Sunday, August 25, 2013

pedal on

You learned to ride your bike.
And once again, I find myself amazed to get to see little nuggets of how you are made show themselves out loud.
In many instances, you don't allow fear to paralyze you, but rather it propels you forward.
Last summer we had a scary moment at a pool party & when dad & I  looked around you were nowhere to be seen. 
You were in the pool.
You were underwater reaching for the side.
Because you couldn't swim.
Talk about a scared little momma & a terrified little girl.
I still feel like I might vomit when I think about those moments & what could've happened if just minutes more had passed by.
I'm grateful.
I am reminded that these days are not guaranteed & therefore I will embrace these moments of total grace.
But that's not the point of this story.
You got out of the pool very bothered & upset by what had happened.  And very determined that that would not happen again.
And you took one swim lesson and you swam.

I wanna be more like you, little girl.
You are brave & you are strong.

Several months ago we took the training wheels off of your bike & you said you were ready to tackle the 2-wheeler.  
Ready to play hard with the big kids.
But the reality of the situation sank in & you decided that maybe not yet.
Until this got on, you pedaled, you fell down & you said, "when you fall down you just gotta get back up...."
Your words.
Not mine.

I can't believe I'm watching this four year old play out big truths.  Being so brave.  Letting fear get behind you & move you forward.....things that adults spend lots & lots of money trying to conquer.

You, my girl, are a force.
You have a role in God's big love story.  
God dreamed you up real good & you are dearly, dearly loved.
You will only be little for a short while & then we will stand together & I will do my best to always see you as you.
Not as mine.
He made you to be you.
And you are His....not mine.

There is so much freedom in that.  So much excitement in the story He has for you, if I can just let this grip loosen a bit.  Part of this being your mom thing is learning to step away a little bit.  Not too far.  I mean, I don't want to miss anything.
Just a little bit.....

You're growing.   So fast you're growing in all the ways you're supposed to grow.
And you will fall.  You will.  And many don't bounce back so quickly......but you, my girl, do.  You bounce up & forward & onward & you just get stronger.

As I put our pictures together for our album these words start to swirl around in my head & I don't want to lose them.  So as I can, I will paint the pictures of your moments in words on this blog so we can remember.  I'm crazy about you little little sprite.

not the best picture...i know....but look at you ride!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

that little tree.

It's been a busy summer.
Busier than I like to be.
I wonder if I'm paying attention like I like to do.
To these people that have been placed so carefully into my life.
I wonder if I have gotten caught up in 'playing' for an audience that shouldn't matter so much.
Am I trying to be something for someone that I'm not supposed to be...
I don't know.
It's strange to be learning the lessons that I can so clearly see for my kids.
I feel that I am constantly trying to teach my kids to live out the purpose God's placed in their hearts.  To be confident in that.
To not follow the crowd if that's not where God's best is for you.
And to always be brave enough to walk away.
And these are the lessons that I'm learning today.

We live in a big city with amazing pockets of respite and community and green space.
It can be a little bit of perfect sometimes.
There's a park here that is one of those little bits of perfect & I like to walk through there.
The 2 littles were strolling with me one morning & we came across this

And the boy asked, "why?"
"Why does that tree need ropes on it & the others don't?"

All of our lives we run to keep up & be noticed & be included & be a part of.....
Because we are meant to live big.
I believe that.
I don't believe the desire to run forward is wrong.
I believe it's purposefully placed in us.
It's the what we're running after.
And I believe we are rubber bands.
I believe that there is a season for pulling back.
I believe there are seasons when we need the ropes.
Not to constrain us or to keep us from something.
But the ropes are to help us to grow the way we are supposed to grow.
Straight & tall & with great purpose.

I laid in bed with my oldest tonight & we talked about some circles she's been in & how there are some things she's always allowed to talk about with us, but some things she's just not allowed to do right now.
And we talked about the freedom we want for her.
But that the waiting is good.
That a rubber band that hasn't been pulled back doesn't go very far.
And I believe, & she believes, that she's meant to go far.

And for me,'s a pulling back season.  
It's a season of straightening.
It's time for some ropes of support to be put back up & for me to get my eyes back where they belong so that I can be strong.
And go far.
Like I was made to do.

