mentioned a couple of things he would like as Christmas presents. Are you ready for this?

A Zippo lighter and a silver pocket watch.

He doesn't smoke. He's just one of those "loves to be prepared" types who likes having helpful gadgets at his fingertips so he can bail people out of unfortunate circumstances. I swear that boy ought to be in some kind of rescue career field. You would think he was an Eagle Scout. He never did Scouts at all.

His whole boyhood he wanted to be a US Marine. When he was around 15 he changed his mind. I think it has a lot to do with not trusting the government making the decisions for the military personnel and him being afraid he'd be putting his life on the line with dubious benefit to his country (or any other one for that matter). I have to say that very much describes my own heart on that topic.

So Rosie bought him a silver pocket watch for Christmas. It came in a gift set with a little key chain utility knife alongside it. Then his grandfather gave him another one, so how he has two. Steve and I gave him a Zippo, which he has spent many hours flipping open, lighting, and flipping closed. Now, thanks to the tutelage of Uncle Lou, not only can he drive a stick-shift, but with a quick snap of his fingers he can now light his Zippo with panache.

Interesting boy, that one.

Intentional Mothering

"Purposeful and intentional mothering is no walk in the park, but it is worth every moment, every tear, every awkward conversation, every disappointed sigh, every attack of guilt, every sleepless night, every fear taken to God in prayer, and every ray of hope He whispers in our ears as we mother His children."

I wrote this as a comment on someone's Facebook status today in response to a statement made by a mom that she mothers her sons "on purpose and with deliberate intent". I wholeheartedly agree.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Want some cheese with that?

I wonder if I once amused older parents when I was a younger one complaining about things my kids did. Then again, historically I haven't complained much about my kids because, quite honestly, they haven't given me much to complain about.

When I see such whines as, "The baby just would not let me sleep last night!" or, "I can't wait until she gets her days and nights figured out! This is crazy!" I find myself smiling. I'm not making fun of them, mind you, just can't help but be amused. I do usually manage to control myself enough to refrain from retorting that there will come a day when they will wish with all their being that they could return to these days. Well, most of the time I manage it. Sometimes I actually do say that--as gently as I can.

The truth is, like all the days of our lives, these days of young parenting are fleeting. And like all other important times in our lives, we will one day wish we could relive them. I know I do. Every moment of being a mother has been special to me. Not all have been fun, by any means, but they have all been amazing. Even right now, with my tummy tied up in knots that would flummox a sailor over a difficult time one of my sons is going through, I bless God for every moment He allows me to be called Mama.


One of the hardest discoveries of motherhood must be that "knots in the stomach" really does feel like knots. Knots being untied and retied and having the frayed ends burned. Repeatedly. Significantly unpleasant. Being a mama means struggling through those knots, though, however often it is necessary. This would be one of those times.

Her heart and mind are in a bizarre spot this morning. She birthed that boy who is nearing manhood, and watching him leave this morning for one of the hardest meetings of his life was no easy thing for his mama's heart. It hasn't been easy for any of the family, watching his first and only love become a jolting whiplash injury that is likely to take a long time to see past. She knows one day he will, but the mark this leaves will be profound. She isn't dismissing God's ability to turn it all into something that will bless his life in some way; in fact she is counting on that like she's counted on few things in her life.

She's having trouble shaking the unfairness. She knows life isn't supposed to be fair, but he has done everything right. Honor above all, in everything he says and does. Above reproach. Godliness. Strength. Integrity. Complete respectfulness. No one on the planet could or would say differently. And this boy who has given his heart completely for the past two and a half years packed it all up in a box, closed the lid, picked it up, swallowed hard, hugged his mama, and walked out the front door. He doesn't even know yet what he will do with it when he gets there. If anything remains in the box when he comes back home it will likely be sealed and packed away. It won't be anything he will want to see for a long time. Maybe ever.

She couldn't go with him. She's thinking maybe it's good that it'll be a father-son task, at least up to the point of the actual meeting. His dad will be there right afterward to hold him. She hasn't seen him cry since the night the girl said goodbye. He sobbed in his mother's arms that night and the world tilted weird and she felt sick in a way she has rarely felt. Fighting tears of her own, she wanted to snatch his world back and return it to him and tell him everything was okay. All she could do was hold him while he cried out the shock and pain and confusion and loss.

He begged just to see the girl, just to hear it from her own lips, the why, the agonizing how in the world things could go from beauty to ashes within weeks. And he doesn't even know yet how long it's really been that it was a lie he was living without knowing it. Finally, and only through the aid of a good friend, they will meet this morning, one last time. One last time for the truth told in person, face to face. It's what he needs. It's the very least of what he deserves. It's the only thing that will allow him to break open and feel and then with God's help to begin to process and heal.

He did everything right. First love, only love. How could he have known.

Friday, January 21, 2011


My daughter processes things like her father: Stay calm, ponder, think through, pray, assess from different angles, empathize, accept, express gently, move on. I want to be her when I grow up.

