LOUD

 

When he was little we called him Levi the Loud. He talked, laughed, played, ate, and cried so LOUDLY! As the third little boy to join our family in 2 1/2 years, he was the busiest, most active, in to everything little guy we’d had. He stretched us!


Being only 14 months apart, he and Elijah competed at almost everything for years, having some deep need to prove who was the biggest, fastest, smartest, most fearless….it was exhausting….and loud.

As he grew in to a teenager, sporting the Bieber hairstyle, working tirelessly to make those curly locks straight, wearing skinny jeans and just the right tennis shoes.  Times got HARD! Often, he wouldn’t listen to reason or wisdom, wouldn’t do his homework, wouldn’t tell the truth, sometimes chose to just “follow his heart” or “live in the moment” instead of doing what he knew was right.

These were the years we started using the phrase, “You can either let wisdom be your teacher or consequence.” You will learn from both but one teaches so much more gently. 

These were the years we learned to not be shocked at what our kids may tell us they thought or did, but to listen when they came to us and love them anyway, not condone, but LOVE.   (When you have four teenagers at one time, you learn so much that you THOUGHT you already knew.) We made soooo many mistakes!  

Another valuable lesson learned during those years was that other people’s kids were a work in progress too and that if we didn’t extend grace, we shouldn’t expect grace for ourselves or my kids, and we sure did need it!!!


No matter how many times we disciplined, how many privileges we took away, Levi was struggling and determined to go his own way. He chose consequence over wisdom and it was HARD and EXHAUSTING! These were challenging times and we were desperate! I can remember so many times asking the Lord to just capture His heart.
Let me add that at this point, I often blamed myself for every failure, every shortcoming, every missed assignment, every character flaw,  not just for this child but X6! I was sure that if only I’d have (insert any number of things)…
Things would’ve turned out differently, and surely they’d have been better.


When the teachers and admistrators called us to the meeting and said, “Levi is  such a great kid. He’s a joy to have in class, he’s so encouraging to other students. He is such a leader, but he’s on the borderline academically and ultimately the decision is yours as to whether or not he passes to the ninth grade.”  We were given the option of  letting him slide in to high school.  We had seen this coming for months though. We, and his teachers had warned, and directed, and redirected.  We told him for several months that he still  had time to turn this ship around, but that he was the only one who could do it and we couldn’t and wouldn’t fix it for him.

That day, we made one of the hardest parenting decisions we’d been faced with. We wouldn’t rescue, we wouldn’t intervene, we would ALL  deal with the consequences, and he wouldn’t move on to high school.

What would he have learned if we’d have let him slide? He’d have learned that there aren’t real consequences for our actions. He’d have learned that it’s ok for parents to bail kids out when they’ve done the wrong thing. He’d have learned that image is more important than integrity, just to name a few. These weren’t lessons we wanted to teach him or our other kids….(He has gone on to have successful High School years with no further academic issues.)

I can’t put my finger on exactly what happened over the next few months. He had a few pivotal experiences and the only thing I can contribute it to is that God was gracious and He answered our prayers.  It’s as if Levi’s eyes were opened to who he really was, and he began to understand some of his purpose.  He stopped pretending, stopped looking to peers to define him.  It was if he had people at every turn speaking destiny and future in to his heart and thankfully, he began to believe it deeply. 

He began living LOUD(ly) in a very different way.  His love for drums and desire to play them made it naturally loud, but deep within, he changed so intensely.  He has such a desire to impact the lives of others so that they run toward His Savior and he gets to spend the next 10 weeks at a summer camp doing that.  We’ve watched him work hard and then sacrifice every dime in his savings to go on missions trips the past two summers, give up spring break to minister to the people in the Philippines where he was able to share many parts of his testimony that had great impact on hundreds of young people.  Heard stories of him rescuing and standing up for classmates when others were making fun and hurting another kid.

He gives extravagantly, and loves intensely.  He lives LOUD!

Edited to add:  I wrote this post almost three weeks ago and just couldn’t publish it.  It just seemed unfinished and it’s still pretty rough but this is a story that hasn’t ended.

