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Showing posts from October, 2014

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

Have you felt the metallic taste of fear in your mouth recently?  I bet you are 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 memories of specific moments just flooded your mind.  Dealing with fear and pain are important markers of adulthood. They define our character and chart our courses.


We tend to be able to be brave in our own lives but timid as parents We struggle to teach the skills required for dealing with pain and fear to our children.  It's a well-intentioned omission, but a dangerous one.  As we spend our energy creating magical childhood memories inside a bubble that is free of fear and pain, we can accidentally set our kids up. Trouble will come. If they aren't expecting it, it will hit them like a speeding semi they didn't see coming as they're skipping across the street to the ice cream truck.
 An experience like that i…

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 number two was on the way.  Don't get me wrong!  I wanted baby number two. I wanted him desperately. But baby number one was only eight 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 eight 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.

The ultrasound told us 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 lif…

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 littles long for the day they don't have tie everyone's shoes and wipe everyone's butts.  Moms of bigs are startled to find out that what they're facing is every bit as draining as the physical work was.

My mom gave me some magical advice I'm excited 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 conspiring against you taking a break long enough to actually 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 carve out some minutes.  If y…

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 I was assigned to help had previously taught in the high school and been one of my favorites so I knew I would like working with her.  I remember watching her demonstrate proper cursive techniques at the chalkboard.  She taught the students how to touch the bottom line with their letters and put a proper curl on the first capital.  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 p…

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 eight backpacks, twenty feet, and ten heads of hair (well, nine really - Scott shaves his own head!) have been bothersome.  A 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 it. It'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 our twelve passenger van is big and ugly.  I made a secret deal with myself when we bought it. It's purchase had 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 an evil by-product of having a big family.

Other necessary adjustments have been less onerous and have made me a more focused mom. They've brou…

Traditions Are Your Trademark - Day 19

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

  I spent the day doing things I always do to fulfill the Florida family birthday traditions.  It's funny how solid these traditions become over time. You 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 how their existence isn't based on mea…

My Funeral - Day 18

Some people might think it's morbid to think about your own funeral. It's not. It's actually smart.  "Begin with the End in Mind" is rule #2 in Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I want to be highly effective.  Beginning with the end of my life in mind means I need to think about my own funeral. What's closer to 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 outlived almost all of her contemporaries.  Most people at her funeral were family - children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.  The room was big and it was full.  Many people there I didn't even know but each was connected to my great-grandma.

I only have a few personal memories of my grandma Minnie. She always kept chocolate chip cookies in her chest freezer and would let my sister and I eat all icy cold. …

10 Books That Won't Disappoint- Day 17

Early on in this series, I emphatically told you that nobody but you can be an expert on your kids.  Those words are true.  But just because you are the one God speaks to about your specific child, doesn't mean the experts don't have loads of help to give you. And just because you don't have A LOT of time to read, doesn't mean that you shouldn't read at all.  
When you do read, I certainly don't want you to waste your precious minutes on books that are ho-hum. To get on my "Books That Won't Disappoint" list, they need to have taught me things that have stayed deep inside of me and changed how I do my  Mom-ming. I'm confident they will do the same for you.


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 baby. I've re-read and referred to it many times since then.  It's bedrock level thinking for parenting.  Tedd Tripp very clearly points your heart toward…

You are Enough - Day 16

There are so many days when you might 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 to take him away and tell you that you aren't qualified.  I mean, you're barely an adult, have only had a little practice playing house before a baby appeared, shattering all your certainties.  You have shining moments and pray God will let those be the memories cemented into your kids' brains.  But you feel sure those moments are overshadowed by your uncertainty and missteps.

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 …

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 rearview 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.
The kids always knew what the declaration of A Pajama Day meant - it was a day to celebrate being home.  

T…

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 baby, it'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 with him about how great our cur…