Archives for March 2012

Re-Post: How to Go from Reverent to Irreverent Without Even Really Trying

My daughter woke me up before 5:00 this morning. Rather than go back to sleep I decided to get up and do some writing. I will probably regret this decision around 2:00 today but for now I plan to get slightly lost in my characters. Here’s an old post for a bit of fun. This moment still makes me laugh.  This was originally posted in November of 2010. Happy Monday!


If ever you ask my seven year old to pray before a meal, I suggest you make sure you’re not starving. Because Sloan? He brings it when he prays. All I need is a tent and a white hanky and Glory, Hallelujah we’ve got a revival.

Landon and Tia, try as they might, have a very difficult time making it through one of Sloan’s prayers without sneaking a bite or four. Sloan has been known to pray up to five minutes or more. He thanks God for everything from his toys to the military. He prays for poor people and for everyone he can think of by name. He prays for his own attitude and, on any given day, could likely be heard praying that his sister’s attitude would change too.

Last night’s dinnertime prayer went something like this:

Dear Lord. You are the Creator. You created. Everything. God. You are our Lord. Thanks for being our Lord. And for being our Savior. Thank you for, um, the veterens (which he pronounces vechrins). Thank you that they protect us and keep us safe. Thank you for Mr. Nevil that he fought to protect our country. We are very glad for them. Thank you for the Army vechrins and the Navy and…um…the Air Force. And all of the people that serve. It’s just awesome that they do that for us. Give them glory, Lord.

We thank you for Jonri (our Compassion child), God. He is poor. But he’s not poor anymore because we can help him to not be poor. And thank you that he will get Christmas presents. We pray for all the poor people, God. We pray that they will have food. And toys.

Lord you are very great. God. Thank you for our family (lists everyone from grandparents to aunts and uncles and cousins). Thank you for all my friends (lists as many as he can think of by name). And, God. I pray that I would have a good attitude. Thank you that I had a good day today and was nice and happy. And thank you that Tia was nice to me today and we could have a little fun.

*It’s at this point that Lee and I are trying not to crack up as Landon, with his head down and his eyes squinted open begins grabbing food and putting it in his mouth, then clasping his hands together again while he prays and chews. My grandmother would have told him he was going to choke for sneaking food during prayer.

We just thank you for everything you give us, Lord. And it is in your Holy, Powerful Name we pray…In Jesus Name.


It’s not hard to understand why Jesus commanded us to let the little children come to him. There is no holding back in the sincere prayers of a child. I am always blessed by Sloan’s prayers, no matter how lengthy they may be.

As soon as Sloan finished his prayer, we all echoed the Amen and picked up our forks to eat. But wait! Tia wanted to pray. So we bowed again. Her prayers are generally short, sweet and to the point.

Dear Wowrd. Fank you dat we have a gweat famiwy. And fank you dat you dive us dis food. And…well…amen.


Ah the reverence. I was momentarily tempted to pat myself on the back for raising such wonderful, thoughtful children.


Tia looked down at the pile of beef stew on her plate and wrinkled her nose.

Is dis poop?!”

And thus, the reverence of the moment was totally gone. Sloan cracked up and Landon looked with great disdain at his plate. It took several minutes to convince him that I did not, indeed, prepare poop for dinner.

We started off grand, though, didn’t we?

Busch Gardens Fun

Alternately titled: Proof that I’m getting old because two days later I’m still worn out.

First order of business – I am over at (in)courage today talking about being uncomfortable. I’d love for you to read about the hope that God has placed in my heart despite the unsettled place I am in. Thank you for reading and for your support as I continue to work out the struggles of moving.

And on to my second order of business. Telling you random bits about my life…

We entered into our final ten weeks of curriculum this week and let me just tell you something – home schooling is exhausting. I’m wiped. Some days are jazzy fun. The kids get it. I’m happy.

Birds flit about the house chirping in perfect harmony.

But other days it appears that someone has tied a ten pound stone about all our necks, thrown us into the deep end of a pool and yelled, “Swim!” We stay afloat, but Lawdy we have to work hard.

The only things keeping me sane motivated are frequent scheduled breaks and Cuban Espresso. I like to call it caffienated sludge. It’s somethin’ potent, but it gets the job done. I feel great once my hands stop trembling. Come to think of it, the cartoon birds only flit about when I drink my sludge. Interesting…

Last week I laid out the kid’s lessons and gave them a great, big goal – finish it all by Friday and we will head to Busch Gardens. I wish I could adequately explain the zeal with which they attacked their Math books. Little tongues stuck out of their mouths in deep concentration as they worked through each lesson mothodically. Then they moved on to spelling and writing and Russian and reading and each time someone would start to complain I’d raise an eyebrow (which, incidentally, I never knew how to raise one eyebrow until I became a mom. It’s like I inherited that magic brow when my first born hit two) and they’d snap their mouths shut and put pencil to paper.