Monday, April 8, 2013


**PS.  Today is a day meant for raising a shout.  For using whatever platform we have to say something.  And that is what I'm trying to do here.  There's so much I didn't say in here.  And that's almost always true..... but for today.....these are my words.

I'm a mom who is pretty careful about what my kids are surrounded with.
Just as they learn to settle in & be confident in who they are.
And it's so tough, because we all tend to take cues from those around us  & we often get stuck in being what we think we ought to be.
Rather than who we were made to be.
Now, I'm not a person who stands opposed to everything either.
I want to raise people that can be absolutely anywhere & faced with absolutely anything & be able to stand confident in the truth of who they have been made to be.
I believe children are power being held at bay like the rock pulled deep in a sling shot.
Waiting to be released.
But not yet.
And in this time I believe that the people my kids are surrounded with are their teachers.
They are teaching them about value.  About what makes them valuable.
Always teaching & they are always learning.
Do I need to be pretty to be valuable?
Should I be smarter?   Faster?   Funnier?  Nicer?
What is it?
We are always learning.
And for now we have tried to surround them with people who expect very much for them to be their very best.
And to be certain to make mistakes.
And to constantly echo love & grace & bravery & kindness & honesty.

And I believe that some of the most powerful teachers they have....
are books.
I am not of the mindset that all books are good books if they foster a love of reading.
I believe there are great books that can encourage a love of reading & strengthen a person's character as well.
I love introducing these littles to Lucy, Edmond, Susan & Peter the Great!  And today when my little red head came home to tell me that she got called "carrots" on the playground I smiled & said, "You need to spend a little time with Anne of Green Gables" & she just smiled back.  Because she & Anne have met.  :)
I believe that books are teaching our kids how to live in this world well.
Not escape from it.
I believe in leaning in to the hard stuff.
The real stuff.
I am eager to read To Kill A Mockingbird with them.
Not yet.
But I can hardly wait.
And I will cry.
And we will learn & I will remember the things that I learned from that book.

That people are valuable.  All people.
And that the world needs brave people to stand for what is just.

My kids have learned about something called the end it movement because of our involvement at our church.
And some believe it's too sensitive of a topic for children to know about.
But I believe it's too important not to talk about, gently & appropriately.
And this's just broken.
This was never the way it was supposed to be.
Some friends of ours helped shine a light, this past weekend, on the truth that there are more people in slavery today than at any point in history.
27 million people are in slavery today.
These friends are super creative & they have awesome friends that helped them to pull it together.

There was a truck with glass walls & inside the truck were actors playing the gut wrenching roles of women trapped in sexual slavery.
This truck drove around Centennial Olympic park during the Final Four festivities to bring awareness to the shocking fact that we are living in a world....a CITY....where people are trapped in a version of enslaved hell.
But a favorite story of mine from the night was the story of a dad in the crowd as the truck drove by.  He had 2 kids by his side, maybe 9 & 11.  And the kids tried to turn away.....but the dad made them watch.  And he told them the truth.
A hard truth.
A real truth.
About people.
And yes, the real is often much harder to deal with than the imaginary.

But the thing is that before I knew...........I just didn't know.
And that gap of time.
That silence is just one more person not thinking about people around us that are hurting.
And it's our turn to rise up.
Not to let it make us fearful, but to fill us with the hope of redemption & rescue & courage to lean in.
And to raise up a generation of people willing to enter the sad & scary places in order to love.
It's our job to equip these people to love powerfully.
Not passively.

These injustices are happening.  Right.  Now.
And just because it's not directly effecting me doesn't mean I shouldn't engage.
Doing something is better than doing nothing here.
And if you are like I was not too long ago, completely shocked by the fact that slavery still exists....then  use this opportunity to tell someone else.
People don't know.
And it's time to bust the flashlights out & let it be known.

**Today is shine a light on slavery day.  Learn how you can help by bringing awareness & rescue at

Sunday, April 7, 2013

30 seconds

I have a ton of favorite pictures and moments from the big trip.  

But this series is among the top.
That big girl right there... was a little on the scared-y side of riding the barnstormer.
Tiny roller coaster.
30 seconds.
And real scared.

Fear can have its handle on us from time to time.
It's a family affair.
There's no doubt that apple did not fall far.