When I asked Levi before he left what he thought would be the hardest thing about being gone for so long.  “Besides missing Grace,” he said, “not getting to play drums.”

If you’ve ever seen him play, that statement makes perfect sense to you.

When he got hurt and had to get stitches in his knee a week ago, only a week after getting to the camp he’s at in Oklahoma, he was initially told he’d have to sit out of all sports and water activities for two weeks. For a guy like Levi, not being active almost all the time is difficult….so as I was praying for him, I remember saying something along the lines of, “Lord, if he could just get his hands on a drum, just a box drum or a djembe, that would really be great.” 

He called me today for the first time since he left two weeks ago.  I had run in to the Teeter to pick up a few things and was so excited to see his name pop up on my phone. He said he didn’t have long but he just wanted to tell me about this cool thing that happened. And this is the story….

    As he was getting to know some of the other counselors (guys around his age) two of them asked him when he felt closest to God, and he told them when he was playing drums. A few days later they took him in their room and made him close his eyes and when he opened them….there was a cajon( box drum) that they had ordered and had sent there for him…..He said he was shocked and undone and it was just the coolest thing, that two people who barely knew him would do something that meant so much to him.

So here is me, on the other end of the phone, having another moment in the Teeter as I realized how faithful God is.  What a sweet, precious way for the Lord to speak to me, ” I see him, I love him, he is living loud for Me and I’m continuing to capture his heart just like you’ve prayed for all these years!

Keep LIVING LOUD(LY), LEVI!  It is what you were created for!!

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A Fuller Life

Not long after we had Elijah, we started attending Joy Church and there were very few families with little ones. The church itself was pretty young but over the next few months lots of young families started attending. I’ll never forget the first day I met Kosara Fuller. She had three children around the same ages as Landon and Elijah. I’m not sure I’d ever met someone so full of JOY. It absolutely oozed out of her that day and every day there after.

 I remember her telling me that people called her Kosa, which I mistakenly wrote as Casa for who knows how long.  It seemed fitting though, because Casa means home and anyone who ever knew Kosa felt instantly at home, like they had found a safe place. Speaking of home, hers was the coziest, most inviting. In the spring and summer there were always fresh cut flowers from their yard and if she was coming to visit you, she’d bring some with her in a repurposed salsa jar with a little ribbon around  it.  She was  just cool like that! She had such a gift of hospitality! Her home wasn’t showy but her touches everywhere made it exquisite and each detail had purpose and memories attached.  In the winter it was always warmed with the greatest roaring fires, with cups of hot tea served from mugs that told stories.  Shelves and shelves of books that they read as a family regularly, taking adventures to far away lands. 

One cool thing about the Fullers was the actual adventures they prioritized taking as a family, often inviting others to tag along. We had the privelege on several occasions to camp, ride the Virginia Creeper Trail, build sandcastles and snowmen together. 

Our older four children have very few memories from their younger years that don’t include at least one Fuller, they were our kids first friends. I will forever be grateful for the investment Randy and Kosa made in to our family and our marriage.

We homeschooled our children and went on field trips and did co ops. We celebrated so many birthdays together. Our husbands were ordained as ministers at the same time. We served and learned and prayed side by side for years and it was an honor.

She and a group of more experienced moms invited me to attend a small group with them…Oh, those ladies were so rich in wisdom, and grace, and gentleness….I wanted to soak them up like a sponge every time we were together.

Kosa poured herself out to everyone she met. She valued others so highly.  She cared for others so deeply.  She represented Jesus and loved Him so well! 

To know Kosa was to know Love. She will be so missed by so many, her absence will be excruciating, but because we’ve known Kosa our lives will be FULLER and I’m so grateful that because of Jesus, we will spend eternity together!


 

 


Rhythms in the Monotony

Four words that I can’t seem to get out of my mind right now.

I mean for months,  I’ve been trying to get my thoughts around these words and make sense of them.  I thought they were independent but the more I tried to separate them the more they merged together.

Becoming.