Call it motivation, bribery, reward – We went to Busch Gardens.

I don’t have great pictures of the picture perfect reward day because who wants to carry a mammth camera around an amusement park?

Well, actually, I kind of do. I am going to bring my good camera next time because there are a lot of great photos to be taken there.

The photos I did get, though, were filled with three grinning, laughing, blond headed children who deserved a break. I am proud of my kids and the hard work they’ve put in this year. I’m not sure if we are going to home school again next year. We are still praying about it and looking at our options, seeking what’s best for them, for me and for our family. But for now, I am cherishing this sweet and challenging year I’ve had with my children. We have all grown and learned in different ways. I wouldn’t trade these months for anything.


This was his first big kid ride. I'm hoping he will be my child who likes roller coasters. No one else in my family will go on them with me.


Like my new tennis shoes? I was hoping they would provide a bit of motivation to work out. Turns out they aren't magical. They're Disappointing.


"Mom, I'm pettin' a Wallaby!" That might be my favorite quote of the day. Tia was enamored with these creatures.

Happy weekending everyone! May your days be filled with sun, laughter and maybe even a Wallaby or two!

I hear you…with Grace?

A certain former TV hearthrob made some comments last week that have ignited a fire storm of criticism. I’m not going to mention who it was (because most of you probably know – and I’ll bet more than half of you had a crush on him at some point) or what he said (because that’s not what this post is ultimately about), but I will say it’s been equal parts amusing and sad for me to watch the reaction play out online.

On and on the dialogue runs, everyone shout-typing their view at each other SOMETIMES WITH CAPS because as we all know, caps are a super effective tool for getting a point across online.

And all I can think as I read posts and listen to radio soundbites of the interview is, “I wish we could all listen to one another with Grace.”

We’ve talked a lot about Grace over here the last few months. I’m learning what Grace is all over again – not the lofty concept that floats over you in church like an invisible shield of protection, but real, true Grace. The Grace that was given to us when Christ laid Himself bare on a tree. The Grace that is given to me every moment of every day by people around me. The Grace that we all claim to long for but are so slow to pass on.

I’ve been working hard on speaking Grace in the last few months. It doesn’t always come naturally to me. But watching the reaction to this actor’s comment has revealed another area in me that needs tending – listening with Grace.

If we can speak Grace but not listen with it, our words mean nothing. We can spew pithy claims about love and acceptance, but if we refuse to listen and hear why someone else believes what they do then what good are our words? They mean nothing. Grace cannot simply be spoken – it must also be displayed.

And I don’t mean this to only apply to evangelical Christians and conservatives. We all need to work on listening more gracefully. We toss around the word “tolerance” like a mantra and demand it from one another with zeal, but the fact of the matter is I don’t want to tolerate you…and I don’t want you to tolerate me. That sounds so…sterile.

I want to love you and I want you to love me. Even if we disagree.

I say this with full understanding that it’s easier to listen gracefully when someone is speaking gracefully. But even if someone is spouting off a load of nonsense (and there are plenty of those folks in the media), what if we took a few seconds to weed through our anger and try and make sense of what they’re saying from their world view and not our own?

What if we changed our filters?

Instead of screaming about our First Amendment right to speak our minds, what if we calmly asked others to explain what’s on their minds? It may not change what we believe and it probably won’t change what they believe but could we, perhaps, find a bit of common ground on which to stand together?

Idealistic? Perhaps. But not unworthy of a bit of effort…

If you want an example, read Shaun’s last post in his Cross-Shaped series about his discussions with the students at Eastern Mennonite University (perhaps one of the best series of posts I’ve ever read on the internet). The post drips with Grace not because Shaun got his message across and sparked a Southern tent revival amongst the students but rather because he listened to them. He didn’t agree with them on everything and they didn’t agree with him on everything, but in the end there was common ground on which they could together stand.

And they all grew a little.

There are a lot of hot button issues to navigate and opinions to share, especially leading into this fall. But…can we listen to each other in the process? Gracefully listen with not just a willingness to tolerate, but perhaps a desire to grow, understand, love and, if the situation warrants it, maybe even change?

(For a great and humerous post on why all us 30-somethings love talking about Grace, visit Jessica’s site. Love it.)

Image Credit

My first love

My first car looked like this, only dented and rusty.

I learned to drive on a minivan. A maroon Nissan Quest to be exact. My mom pumped the invisible pedal in the driver’s seat as I quickly and um…haphazardly? navigated the streets of St. Louis. I was admittedly not a natural behind the wheel. I lacked spacial awareness. I can remember ducking more than once when I was absolutely positive the car on the other side of the road was headed straight for me. Turns out I was the one riding the center line a bit…

The weekend after I got my license I hit a parked car.