But, we weren't letting fear keep us from making big memories on this trip.
Strengthening muscles of adventure & sometimes failing & getting back up again & trying new things & fun & faith.

And I just love the delight on the face of that little babe of mine in the back. 
The fearless one.
Except for bees. 
Terrified of bees.

And this perfect imperfect shot.
Oh my goodness.
Forever grateful that I almost dropped the camera trying to get this moment.


That muscle got a little stronger.
We didn't leave that one on the table that day because of fear.

And wouldn't you know it.....she went on to ride space mountain with me.
Crazy girl.
What have we started.....
She'll be riding in fast cars before I can blink & I'll have to remember that I might have helped it to begin.
But we were there for this.
This watching her became awake to something within her.
That adventure God has planted right in her heart.
I saw it wake up.

It's those front row seats I've been talking about.
And this show is not nearly as long as we think it is.
And as they move into their lives & their routines & as I do the same.
I realize that the days really are flying. by.
30 seconds....up & down & scream & laugh....& it's done.

This trip was just what the doctor ordered.
A lot got dropped to do this thing.
And it was worth it.
It was so worth it.

He's got us right where he wants us right now.
And we're all inning it.  
Overcoming fear & learning to fail & leaning into the hard & being adventurous...
It takes practice.
And practice is what we will do as we walk out this life He has painted specifically for us.
Isn't God cool....painting stories of Himself through His people?
We say yes to that.
The ups & the downs & the goods & the bads.

This life is a blink & we are thankful to be in the story.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Disney Part 1

My little guy has been asking for months what we were going to do to celebrate his birthday.
We have a deal in our family where we don't do big parties every year.  5 & 8 you get a party.
Every other year you are guaranteed to be celebrated.
Because we like to celebrate in this family.
Go big - as our friend Slate Fluker says.
We'll celebrate for a full month....because, why not!?
It's a great excuse to eat cupcakes & sip milkshakes & grab a cookie cake....all in the name of birthday month celebration.

So, we knew we would do something.
Lots of somethings, probably.
But we weren't totally sure what it would be.

Lee's been traveling a lot lately & he's been doing good things.
But we've missed him.
This little guy stuck in the middle of all the girls has really been missing him.
And it was looking like Lee was going to be out of town for the big birthday.
We couldn't figure out how to avoid it.
But when your trip for work happens to be in Orlando......
Well.  Sometimes you just decide to plan a spur of the moment surprise trip for the littles to the mother ship.
We've never been to Disney & the kids didn't have a clue!

Lee left Tuesday & I began the dark of night secret packing mission.
Picked the kids up from school on Wednesday & told them we were headed down to spend time with Dad.  That Dad didn't want to miss Bo's birthday so we were going to be with him.
And we drove & drove.
Picked up Lee, & the big girl, the only reader in the car, had fallen asleep.
We weren't sure how to tell them at this point, with one asleep & all.
So we didn't.
And about 10 minutes later the boy says from the back seat, "Disney?"
And the baby follows..."are we at the Magic Kingdom!?!"
And my big girl snored.
It was awesome.

The 4 of us giggled & were so excited & the big girl joined in on the excitement once we got out of the car to load into the hotel.

There's so much in my mind & in my heart that I want to download here....but I'm exhausted.
I'll get some pictures up for the family that continues to check in from time to time.  & I'll be back with more for the memory books real soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

my big date

The other night Lee took the girls on a date. 
To a big ol' dance.
And the girls were gonna get all gussied up & everyone was ex-cited.
In the midst of all the planning, Lee decided to help my little man plan a date for me.
That boy kept a total secret from me....apparently discussing all the plans with his sisters & his teacher!  And no one ever spilled the beans.
The boys knocked on the door at about 530 & my baby yelled, "COME IN!"
:) like a true little lady.
Quick 'date' etiquette education was had & then we opened the door to 2 dashing men with flowers in hand.

He handed me a hand written note with instructions on where to go & then another note at dinner with a gift card to pay for dinner.
We played dot to dot & had sweet conversation & he was the perfect gentleman.
And before we left the restaurant we made a stop in the ladies room :) because that's where you go when you're 5 & you're in a public place with your mommy.  And as he was in the stall next to mine & a lady was waiting just outside, he said, "Mom.  You're the best mom."
And the whole thing made me want to laugh & good cry because it was all so adorable & so precious.
Another note took us to Baskin Robbins & and another with words just for me & another asking me to watch Star Wars with him.   
It was a perfect evening.
I love this kid.  I love his heart & I love his heart for justice & his love for his sisters & how he put a scoop of rainbow sherbet & chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream together...because only a really adventurous person would do that.
I'm learning about boys & very specifically this boy.
He encourages us.
He's often got me in stitches of laughter.
And he's got me on my knees.

