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Showing posts from October, 2014

Teach Your Child to Look Fear in the Eye - Day 24

When's the last time you felt the metallic taste of fear in your mouth?  Are you achingly familiar with the feeling of putting one heavy foot in front of the other when every step is painful?  If you're an adult I think I can predict with 99% certainty that you just had memories come flooding.  Dealing with fear and pain are important markers of adulthood that define our character and chart our courses.

Yet, we're too timid as parents, to teach these skills, head-on, to our children.  It's a well-intention-ed omission, but a dangerous one.  As we spend our energy creating magical childhood memories inside a bubble free of fear and pain we set our kids up for it to hit them like a speeding semi they didn't see coming as they're skipping across the street to the ice cream truck.
 That is not the welcome to adult-hood any of us mean to craft for our children.  We want kids who know what it takes to lock their knees, grit their teeth and rub some dirt on it.

We wa…

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Child - Day 23

The deer in the headlights look?  That was me when the doctor told me baby #2 was on the way.  Don't get me wrong!  I wanted baby #2, desperately, but baby #1 was only 8 months old!  My master plan included a bit more breathing space between the two.

I was in love with being a Mom, and I was super in love with my precious man-cub, Riley.  He made me a Momma and I felt like I was living my dream!  He and I had spent the last 8 months talking and singing, taking daily walks through the neighborhood, learning about each other and finding out that we were great together.  Mom and baby boy - we were rockin' it.

We found out that another little man-cub was on the way, a brother.  Dreams of little boy world with brothers exploring life together ousted my worries.  While my belly grew, so did another fierce love for a yet un-met sidekick.  He was born and he was amazing.

Then we came home, the hub-up died down, and I realized how life had changed.  We were back at square one.  I fel…

Spiritual Napping - Day 22

If you have babies, toddlers or preschoolers you are thick in the middle of the most physically demanding season of motherhood.  If you have school-age kids and teenagers you are feeling exhausted from the mind-bending discussions and emotional needs of your season.  Moms of littlies are longing for the days they don't have tie everyone's shoes and wipe everyone's butts.  Moms of biggies are somewhat startled to find out that what they're facing is every bit as draining as the physical work was.

I have magical advice from my Mom that I want to pass on to you.

GO. TAKE. A. NAP!  Sometimes it's the most spiritual thing you can do.
It sounds simple, but I'm a Mom, so I know it's not.  There are a million things that conspire against you getting and break and anything close to enough sleep.  Napping requires  engaging in a two-front battle against circumstances and guilt.  You either have to temporarily ignore needs or miraculously get enough ahead of them to ca…

A Trick that Makes It Easy to Say Yes! - Day 21

Every time I sign my name I remember a life lesson I learned in a 3rd grade classroom.  When I was in high school I used one of my electives to help out in the elementary.
 The teacher had previously taught in the high school and been one of my favorites so I knew I would like working with her.  I remember her at the chalkboard, demonstrating proper cursive techniques.  She taught them how to touch the bottom line with their letters and put the proper curl on the first capital.  And then at the end of the word she taught them, and me about life.  Mrs. Gregson finished the last letter, touched the bottom line properly and then swooped her chalk up to end the word with a flourish and these words,

"Even in cursive writing, you are deciding what kind of person you want to be.  Do you want to be a positive, UP kind of person?  Then slide that pencil up and end your word with a positive motion!  Don't end your words going down when you could go up and be positive!!"
The same…

FAIR is Just the Place You get Elephant Ears - Day 20

Big family life has taught me a lot as a mom.  Some of the adjustments being responsible for 8 backpacks, 20 feet, and 10 heads of hair (well, 9 really ;)) have been bothersome.  Prime example is the beast I'm forced to drive.  It's been called the party bus...and other less flattering names.  Don't get me wrong, I really love what happens inside of's super fun to have room for the whole basketball team and I love road trips with my family all together in one vehicle.  But there's no way around the fact that's it's big and it's ugly.  Part of the deal when we bought it was that the purchase would have to include a really fabulous pair of boots for me, the driver, to off-set the ugly factor of my new wheels.  I like my boots, but the van's still just a evil by-product of having a big family.

Other necessary adjustments have made me a more focused mom and more certain of the essentials.   Fair.  Whether we speak it out loud or not, each of i…

Traditions Are Your Trademark - Day 19

We celebrated a birthday at our house today.  This was the 83rd time our family has pulled out the birthday candles and Happy Birthday sign to make a big deal about one of our kids.  I'm not joking people.  I counted them up and that's how many birthdays we've had here.