One particular afternoon, as I drove that sexy beast of a minivan alone (she had a sun roof, you know. *insert sexy growl here*) I zipped down the back stretch of Strecker Rd., the radio blasting the wicked awesome tunes of Green Day and The Dave Matthews Band, and I noticed a sign on the right side of the road coming up dangerously close. I leaned forward over the wheel, staring intently at the sign, wondering why on Earth it was set so close to the road when…


I nailed the sign, the sexy beast rocked, and I panicked. I screeched into the parking lot of a nearby school and jumped out of the car to survey the damage. Nothing. I’d hit the sign with my rear view mirror. I popped the mirror back into place and headed home, determined to stay a little further away from the shoulder.

When I pulled into the garage, I was still shaking. I came in too fast and hit the garbage cans, crushing them.

Maybe I wasn’t quite ready for a license? I definitely wasn’t ready to navigate the sexy beast around town, that’s for sure.

Incidentally, I’m pretty sure my exact words after I hit the garbage can were, “I hate this stupid van. I’m never going to drive one of these again. I’m gonna be the mom with the sporty car when I have kids.”

Mmmmm….What would my sixteen year old self think if she saw me now? Driving a Nissan Quest. Midnight black, of course, because black is HAWT.

But I digress.

Shortly after the run-in with the inanimate objects, my dad came home with a car just for me. It was a rusty, dumpy Honda CRX. A mercifully smaller car which ultimately became my first love. I named her Stella.

Every morning I jumped into Stella and revved her up, listening to her whine and moan against the frigid St. Louis winter air. The heater never really worked properly and the car trembled something terrible if you hit 55 miles per hour, but boy did she have character.

I loved Stella for a lot of different reasons. First and foremost, she wasn’t a minivan. Ahem. Stella was just kind of quirky and fun. I felt like I made a statement when I drove to school. The statement was here I am. I have a car. It’s a piece of S*%$ but it’s mine and look at all the flecks of rust on her smooth white exterior.

I dunno. I just loved that car.

Until someone ran a red light my junior year as I turned left and totaled sweet Stella leaving me with whip lash and supreme sadness over the loss of My Precious. From there I had other cars, all of which had their own endearing qualities, but none quite as charming as Stella, my rusty, dumpy CRX.

My current (smokin’ hot) minivan is running a close second, though, what with all her scratches, stains and quirks. She’s paid for, is still chugging along and only has a few Tats at his point (i.e. rust marks) but will likely develop more “character” as time goes on. Gone are the days when I jam out to Green Day, Dave Matthews or, really, anyone grown up. My car rocks to the beat of KidzBop, which makes her even more endearing in an odd and sad little way.

And I’ve yet to hit a road sign OR a parked car in her.

Go. Me.

What about you? What was your first car like? Did you name it? And more importantly, are you today driving the car you thought you’d be driving when you were sixteen?

Image Credit

The wind howls and my dog’s possessed

In the dark of night we listened to the wind howl above and around us. Our first Florida spring brings forceful winds that zip up and over our house, wrapping us in a cocoon of noise. The bushes rattle against the windows. The front door shifts forward and back with each gust. The high pitched whine of a poorly sealed window frame gives an eery voice to the darkened house.

And inside, as we hear the rain begin to pound sideways, sleep is elusive. Tia comes into our room around 3:00, scared and shaking. “My woom is making sounds,” she cries and she burrows deep beneath the covers next to me, her hot hand flung over my chest.

And then I feel it. The hot stare. Isn’t it amazing how we always know we are being watched? I open my eyes slowly, unsure of what I will see, and I gasp and jump. The dog sits over me, her dark eyes big and wide and inches from my face. Like Pet Cemetary.


I karate chop the air, scare the dog and jostle my finally-nearing-sleep daughter. And that was the clincher for me. Sleep would evade me for the rest of the night Saturday night. The winds did not stop howling and I couldn’t rest. The noise was too much and noise in the dark gives way to fears…most of them irrational.

What if the roof rips off?

What if a tree comes flying through a window?

What if the dog is possessed?

When day finally broke and we dragged our weary bodies from the bed, we looked out the window to find the wind had not stopped. But somehow it seemed less threatening. In fact, it was kind of beautiful the way the air seemed to move in the early morning sunlight.

Strange what a little light can do, huh?

This move has been like a massive wind storm. We are trapped inside gale force winds and sometimes it’s dark and scary. There isn’t the calm predictability of the known to lean back on, but each gust of wind brings a new change and you find yourself prone to huddling in the dark, waiting for it to end.

And you wait for the moment when the light will shine. A conversation with a friend. A bit of encouraging news. Anything to move the dark away and bring forth some sense of stability. Because even if the wind still blows in the light, at least you can see the effects the change are bringing about.

We are still caught up in the doubt and struggles that accompany a move. This past week was a rough week. For the first time I allowed myself to feel sadness. I let myself cry and miss, and it felt like sitting in a wind storm in the dark. Without warning, I found myself lost in doubt and emotion.