Me? I get deeply, profoundly angry--but mostly when someone in my family is being injured by the inconsiderate words and actions of others. I don't get so upset when it's me. I can put on my big girl panties and deal. But when it's my babies...hooboy. That just doesn't sit well.

We teach our children to always give without expecting anything in return, always do for others, be dependable, be prompt, minimize drama, show integrity, be honest. The idea is that when they do those things, people will honor it. And so they do. Sadly other people very often don't keep their side of it. I wonder if it's just because people really don't understand the meaning of such honoring any more. People just don't stop to think through the implications of what they do and say, or how it affects other people--other good people who do their best and give of themselves constantly from a cheerful heart, always working hard because it's the right thing to do. 

I guess I just really hate seeing my children do everything right and be treated like it doesn't matter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Do I Describe Thee?

In response to a question on Facebook this morning noting the differences in personality in children within a family, I wrote the following descriptions of our kids. After posting it, I got to thinking this would be a cool place to include it.

Let's see. Of our five…

One son is a perfectionist, quick-thinking and quick-witted, tender-hearted but fiercely strong, split down the middle creative and analytical, a crazy-epic athlete, and can debate virtually every facet of any argument.

Another son is tender and compassionate but unwavering in his beliefs, an amazing writer, an impressive athlete, a perfectly balanced coach, creative, wise, patient, dependable, hard-working, and loyal.

The middle son is our balancing force, an amazing musician, a knowledgeable astronomer, a vigilant peacemaker, a wholehearted worshiper, a dedicated student of the Bible, a phenomenal mentor, and a fiercely loyal friend.

The other son is brilliant, witty, even-tempered, creative/analytical, an amazing artist and musician, is doggedly protective (especially of girls and women), has a strong sense of justice but is also markedly merciful, and dreams of being a superhero (which, in my opinion, he already is).

Our one daughter is a splendid dancer who writes mind-boggling song lyrics, has an unforgettable singing voice, aspires to be a professional nanny and early childhood dance teacher, and is the most loyal, compassionate, devoted, peaceful, courageous young woman I’ve ever known.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Blessing Over My Daughter

Over the years I have endeavored to bless my children and to speak life over them. This is my blessing over my daughter.

Rosie, there are a million things I could say to speak blessing over your life. This is my attempt at narrowing it down to the main points.

You just aren't into teen drama. In fact you run from it, and if it catches you, you stick your hand out stop-sign fashion and say, "Whoa...take that somewhere else, if you don't mind!" (or something like that). Let me tell you, I was never a huge fan of drama yuck as a teen, but I was never even remotely as adept at giving it the slip as you. Just saying.

You don't pout to get your way, play head games, or manipulate others. I'm not sure I've ever known a girl who didn't do those things, at least to some degree. But put simply, it just doesn't seem to be in your DNA. Heck, I remember doing those things as a teen. Then again, you have had a way different life from what I had growing up. I dig what you're doing with it.

You are humble. You regularly have random people walking up to you in public to tell you that you are pretty, or that you have gorgeous eyes, or that they love your hair. You smile and blush a bit and say, "Aww, thank you!" and usually find something to compliment about them in return. You are smart, sociable, beautiful, and witty: every earthly reason to be a total snob, but you are anything but. You shop for a bargain and steer clear of excess and bling. You grin about the $8. prom dress you bought from a thrift shop and make it shine like a million bucks.

Your heart is pure. You don't make a habit of filling your head and heart with garbage, so garbage isn't what comes back out. You love God with your whole being and chase after Him with all you've got. You read His Word (and you know we joke about how being the only one of my children who just doesn't enjoy reading all that much, that's saying something) and hide it in your heart. You look for ways to bless others, and often find them.

You are courageous. You champion the little ones, the elderly ones, and the challenged ones, and you don't hesitate to stand up for them. You quietly call out inappropriate words and behavior in your friends and gently guide them toward a better way, and you do it with such tender wisdom that they keep coming back. You are brave and protective and fierce in your love for others. I've watched you fight for friendship and for dance technique and for the rights of others with valor anyone could envy.

You honor God and your parents by listening to their guidance with an open spirit. You see the sensibility in benefiting from others' mistakes and have no problem admitting it. You speak up when you don't understand the why behind instruction, but then you defer to our leadership out of love and respect for God and for us. As a mom, I can't find words to express to you the degree to which you have made parenting you a deep and indescribable joy.

You are letting God write your Love Story. This hasn't always been easy for you, being the loving, giving soul you are. People have come along in your life who would have loved to steal your purpose and draw your focus from the goal. Once or twice you looked backward, but thankfully you always looked again to Wisdom for reassurance and moved forward on the right path. You have taken care not to awaken love before its time, and it is my heart's desire that you are blessed beyond earthly understanding for that loyalty.

I could not have asked for a more honorable daughter, nor could I have come close to dreaming you up on my own. Only God could have knit you together to become the beautiful girl I call my cherished Rose, and I will never stop thanking Him for the blessing of you.