Rhythms.

Monotony.

Decades.

Almost 20 years in to this parenting gig, I recognize that because no two days are exactly alike it is better for me to focus more on the rhythm we are inSometimes we call them seasons, phases, stages, chapters and oftentimes we wish them away and other times, we don’t want them to ever end.

You can’t account for the syncopations that occur in the midst of the rhythm but they happen all to often:

The fall off a bicycle.

The gash in one son’s head because another son threw a brick at him, and the cleaning of the blood, and the wiping of tears, and the discipline that must follow.

The nursing and cuddles of a sick baby.

The project that hasn’t been started and is due TOMORROW!

The reading lesson that takes an hour or more instead of the 20 minutes that the book promised!

The days sometimes seemed so long, but the season was OH. SO. SHORT!

There are rhythms in the monotony.

We start our third decade of parenting this week and I’m a little confused as to how that can be possible.  As I reflect, this is what I remember..

Much of the first decade the rhythm was changing diapers, nursing babies, praying for ouchies, correcting behaviors, bedtime stories and prayers, preparing food, feeding children, cleaning up the kitchen ALL. DAY. LONG.  As that decade came to a close and the next one began I spent hours preparing lesson plans, homeschooling our big kids,  working part time jobs sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, all the while still feeding them, trying to get them to be nice to each other, preparing meal plans, lesson plans, and dreaming of dinner and a movie  or secret, adventurous getaway with my honey plans!

About half way through that decade we stopped homeschooling, so our rhythm shifted.  Earlier mornings out the door. Trusting the Lord on new levels because the children weren’t with me all day each day.  New opportunities for ministering to women. Aging parents began living with us. Late night talks with teenagers…Girlfriends, heartbreaks, kids made poor choices and great choices.  Thought provoking conversations with people I birthed causing me to truly seek the Lord; His heart, His wisdom, His grace like never before.

The rhythm was different but things were happening in the monotony.

Not monotony as in a dull, boring way but in a “same” kind of way.

(Just for fun- get this song in your head. https://youtu.be/ODjCufSt6_I)

Getting up day after day, doing the same things over and over, with the occasional syncopation throwing our rhythm completely off.  Often, we long for adventure, excitement, and thrill but our changing, our becoming, happens mostly in the monotony.  The repetitive motions, the act of serving our family, the cry to the Lord that we may do it in a way that honors Him.  The recognition that our lives will only be as fulfilling as we learn to see the grace in all.  That we learn to love what must be done, whether that is in our job, as a wife, as a mother…the rhythms in the monotony cause us to become over time, often over decades.
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Rick and Landon, each start new decades this year.  Rick turned 40 and Landon turns 20 this week.  For anyone struggling in math, this means Landon is the age Rick was when we shifted from a family of 2 to 3.  That’s caused me to reflect on the man Rick was and the man he has become.  Oh, when he was 20, he was everything I could’ve ever wanted, but at 40 he is so much more than I could’ve asked, thought or imagined.  20 years ago, all I wanted was to be a wife and mother, and I’ve been so blessed to get to live my dream. As I’ve watched that blond haired, blue eyed little boy grow in to an adult, and his siblings following him at gutwrenching speeds, it has been the hardest, scariest, most fulfilling, most painful, satisfying, frustrating thing I’ve ever done. 
The decades fly by, sweet mommas, don’t wish them away.  Don’t doubt that each day is important even if it seems monotonous. 
The Lord is building things in you and in them that are good, and necessary, and beneficial.

Sometimes we only think about decades after they have happened but as Rick and I sit on the edge of the next decade of life which will likely include an empty nest, launching children in to adulthood, weddings, and grandbabies, and possibly the loss of parents,  truthfully, there are some scary things to come, but I must trust that the underlying rhythms, the ones that anchor us, that sustained us through the first decades of seeking Him, trusting Him, and allowing Him to work in our hearts, even in the midst of the monotony will continue to carry us, that come what may we will give all that we are as we are becoming all we’ve been created to be.