Lord, thank you for this little man.  Thank you for trusting me to be his mom.  My prayer is that he would see & delight in the plans that You have for him.  And that he would walk that out for an audience of one.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love = patience

OK.  I am not a huge fan of Valentine's Day.

I said it.
Confession is good for the soul.

But I do enjoy me some crafty time. 
And I enjoy all the love that comes with Valentine's day.
I just don't love the commercialization of it all.
And I am certain that I don't stand alone in that.
Plus, I hate standing in line.
Does that speak a little to my need to grow in my humility??
So making it a priority to try to have a dinner out on a day like this.....well, it just stresses me out a tad.
But like I paper & glue & what have you.  I do enjoy.
And these particular little valentine makers did a fantastic job!  
Don't cha think!

And so we carved out time that wasn't in the budget to sit still & create these little wonders to recognize a day focused on love.  
It was a nice practice in 'love is patient'...
When I choose to see God for who He is I can't help but be amazed.
Something that is tough for me.
Sitting still is not my forte.
Waiting is not my favorite.
But for a child to create a valentine for one of the very first times in their lives, ever.....takes time.
It takes patience.

He is at work in me.
And He's been patient.
And so I will do my best to remember that I probably do not work as quickly as He would like me to sometimes.   
And I probably don''t do it exactly right the major majority of the time.
But the process.....
The process is perfect.
And the process.
It takes patience.

Friday, February 8, 2013

good work.

So, every now & then, at our precious school, we have a faculty appreciation meal.  A group of parents make really yummy food & just serves them.
It was a sweet afternoon.
Because the faculty is amazing. amazing.
My kids came down when school was dismissed & they were having fun while the teachers ate.  One thing they did was to play with a large dry erase board that was in the room.
The possibilities, right!?
At one point they had written "I love _____________"  & they filled in each blank with the name of each teacher in the room.
Little suck-ups.

But at one point I looked over & my 8 year old had drawn a complete orchestra.
Laid out & labeled with different groups of musicians labeled.
It was impressive to watch her.
You could tell she was deep in thought, trying to get it right.
Trying to recall it from some part of her brain.
Marker in one hand & stepped back from the board a little bit.
She has seen that somewhere else....I'm guessing in her music class.
But to be able to recall it.
I don't know.
It was a moment where I stood & saw this magical brain at work in this girl.
My girl.
I don't know....I just saw something new.
And I commented on how amazing it was.
Got called to a task & was going to return to learn more about this work of art.
And when I looked back up.
It was gone.
She erased it.
She simply moved on.

And something in me realized I had missed the moment.
I felt that little sick feeling in the pit of my tummy.

There was no more, "tell me about it, sister" opportunity.
It was just ..... not there anymore.

But I'm thankful I was there for it.

I saw it.

And I stand a little bit farther back from her right now....kind of like she did at the dry erase board.
Not with a marker in my hand.
Just admiring the work going on.
Because sometimes I don't get to see it so tangibly.
But there's a remarkable work going on.....

(PS - to my cousin Nancy, I promise I have some awesome pictures of the boy coming issues)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

front row.

How is it that I get to witness these people growing up?
I get overwhelmed just thinking about it sometimes.
These lives, powerful lives, in my midst being trained up for big things.

I love these children.

I love all that God teaches me through them & I am realizing lately that I haven't been paying attention like I should.

Like I used to.

But He's pulling me back become a good student again of my children.
To see where I can help to mold & train, to help lead them to the One who made them & to see what God is doing in my life through them.
They are small....but they are only small.  Because they are power waiting to be released.  And they will be a force for good in this world.

My baby, my baby who is 4, she knows the names of the squirrels in our yard.
She calls them by name.
She yells for them to get out of the road.
She knows the squirrels.
Jumpy & Jack & Jackson are the 3 we see the most.
J names, mostly.
And I'll say...."I think that must be Jack"
"No.  That's Jumpy, mom"
It's almost always Jumpy - he's her favorite.
And I don't blame her.
He seems to have the most fun.
I'll be honest....I can't tell them apart.
But she swears she can.

