Archives for May 2011

Third Born


What is it about third borns that make them so…third bornish?

A free spirit, good for a laugh, the clown.


What is it about third borns that make them so irresistable?

So yummy,  so kissable and sweet?

Full of spunk and maybe just a smattering more cute than the ones who proceeded them?


I read once that a mother always cherishes her last baby just a little more.

I don’t know if this child is our last baby.  If you ask Lee and I both, you’ll get different answers.

I didn’t intend for Landon to be the last and I not so secretly hope he’s not.

But I have cherished the moments with him as if they were the last.


It’s not that I love him more, because I don’t. 

I just love him differently. 

Because he might be my last.

I love this kid differently, too.

Lee-Kelli 10 (2)

Because he’s my firstborn.

The one who first made me a Mom.

I love this one differently, too.


Because she’s my girl.  The splash of pink in a world of blue.

The sugar and spice to their frogs and snails.

I love them all the same.  But different.


But there is something about the third born…

The one who might be the last (but might not)…

It’s hard to put my finger on what it is that makes third borns so much fun.





That’s what it is about third borns.

They’re just fun.

On the wings of love


Before we get started, I’d like to give you a moment to let the cheesy ’80’s ballad wash over you.  Go on, sing it out.  You know you want to…

Feel better?’


There is no great way to transition from obscure ’80’s music to prayer, but I’m gonna give it a try.  Consider yourselves transitioned.

Once upon a time I was an early riser.  While the rest of my generation slept until noon, I could often be found at sunrise jogging through the streets of my neighborhood.  This was pre-baby when I still enjoyed jogging and my body moved in a more coordinated rhythm to make it possible, of course.

In college, I spent many an early morning watching the sunrise as I crammed knowledge into my over-functioning brain.  In early motherhood, when it was me and one tiny baby, I watched the sunrise as I whispered prayers into his ear.  I prayed he would grow into a man of character, a man of grace, a man of stature and wisdom and knowledge.  I prayed that he would be strong and courageous, filled with love and a desire to help those in need.

But something happened to me in the seven years since I three times became mom.  I lost my sense of wonder at the morning.  My bed grew warmer and more comfortable.  My children pitter pattered their way through the house at such an hour that in order to beat them up I really needed to rise while it was still night, just so I could welcome the morning.

With this unfortunate phenomena, I also lost my ability to passionately cry out on their behalf.  My prayers for them became kernels of popcorn, popped up here and there throughout the day and rarely scratched the surface of my true desires for them.

“Help him understand love.”  “Give her the courage to fail.”  “Show him who You are.”


A series of issues has brought me to a place of longing once again.  Longing for the morning.  The smell of life rising.  The glint of dew on green grass and the painted reds, oranges and yellows stretched across the sky.  Of darkness fading into morning light.  Of fatigue mixed together with anticipation, staving off the sleep that still lingers.   Longing stillness enough to hear.

To hear the wind blow.  To hear the birds sing.  To hear the Voice, still and small, waiting on the wings of love for my heart’s cry.

(How’s that for blending the ’80’s with prayer, eh?)

And my prayers are rising once again.  A new song, a new desire, a new longing.  I lay them down and wait.  Sometimes I fall asleep in the pool of desire and heartache that I’ve only just surrendered.  Sometimes I wait and listen.

For Sloan I pray Hebrews 10:19-24.  May he be free from the guilt that so often weighs him down and pulls him back, his tender heart torn over sin, yet wrestling with the flesh.  I pray Galations 5:22-23 and 1 Peter 1:5-6: self-control to make the right choices.  I pray for wisdom in mothering such a strong willed, lion hearted child.  I offer praise for being chosen for a clearly difficult task.

For Katya I pray 2 Timothy 2:10, that her heart would be turned toward the Savior and she would desire to know Him.  I pray Colossians 3:12, that she would be free from the apathy that her spirit seems bent toward and would be filled with compassion.  I pray 1 Thesselonians 5:15, that she would find more joy in kindness than she does in torturing her brothers.

I pray that I would have the belief that that last prayer could possibly someday be answered…

For Landon I also pray 2 Timothy 2:10.  I pray that even at a young age, he will know and understand how high and deep and wide and vast is the Father’s Love for him.  I pray Ephesians 6:1.  I pray that he will delight in obedience and that the mischief that brings that twinkle to his eye would be harnessed, but not snuffed out completely.  Because the mischief makes him oh so fun.

I pray verses over my husband that are sacred and are between me and God.