 

The Turn Around-What the enemy means for our harm, God will turn around for our good.

Today, as I reflect on the 12th birthday of Aidan Titus, our youngest son, who just happened to come in to the world minutes after I turned 31, I think of the man that he is becoming.

When we started this journey with him, I was in one of the most fragile years of my life.  The year I turned 30, I was consumed with fear on so many levels.  Rick went on a two week trip to the Philippines for the second time and for several  weeks before the trip until the moment I picked him up from the airport I was convinced he would never come home…leaving me with four children under the age of 5.  Soon after he got home, I was sick, constantly.  I drove myself to the ER in the middle of the night one night.  Now, consumed with fear that I might be the one leaving him with four small children. Within a few days, I had my gall bladder removed and then developed an infection in my pancreas, which lead to several major organs not functioning, a week in intensive care and four more in the hospital. As drugged up and out of it as I was, I believe the Lord allowed me to hear a conversation between one of my doctors and Rick in which he told Rick they had done all they could do.  Within moments of hearing that, I also was reminded of a story from Genesis 50 and words from Joseph,

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. 

I felt like the Lord himself was speaking these same words to me and that I could trust Him to bring me through and that I would live!!

Fast forward three months and I was taking A LOT of medications every day, some that doctors said I would need to take for the rest of my life and a narcotic that was helping me “deal” with continual pain and everything going on.  Through an interesting turn of events, I realized I was pregnant and the fear all came back.

Afraid, that my body was too sick and frail and damaged to sustain its on life much less sustain, nourish, and grow a baby.  Afraid, that this little person growing inside of me would be permanently affected because of the drugs I had been taking for the first several weeks of his growth.  Fear, fear, every thought was wrapped in fear.

The Lord brought me comfort during the months of that pregnancy and regardless of the outcome of this child’s health, we would love him and be thankful for him, no matter what.  This child that we hadn’t planned, that had so many things working against him, who disturbed MY plan of being finished having babies by age 30 arrived just a few minutes after I turned 31 and with him came a constant reminder to our family that God is faithful.  He was healthy, he was whole, and he was exactly what and who our family needed.  Even if the circumstances would have been different and Aidan would have not been well, he would have still been exactly who he was created to be and the right fit for our family!

Being the youngest of four boys, he gets picked on, teased, and made fun of. (I’d love to say that doesn’t happen in our house, but I’d be lying.) But he is strong, steadfast, and full of faith. He is committed and loves to help others and stands up for those who get made fun of.  He is an acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch kind of guy, who knows just how and when to irritate his brothers and sisters.  He is soft and gentle and loving and my constant reminder of God’s faithfulness. I am so grateful to get to share our birthday with this young man who woke up this morning as tall as me. wpid-20150326_063049.jpgExcuse the wrinkles and no make up, I was busy making triple chocolate waffles for him before school.

These are the verses I read this morning and I couldn’t not include them in this post.  They summarize the gift that Aidan is to us and I never want to forget.

Lamentations 3:19-24

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

God will carry us through those hard seasons, those sicknesses, those fears and pains, and failures.  He is the God who turns around what the enemy means for our harm

…Aidan Titus means, “giant fire.”  The night I drove my self to the hospital in agonizing pain, there was a giant fire growing inside of me, intended for my harm, but the God of all creation replaced it with another giant fire.  One who shines brightly, one who loves deeply, and one who is becoming a man of greatness.

BE THE MOM!