Why are we here?

Why can’t we find a church?

Why is home schooling the kids so hard for me?

Why do I doubt everything around me?

Why is the dog staring at me in the dark?


These are all questions I have not allowed myself to ask since we moved. I simply wouldn’t give myself over to that emotion. I couldn’t because I knew if I did, the flood gates would open. So I held them at bay and pushed everything away.

But this week, I felt a bit attacked. The Enemy was waiting for a brief moment of weakness when I let my guard down and he could sweep in with these winds of doubt and sadness. He waited for me to give in to the dark.

And I kind of think he momentarily possessed my dog because she has never stood over me all creepy-like before. Demon dog. *shudder*

Not only did I get caught up in the swirl of emotion about our move, though, but I also rode the winds in a wave of doubt over…well – just about everything. Parenting, wife-ing (I can verb wife, right?), writing…everything felt too big for me and the wind swirled.


I hate doubt. I hate being attacked. I hate falling to this place where I’m tossed around in the dark.

But I love that every time that happens and I cry out for help, the Lord brings someone along to shine a little light. Friends to speak wisdom and encouragement. A husband to make me feel loved and appreciated. A Bible study group to let me open up and be vulnerable.

All these work together, not to make the winds stop howling, but to at least light up the world around me. Life’s not so scary in the light.

The dog’s not either.

Image Credit

Follow them Friday

Join Me At Blissdom!Do you like that totally original and inspired title I just came up with? Are you impressed?


It’s not that original?



Well how about this for originality? I’m tired. Like tired to my bones. I never quite caught up on sleep since my weekend at Blissdom and to cap it off I have been coughing like a chain smoker for six weeks now.


Which means that unless I’ve taken hearty doses of NyQuil or Codeine-laced cough syrup I haven’t been sleeping. So tonight I took drastic measures and resorted to following an old wives tale. What did I do? I cut an onion and set it out on the counter. Apparently it’s supposed to attract all the bacteria and germs in the house.

People of the world, I haven’t coughed in two hours! TWO HOURS!

I’m leaning more toward this being psychological manipulation but whatevah! Mama’s gonna sleep well tonight…and reek tomorrow.

So…back to my clever title.

I met so many wonderful, lovely people at Blissdom and gleaned a whole new list of blogs to add to my list. I thought I’d share some of them with you today. (Note-this list is not comprehesive and is in no way meant to leave anyone out. If we met and I don’t include you on this list, I sincerely apologize).

So without further ado…I bid you follow these lovely bloggers.

Rachel at A Southern Fairytale – Rachel and I only met for a brief moment but since returning she’s made me laugh out loud via Twitter. Plus, well, her photography will make you want to cry…and eat. Girl can cook. She’s super fun. You should follow her.

Julie at Eyes Full of Pretty – Julie was my sweet roomate. I met her via Twitter, which really, if you think about it, has all the potential of a really bad horror movie. But Julie was lovely and not at all scary or strange. I quite enjoyed her company.

Anne at The Modern Mrs. Darcy – First of all, I love her blog title. It makes me smile. And smiling makes me happy. Ergo, Anne makes me happy. See how that works?

Laura at In the Backyard – Pretty much the nicest and kindest person ever. And she has a book coming out soon – Spirit Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year. Awesome much?

Megan at Sorta Crunchy – Megan has the most beautiful smile and was such a sweet and gentle encourager. And she just so happens to be Laura’s co-author on the upcoming book.

Julie from Mabel’s Labels – Hilarious. Seriously, Julie is a party. And she has six kids, which makes her extra cool. She made certain I got my photo taken with Joe Jonas. So…I did, with her of course.

Tsh from Simple Mom – I’ve read Simple Mom off an on for over a year now so it was fun to meet Tsh in real life. Her voice was exactly as I imagined it would be. Sweet with the hint of a smile behind every word. I also got to attend the session she led, which was one of my favorites. Plus, really…how can you not like someone who doesn’t possess a vowel?

Keely Scott – I’ve been drooling over Keely’s photos online for several years now. It was so fun to sit with her a bit at Blissdom and get to know her. She is funny. Not just funny ha-ha, either. Like funny-guffaw. I can’t wait to travel with her in a couple of months.

Jeff Goins from Goins Writer I told you about him earlier. He was so inpiring and natural and funny. I really enjoyed his session and talking with him afterward.

Laura from Hollywood Housewife – Her business card looks like a cassette tape. She’s cool. End of story.

Really, this list could probably go on and on, but those were the meetings that stood out in my mind. I look forward to getting to know these women (and man) more and more through the lovely art of blog stalking. I’m good at it. I’m like the phantom blog reader.

It’s like I’m not even here…

Go forth with thy weekend. Read blogs and be merry!

I’m a dork…