I don’t always give in to the call of the morning.  Though I desperately love it, sometimes the call of my bed is more tempting, more comfortable, easier and warmer.  But as spring is bringing change and decision, I find myself with a bit more urgency to reaquaint with the earliest hours of the day.  And to pour over my children in the quiet that comes so rarely.  I don’t whisper it in their ears anymore, as I am no longer cradling them in the rocking chair.  But I pray that as I release my pleas, they take off on the wings of love and settle within the hearts and spirits of the little ones I love so dearly.

When and how do you pray for your children?


As I descended into Montreal, I craned my neck to get a view of the land through the low hanging clouds.  Streams of water danced across the window and visibility was low.  When we were finally in sight of the city my first thought was, “Oh, it looks like every other city in the world.”

But it wasn’t.

Montreal was wonderful.  From the air, it does look like every other city in the world.  It’s industrial and the drive from the airport to downtown could hardly be described as beautiful.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m met at the exit by a man holding a sign with my name on it.  My limo service driver.  At once I break out in a small grin.  I don’t often get met by cheuffer’s at the airport and secretly I hope I get to have this experience again someday.  I also secretly hope that I don’t ever get so used to this occurance that it loses it’s magic.

After meeting up with the other woman who has been flown in for this event, the lovely Stacy from Mom Central, we make our way to our downtown hotel.  When we arrive downtown, I notice that it looks quite similar to St. Louis in many ways.  The buildings are close, every other street is a one way (created to torture directionless yahoo’s like me, of course) and it feels a bit grey.

But there is more to the city.  I want to understand what it is.  It suddenly dawns on me that I don’t know a single thing about Canada’s history.  Why do they speak French in Quebec?  How did Montreal get established?  What mysteries lie behind the Notre Dame church that stands valiantly around the corner?  I wasn’t prepared for how foreign it would feel in Montreal.  For someone who adores international travel, this was icing on the cake. 

My two days in Montreal were a whirlwind.  I quickly realized that I should have spent less time mastering my “Eh” and more time learning some French.  Thankfully, mercifully, most people spoke English as well and I was able to meander my way through the crowd with the ignorance of an American who can’t be expected to know another man’s tongue.

Note to self: learn a few functional phrases in the native language of any place you ever visit.

We kicked the weekend off with a beautiful dinner at Le Latini, which was every bit as wonderful as the name makes it out to be.  Our waiters were both bald, with prominent eyebrows, laugh lines around their eyes and broad smiles.  Their accents were thick and sometimes difficult to understand, but they treated our group of five well.

It ended up feeling like a girls weekend away.  I so enjoyed the women I was with that I wished our time in Montreal could be a little longer.  They were funny, sweet, thoughtful and…did I mention funny?

The next morning, after a glorious breakfast where we met up with the final two bloggers of our crew, we headed to the set of Walmart/P&G’s newest installment of the Family friendly Family Movie Night movies.  Right now the working title of this film is “Passport,” but that is likely to change.

We are not allowed to bring cameras to the set, but are instead trailed by one of the cameramen, Francois, and the set photographer, Phillip.  Have I mentioned yet that Canadian men are handsome?  No?  Not sure how I overlooked that important point… Not only are their names romantic, but so is their language.  And yes, the men of Montreal are handsome.  And now we all know – the hot men of the world are hiding in Quebec.  That piece of information is brought to you free of charge.

We spoke first with Loren Dean, one of the principle characters.  I think he was a little nervous to speak with us blogger types.  He probably heard that we have fangs.

Actually, he was quite pleasant and spent about ten minutes chatting with us.  I remember him from his role in Apollo 13 as one of the flight controllers but from a bit of research it appears he has been in quite a few productions of greater notoriety.

We watch them film a chase scene and meet the child actors on the set, both of whom were terminally cute and extremely personable.  Then we are ushered inside the house they are using to film much of the movie.  Or maybe I should say mansion.  The house is spectacular. 

We watch a couple more scenes being filmed, then set up to interview the Executive Producer.  After that we each had the opportunity to interview Robin Lively who was lovely.  And who knows Zac Efron as her husband played the dad in the High School Musical franchise.  I tried to act cool upon hearing this information.  I may or may not have pulled that off.  I really enjoyed speaking with Robin.  She has three children, almost the same age as mine, a girl sandwiched between two boys.  But she doesn’t drive a minivan, something that I urged her to remedy quickly.  She agreed to consider it.  If I may have somehow managed to pull another mother out of the confines of “coolness” and into the freedom of the minivan, I will consider my time there well spent. 