I spent the day doing things I always do, fulfilling the Florida family birthday traditions.  It's funny how solid these things become over do something once or twice and before you know it, it's risen out of the mist as a full-fledged tradition.  You know it has become a tradition when it's absence produces a guttural cry of outrage from your children!  It usually sounds something like this, "But we aaalwwayys do it!!"

It's funny how many traditions spring up on their own and become something tangible before you realize they're a thing.  Another curiosity about traditions is that their existence isn't based on meaning or content.  The dictionary definition of tr…

My Funeral - Day 18

Some people might think it's morbid to think about your own funeral...but it's not.  It's actually smart.  One of the 7 habits of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about is to "Begin with the End in Mind."  I want to be highly effective.  What's more the end than your own funeral?

I remember being at my Great-Grandma's funeral not too long after I became a Mom.  Her name was Minnie Merrow and she lived a long life.  She had outlived just about all of her contemporaries.  Most of the people at her funeral were family....children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.  It was a big room and it was full.  There were a lot of people there who I didn't even know but each were connected to my great-grandma.

I only have a few memories of my grandma Minnie.....she always kept chocolate chip cookies in her chest freezer that she would let us eat all icy cold.  But you had to hurry picking one out, you might not get o…

10 Books That Won't Disappoint- Day 17

Early on in this series I might have said that nobody but you can be an expert on your kids.  That's true.  But just because you don't have A LOT of time to read, doesn't mean that you shouldn't read at all.  And if you are going to read, I certainly don't want you to waste your precious minutes on books that are ho-hum.
Let me present to you my list of "If You Have Time To Read, These Won't Disappoint!" books.  These are the books that have taught me something that has stayed deep inside of me and have changed how I do my  Mom-ming.

1.   Shepherding A Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp I read this book for the first time 20 years ago when I was pregnant for my first and have gone back to it many times.  It's bedrock.  Tedd Tripp very clearly points your heart toward the real goal of parenting....the hearst of your children.  He talks about Control vs. The Goal.  Is our parenting a quest to control behavior that annoys us or are we trying to mold the…

You are Enough - Day 16

There are so many days when you feel like a fraud.  If you're like me, you rolled out of that hospital with your first baby in your arms, half looking over your shoulder expecting someone to come take him and tell you that you aren't qualified.  I mean, you're barely an adult.....only have had a little practice playing house before a baby appeared, shattering all your certainties.  You have shining moments that you pray God will let be the memories cemented into your kids' brains, but they're overshadowed every day by your uncertainty and mis-steps.

This is a serious job.  You feel the weight of eternal souls entrusted to your care and development.  You've seen Judge Judy's courtroom enough times to know that getting it wrong can get ugly.  The last thing you want is someone carrying your last name around in the future, like a banner of your parenting skills, while they're acting like a brat and being irresponsible.  You don't want it for you, and …

Pajama Days - Day 15

If you have only preschoolers, there's something you don't yet know about life with kids.  I'm going to let you in on a way to savor and enjoy your time with little people that most people don't figure out until they're seeing it in the rear view mirror.  Right now, without the school schedule calling the shots, you have a beautiful window of freedom.  I'm calling back to you from the future telling you to seize this gift that you don't even know you have....and wring every last drop of goodness out of it!
Yesterday I felt kinda yucky.  It was a rare day with nothing on the calendar that would make me leave my house, so I deemed it a pajama day.  I slept late, lounged on the couch with coffee in my pajama pants, took a mid-day shower and got dressed in a clean pair of pajama pants.  It reminded me of some of the magical pajama days with my preschoolers.
They kids knew what the declaration of A Pajama Day was a day to  celebrate being home.  


Holy Diaper Changing - Day 14

My husband is a really great guy.  He's washing dishes right now so I can write this for you.  One of the super great things about him is how much he loves babies.   If there were no constraints on our time, money or energy.....we would have our own TV show and way more than 8 kids living in this house.  Did I tell you he loves babies??!

When he visits you at the hospital and asks to hold your fresh-from-heaven's not to be polite or because that's what pastors do when they visit.  He holds that baby because he loves the way it feels in his arms.  And then he comes home and tells me about how great your baby is.  The only thing he loves more than holding your babies, is holding OUR babies.

A constant refrain in our home has been, "Let's have one more baby....our kids are so great....who wouldn't want to do this one more time?"  Depending on my current state of overwhelmedness I would either roll my eyes, laugh and talk about how great our kids a…