I am the mom who didn’t rock babies to sleep but let them fall asleep in their own beds. I am the mom who chose to have her boys circumcised, that had epidurals several  hours in to labor, that chose to immunize my 6 healthy children even after I read the information.  I am the mom who homeschooled for 10 years and then one by one, or two by two sent my children to public school or charter school and keeps the door open so that if ever I feel like someone should come back home, they can.
I am the mom who let her kids listen to some “secular” music and play some video games even though I don’t like them at all.  I am also the mom that checks her kids texts, twitter, instagram, facebook regularly and randomly.  I am the mom who doesn’t care for sleepovers.  I am the mom who says if you haven’t already made a plan to do something after church on Sunday, don’t ask me once we get there.  Plan ahead!!  I am the mom who didn’t make my kids clean their plate and eat all their veggies first at dinners away from home, I figured if I was feeding them a pretty balanced diet the rest of the week, who really cares what they eat on special occasions.  I am the mom who just wouldn’t allow certain words to be used but have realized that I just have to loosen up sometimes.  I am the mom that never told my kids there was a Santa Claus or a tooth fairy but always reminded them that it wasn’t their place to tell their friends that information.  I am the mom who really doesn’t try to make things look fair to my kids. I am the mom who didn’t give treat bags to other kids at my kids birthday parties.  I am the mom that parented my last children differently than my first ones.

I am the mom who might raise my voice every once in a while, but not nearly as often as I used to.

I am the mom who wonders if I’ve done enough, loved my kids well enough, prayed enough.

I am the mom who will make room for a sick or sad child on my side of the bed, even if my youngest is 9.  I am the mom who loves to be in the kitchen with my kids.  I am the mom who freaks out a little bit when my kitchen is left a mess.  I am the mom that has at some point(ok, several points) locked herself in the bathroom so that I didn’t hurt someone.

. I am the mom who knows I need to laugh more and be a little more spontaneous.  I am the mom who doesn’t wash my kids laundry, make their beds, or fix their lunches before school.  I am the mom who won’t buy alarm clocks because I still love to wake them up every morning.

I am the mom who wants my kids to learn from my mistakes but knows that sometimes consequence teaches a lesson better than wisdom. I am the mom who holds  and cries with broken hearted teenagers.

I am the mom who is still trying to figure out this parenting thing after almost 20 years, messing up and asking forgiveness, praying that they will forgive and forget the things I shouldn’t have said and hope they live by and cling to the things I did that pointed them to their Savior.

I am the mom who is trusting the Lord to cover my mistakes, to do the work in my children’s hearts that I can never accomplish. I am the mom that prays that He will captivate them and assure them that they are forever loved.

I am the mom I am. You are the mom you are and even if we differ in every decision we make, THAT IS OK.  We can still be making right decisions for our families.  Don’t try to be the mom that someone else was created to be.

Let’s BE the moms that OUR kids need.  Not the neighbors kids, not your sisters kids, not your pastors kids.  The only way we know how to be that mom is to seek the Lord, trust Him and surrender our ways to His.  Help us Jesus, Be the MOM!

How She Lived

II’s on all of our minds right now, everyone who blogs has written about it in the past few days….It has taken those close to us;  the quiet, the confused, the hysterical, the sad.

Who do we know that carries sadness and hopelessness with them?  We don’t have to look far, but these things are for sure…It doesn’t look the same in everyone and it will always leave your loved ones crushed.

Just this week one of my children was the confidant of a classmate that was considering suicide.  Hours before we read the news of Robin Williams death, that child came to me asking if we should call 911. ” What can we do?  How do we help him? What if he does it and we could have helped?”  She had spent quite a while texting him things like, “You are important.  You were created for a purpose.  You are not a failure.   People do care about you.  This is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  He stopped responding to texts, he wasn’t picking up the phone.  We went to the internet to figure out where the child lived.  We had to do something…anything!  When she texted that we were going to call the police, he did respond and she let him know that if he didn’t go to his parents that night, then she would go to the resource officer at school the following day because he needed help beyond what she could offer.  Thankfully he did go to his parents that night and they are going to help him and find a professional that can help him also but unfortunately it doesn’t always end that way. 

Sometimes, the hopelessness doesn’t cry out.  It doesn’t send a text, it doesn’t pick up a phone, and it doesn’t confide in anyone. It leaves us all feeling helpless, confused, and ripped apart on the inside, often wondering how we could have been so oblivious.

Even after 27 years of living and grieving and wondering, my mom’s death by suicide still hurts.  It will never make sense.   I don’t know what goes on in other people’s heads, I’ve never felt pain or despair so deeply that I didn’t want to live but obviously many people do and we can’t deny their pain.