We also had the opportunity to interview the amazing Christine Baransky who was absolutely delightful to talk to.  She was so nice and so personable and friendly.

And she told me I should get massages.  BOOM! Instant friendship.

This post is getting far too long so I’ll spare you too many more details.  In a couple of weeks I should receive the photos and video for my post regarding the movie.  I’ll share more then.  For now, though, I can honestly say that I had the best time on this trip.  Turns out I’m kind of a camera whore.  I loved when they said “Action.”

Who knew?

I will also say that Canadians are extremely friendly.  Even the people working in the airport!  Shocker, right?!  They smiled, they asked questions, they laughed.  They were all so pleasant.  And cute.  I’ve mentioned that the men were good looking, right?  Oh I have?  Oh, sorry.  My bad…

Au Revoir my bloggy friends.  I wonder how you say that in French?

Oh Canada

I’m working on my northern accent today.  I’m saying “Eh?” alot and I throw in “That’s what I’m talking aboot,” every now and then.


Because I’m going to Montreal tomorrow!

The lovely Janice of 5 Minutes for Mom sent me an email last week that said something to the effect of, “Hey, do you have a passport?  Would you like to go to Montreal next week to visit the set of a new family friendly movie that’s being filmed there?”

To which I promptly responded something to the effect of, H#*% yeah!

No I didn’t.  I don’t swear…hardly ever.  I promise I don’t!  I might’ve thought it, though…

So yes, I’m hopping on a plane tomorrow morning and flying to Montreal.  I won’t be there any time at all, honestly.  I probably won’t even get to see the city, but whatever.  It is an adventure and I love a good adventure, dontcha know.

I also adore my husband who takes these things in stride and gives me his full support.  I could not do this sort of thing without his awesome attitude.  I seriously have the greatest man on planet Earth.  Plus, well…he’s pretty dang good looking, too.  (He’s been working out – yowza)  And he makes me laugh.  And he’s all mine!  You can be jealous.  S’okay.

So I’m cleaning today and packing and doing laundry and making out lists and writing thank you notes to the lovely people who are helping out with the kiddos while I’m gone.  It’s amazing how much work has to be done when you are leaving for three days.

The next time I talk to you I’ll be in blustery Montreal!  Now that’s what I’m talking aboot, eh?

I should fit right in…

May Day

On Saturday, Lee and I took the kids to a 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union.

Try saying that five times fast.

For an hour and a half, we heard stories from local veterans about their experiences during World War II.  Most of them were Jewish and experienced the effects of the Nazi hatred as well as the Soviet hatred.  It was emotional and poignant and beautiful and sad.

The kids didn’t appreciate it at all.

“When can we go,” they whined over and over.  And like any good Mom, I shushed them and shot them daggar eyes, melting them from the inside out.

At then end of each testimony, each speaker (most of whose stories were read by younger family members while they stood up front), made very similar statements.  They lauded freedom.  Freedom to practice religion, freedom from oppression, freedom to survive, freedom to love.  Those men and women are deeply loyal to the lands of their birth.  But they are also deeply loyal to their adopted land.

Attending this ceremony cemented my desire to bring the history of the former Soviet Union alive.  It reignited my passion for the people of Ukraine, in particular, as several of the speakers were from Ukraine, from towns and cities I have visited.

We Americans have no idea the depth of suffering other parts of the world have experienced.  That’s not to say we can’t sympathize, of course.  I feel deep pain for the suffering around the world.  But I don’t truly understand it because I haven’t lived it.  My pain at the suffering we endured on 9/11 is even different from my fellow countrymen who were directly affected by the loss of loved ones.  But think of this perspective:

It’s estimated that Ukraine lost up to 10 million people during World War II.  That’s half of the population of the entire Soviet Union and twenty percent of the entire world’s death total.

I know my children are young and I don’t expect them to appreciate or even understand why I continue to expose them and push them toward the language and history of that part of the world, but I hope to the depth of my soul that someday, as they grow in maturity and understanding, they will develop not only a love for Ukraine and the russian language, but also for all the different cultures of this world.

I also hope that they will grow with the understanding that they have been privileged to be born in the most amazing country in the world.  It is a flawed nation, to be sure.  But America is a land to be loved, a loved to be applauded and a land that deserves our deepest appreciation.

That’s the lesson I’m hoping to teach my children as they grow.  One of them, anyway.