And I believe her.
Because she's paying attention.

And when I see that she pays attention to the squirrels & their goings on in the yard I am brought back to attention to the most important job that God has put before me.
The job I always wanted.
This job that is so fleeting.

And the projects & the hobbies & the responsibilities will get done.
But they will not get in the way.

These are my people.
I was called here for this.
The greatest show on earth.....& I've got front row seats.

I'm not missing this.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


This was my big girl's year for a big birthday party.
And when I asked her what she wanted to do....she said, "I just want my friends to come over & watch a movie"

Well, alrighty.
We can handle that.

And so we made the plan.
Some girls from school + two.
We bought movie theater candy, bought popcorn, sent the evite, made a photo booth for the occasion....because, how fun is THAT!?

And then my girl spiked a 103.5 fever & the party was canceled.
And she honestly felt too bad to even care.
And I honestly was thrilled to have my big girl need to be babied for a few days.
These birthdays are bittersweet for this momma.

So, we finally got to come back around and celebrate my 8 year old....EIGHT. YEAR. OLD.

And 10 little girls, with my little man & baby girl running at their heels, ran into this house & we had a blast.
She was on cloud nine.
I'm thankful for the answered prayer in her life for good friends to walk along side.
I'm thankful that I get to watch all of these girls grow up together.
I'm just so thankful.
So, happy birthday to my thinker.
My super reader.
My competitive card game player.
My American Girl doll lover.
My lover of animals.
My silliest.
My 3rd in command.
My early riser.
The mother hen & the one who made me a mother.
I love you.   Happy birthday.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Well, I have this whole other post ready to go & it's full of emotion & I probably shouldn't post it...but I'm learning to be brave.  And anyway, maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

Today, I don't want anything else to overshadow the opportunity to tell people about slavery.

I heard someone recently talk about the civil rights I can truly look back at that time with a big question mark on my face.  What?!  Seriously?  People sold for other people's profit?!
Human beings??
And how in THE WORLD, did we as a society allow it to continue?

Because we are not powerless.
We can, & should, stand up.

Sure, it's uncomfortable.
Sometimes it's unpopular.
We may lose friends in the process.

But when those are the only consequences for standing up for another person's freedom....I just don't see them as valid excuses.
And yet, I'm sure I've let those consequences dictate a lot of decisions in my life.

But today.

Today....there are more slaves in the world than in any other time in human history.

And it's hard to start seeing this because when we start to open our eyes to this truth that even children in this world are trapped in the world of forced labor & in the sex trade....we will no doubt have to face the fact that we fund some of this operation.

I don't think any of us wants to be a part of physically & emotionally hurting other people.
I think that we all just need a little education.
I still need a LOT of education.
Which is why I'm so thankful for this website.

Today .... especially if you're just learning about this, you can do a few things to help yourselves & get in on the fight.
*Sign the pledge on the website.  That's easy.....just type in your email address.
*Follow enditmovement on twitter ... I honest to goodness joined twitter just to be able to do that.  Now
      I can't stop talking & #doingthis...which is another problem all by itself.
* #enditmovement in your tweets ALL day today.
*Tell 10 people.

There are other learning about your own slavery footprint.  You can find all of that on the website.  But the most important thing for today is to tell someone.
Tell 10 specific people about slavery.
Give them the web address.

Let's be the people that bring this awful operation down.  In OUR lifetime.
I want to tell the story of freedom to my grandkids - & I want to hold my head high knowing I was in on the fight.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas morning

We apparently wore the kids O.U.T. because Lee & I enjoyed a cup of coffee before we decided to head on upstairs & wake the munchkins up.  And we had it to-gether this year.  We laid out brand new slippers upstairs by their beds.  We had written a note to each kid.  And then we woke them up & pointed those things out to them.  
Not the way we pictured that going.
But, you know,'s Christmas morning!

This happens to be my favorite picture of the day.  For obvious reasons.
And I just couldn't let the year go on without posting it.
I hope to be back with more real soon...but for now, there's my baby...& here's a picture soon after with my little man.