The hardest struggle I’ve had in my adult life with dealing with my momma’s death has been when and how to explain it to my children but I started laying a foundation early.  Long before they asked the question, “How did she die,” I had been filling their hearts with how she lived.  For some reason eight or nine seemed to be the time they were really ready for a complete answer to the question so I would explain through tears and hurt that to my knowledge the way she died was the only selfish choice I’d ever known her to make but that didn’t come until after I reminded them how she lived…

How she taught me to cook and make sweet tea, and I loved being in the kitchen with her…

How she would always drop things in the kitchen and that’s probably why I’m so clumsy.

How she would sing to me as I laid my head on her lap when I was  little and we were driving home from Charlotte to Mineral Springs late at night.

The way she loved for me to brush her hair and play with it on Thursday nights because she went to the beauty shop every Friday morning.

How we didn’t have that typical teenage girl/mom relationship.  We really did get along pretty well!

How she was so supportive, and even one time in middle school when I was too sick to cheer at a game, she went to the game to support our team!

 How she and I went to church together every Sunday and often picked up my grandmother on the way.

The way she would hum old hymns and songs throughout the day and live in a way that made me want to know Jesus.

The way she loved my daddy.

The ways that she was selfless and would help others.  She was gentle and thoughtful and eventhough she was very quiet, she always had kind words for people….

These are the important things.  This is how I would answer them when they asked how she died, I would always tell them how she lived.

Suicide is never the best option, it isn’t ever a good option.  Seek help if you are sad and depressed.  Don’t be embarrassed.  You were created for a purpose.  You are important.  People do care about you.  You are not a failure.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Change in Job Description

You’ve probably seen the video on fb in which the guy is doing interviews for “The World’s Toughest Job.”   The applicant must be willing to stand up most of the day, work endless hours, overtime on holidays with a cheerful disposition for absolutely no pay at all…They all later find out his purpose is to get the interviewee’s to realize the job being interviewed for is that of a mom….

Yep, this job is hard and it is ever changing!  Over the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on how my job description has changed.  Having 6 children in less than 10 years meant that we had an extended time of reading Goodnight Moon, playing Candy Land and Uno, reading about Noah and rainbows, and Jonah and the big fish, reminding them to say yes ma’am and no sir.   But the period we are in now involves polishing Student Council speeches, stressing to them the boundaries our family has for social media, brushing up on my private investigator skills, advising them to do their homework, and that without completing their work or Senior Project, they very possibly won’t move on the next grade or college:)

MY, oh MY, how things have changed:

the condition of their diaper to the condition of their heart

buckling children in carseats to praying that they all remembered to wear their seatbelt as they drive themselves to school each morning.

playing with race cars to shaving with razor blades.

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building lego creations to building me a new kitchen table

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spending countless hours with each of them as my little kitchen helper one day each week to them preparing a meal for our family

teaching them to read and do math to teaching them to fill out job and college applications and praying that they will represent themselves, their families, and their Lord well in any job or college they may attend

homeschooling and being with them 24/7 to them being in school and me looking for a job

reminding them to share their toys to sharing their gifts, talents, abilities, and time

trying to get them to smile for pictures to teaching me how to screenshot their instagram pictures

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comforting them over a broken toy to comforting their broken, shattered hearts.

handmade cards to buying me gifts with money they worked hard for and BOTH  impact me in ways they can’t imagine.

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He had no idea  when he gave me this picture for Mother’s day how I was  grieving the loss of my own momma still after 27 years.

That a smile was the last thing that I could work up.

That I’d had an argument with his daddy.

That I was  grieving over the passing of the  the joys of their childhoods.

That these words would speak LOUDLY to me through three different people in less than 24 hours…”THE BEST IS YET TO COME.”

So today, the day after a HARD day, I move forward , knowing that it will be hard again.  I will miss my babies being babies. I will wish that my momma could see them graduate, and get married, just like I wished she would have seen them be born.  Hear them call her Nana, and beg to stay at her house instead of coming home because she let them get away with things that I never would have.