Why I don’t feel bad for Bin Laden: Post Edit

*After having some time to read and reflect, I’ve changed the wording of one sentence.  I don’t think Osama Bin Laden’s death is cause for celebration.  I thought the dancing and singing in the streets last night was a little weird.  We didn’t win the war.  Killing Bin Laden is a symbol, a final act of justice for what began so many years ago.  But celebration?  No.  I don’t think we have cause to celebrate.  I don’t want my faith to be one of revenge.  I’m a little more subdued today in my feelings about this turn of events.  No less glad that he is dead, mind you.  But a little more measured…

I’m not sure if you heard.  Osama Bin Laden is dead.  I KNOW?! Crazy, right.  Too bad news spreads so slowly these days.  The whole world knew this almost a full hour before the President of the United States took the podium.

Thank God for Twitter, eh?

Like every other American, I pumped my fist in the air upon hearing the news.  I did it while laughing at Geraldo Rivera who was annoucning it whilst grinning like the Cheshire Cat and laughing like Pee Wee Herman.  “We got the SOB,” he said…twice.  And I smiled, shook my head, and breathed a sigh of relief.

I don’t think this necessarily means anything for the war on terror.  Osama Bin Laden has been reported ill for many years now.  He was but a figurative face of Al Qaida, but he has many, many minions.  And they aren’t the cute little yellow guys from Pixar.


No.  Bin Laden’s minions are much more sinister and their mission is not to steal the moon, but to kill and destroy.  So I don’t think his death means anything for the war we are fighting, and likely will be fighting for a long, long time.

But his death is cause for celebration a sigh of relief.  It’s closure.  For those of us who huddled around our TV sets ten years ago and watched the towers holding our countrymen fall to the ground, the idea that justice has prevailed against the man responsible is like a balm to an open wound.  And for the men and women whose loved ones never came home…this is the final piece of the puzzle.

I’m not sorry for Osama Bin Laden.  In fact, I kind of hope he experienced pain.  I hope he was alone and sad.  I hope he wasn’t sleeping peacefully, unaware of what was about to hit.  No.  I hope he suffered great fear, just as the men and women who were stuck at the top of the towers sat in fear, knowing they wouldn’t survive.  I think about the men and women who made the choice to leap to their deaths rather than burn inside the buildings and I hope that Osama Bin Laden’s final moments were filled with equal amounts of terror and fear.

Is this wrong?  Maybe.  I’ll pray through it.  But right now, at this very moment.  I don’t feel bad about it.

The evening of 911, I was living in Frisco, Texas.  My husband of one year was supposed to fly home from a business trip in Atlanta that day.  Instead, he was waiting on a rental car to open up.  I went to our church, Chuck Swindoll’s Stonbriar Community Church, and cried with everyone else.  I was angry.  I was scared.  I was sad.  And I felt hatred for the first time in my life.  I’ve never felt hatred before or since.

As Chuck Swindoll stood up to address his congregation, he shared in our tears.  It was comforting to know that he, too, needed to cry.  He needed us like we needed him.  And then he spoke.  I don’t remember much about what he said, except for this one line:

“There is not a hell hot enough for the monsters that committed these acts today.”

I was surprised, of course.  Those are bold words.  But I was also relieved, because it was what I was thinking.  I spent much time in the months after that night thinking and praying about those emotions.  Swindoll preached on the idea of righteous anger and I spoke with many wise leaders within our church and I came to a place of peace in feeling a truly righteous anger.

We should feel righteous anger toward evil.  Does this mean I wish hell on men?  No.  But, it does mean that I wish for justice.  I’m glad that God is the Judge and not me, because if it were left to me, justice would most assuredly not be done.

I believe and trust in God’s just power to judge a man’s heart and I believe that God has the power to change an evil man’s heart toward Himself.

But I don’t always believe that He will.  There is example after example of God hardening the hearts of men in the Bible.  Pharoah is the first and foremost that comes to mind.  And with righteous anger, God deals with the men who have hardened their hearts.  I feel no pity or sympathy for evil men like Osama Bin Laden, Sadam Hussein or any other terrorist leader who meets his fate.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see that area of the world come to know and understand the power of the Living God.

But I want justice to be served and Osama Bin Laden met justice on Earth.  His eternal judgment is not for me to decide.  I know what I want to happen to him, but again, I’m thankful I’m not the one who makes that charge.

God Bless our country, and protect our troops.  This war is not over, but tonight we can rejoice in victory.  And with that, I now officially tuck away my soap box.

You’re welcome…