Whether Mother’s Day is full of joy for you or a day you desperately want to just stay in bed and pull the covers over your head(like I felt yesterday)  Remember this “I will hold you close [Ps.27:10NLT] Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, *I’d never forget you—never.* Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.” [Isaiah 49:15MSG] (borrowed from Ann Voskamp) You are not forgotten, but amazingly LOVED!

The best is yet to come, meaning it has not happened, it keeps getting better,  I have not missed it and neither have you.  It is not over!!!!  Today may be the day that God helps you see that it is all part of His plan, that all things work together for His good, that His grace covers our imperfections and shortcomings… it is here right now…when that curly haired little boy that always wanted his back scratched to comfort him, hugs me and rests HIS chin on MY head and says he loves me to bring me comfort.  When the son who is frugal with his words picks me up and hugs me and tells me he loves me without me saying it first, possibly for the first time since before he could read.  When she takes a picture of dandelions and sends it to me because she knows how  significant those weeds are to me…

…the list goes on and on.  They will still need to  be encouraged, believed in, told to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move on.  They will always need my heart to hear their heart.  They may need to always be reminded to lift the seat on the toilet and clean their room and brush their teeth because even though the job description has changed, some things never do… and the fact that I am their momma never will.

 

 

 

 

French toast, Fiascoes, and Freedom

Yesterday I made french toast for breakfast.  For someone who really enjoys being in the kitchen and trying new things as much as I do, making french toast should have just been a normal thing….The truth of the matter is, I have basically been avoiding french toast for well over 20 years unless you count the two absolute fiascoes when I attempted to make it when my boys were little, but I don’t think the soggy, drippy, wet bread would have even fit in to a french toast category.

I started thinking about french toast in October…no kidding…I am a slow mover.  Finally one cold Saturday morning in January I got the courage to make it.  When I first thought of it back in the fall, I started asking my self questions about why I hadn’t made it and these were the things that came to mind…  I loved when my mom would make french toast when I was little.  I am not easily intimidated in the kitchen.  I love to try new things and don’t have a problem reading a recipe or making things up as I go, so why had I avoided offering my family sweet, cinnamonny, eggy, bread for breakfast?  The answer was the beginning of recognizing  some cold hard facts about myself.  I had been living scared and the reason was based on a past failure that I just wouldn’t let go…Now, just know, I have failed at a LOT of things in the kitchen and other rooms of my home and many other areas of my life…I want to start looking at these things as opportunities to learn to do something better next time as opposed to a failure because when you decide as a young mom with three little boys under 4 that you are a failure at making french toast, it might take you a while to get over it and you might start to believe lies about yourself in other areas of your life.

I had almost decided in the late Nov, early Dec when I started thinking of my word for 2014 that I would just skip a word for this year until it seemed that no matter what book I was reading, what Pinterest board I was perusing, or what verses came to mind, the word courage just kept leaping off the page or screen at me!  Courage was what I lacked to make french toast, I had been living like the cowardly lion and was in a place of frustration feeling like my feet were bound and there would be no moving forward.  There were several specific areas that I could see this lack of bravery at work and I realized that I had to allow God to change me in 2014.  I don’t choose my word of the year as a resolution but to lead me through the year in an area of character growth or quality that I feel like I am lacking in. On a daily basis, I ask myself what would courage do in this situation. I love the quote I read today that said, “You have a choice to make.  You can make this your excuse or you can make this your story.”

Rewind to a day in January and I am at Aldi…for some reason bread was 19 cents a loaf….I decided that day that I WILL MAKE FRENCH TOAST!  So early on Saturday morning, I gathered all the ingredients, set up my work station and proceeded.  One by one, as kids staggered down the steps and to the table, they each were very blessed by their breakfast(except for one, but she is a picky little thing) Little did they know that Courage had made their breakfast that day and I am trusting that courage will do many things in and through me this year, that I could have never done without it.

What lie are you still believing?  What things are you or your family missing out on because you are living scared?  Will You let this be your excuse or make this YOUR story?