January 2013


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This is a picture of my mom and dad on their wedding day. Isn’t it great? I love the energy, the magical combination of the wind and the children and all the new beginnings that are represented.

I’m blogging today at How to Homeschool Highschool, where I’m chatting about growing up and, really, does that mean we have to lose that magic?

I’d love to have you join me there! Click here, and pop on over.

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There is no such thing as a typical day. Right? I mean, there may be a plan in place at 8:00 in the morning, but by noon, well… You know how it goes.

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What is typical, though, is that no matter what we do – no matter how exciting or interesting or jam-packed-full or mellow-out-relaxing – no matter what happens, it’s just never enough for my adventure-seeking, fun-loving, make-every-moment-count boy. Inevitably, when bedtime rolls around, he’s saying something like, But we didn’t do enough today. Can we please do more tomorrow?

This used to bother me. I used to think (and sometimes say) things like, For goodness sake, Child. Do you have any idea of the effort it took to make this day happen? And then I’d growl something like, Sheesh, you could try being thankful for a change!

And he’d feel bad and I’d feel bad and, just… yuck.

It’s taken some growth on both our parts, but we don’t often have these conversations anymore.

He still wants every day to matter. He still has a hard time with the whole gratitude for what has been and tends to focus on the what hasn’t. I still talk to him about being thankful, and focusing on the good, and stuff like submission and contentment. I still sometimes oh my goodness him a little bit.

But I’ve come to accept him and his unique approach to life. And not just accept it, but love it. The energy, the movement, the adventure-seeking heart. I can’t imagine him any other way, really.

Mainly, I’m encouraged by how far he’s come, this crazy kid who about wore me out those first few years. I see the maturity, the blossoming, the effort he makes, and these things wiggle their way deep into my heart. While we work together on gratitude, and as we remind each other again that we are a family and we love each other, and when he hugs me tight around the neck each evening and I accept his I love you, Mommy, those words whispered only for me… Oh my, I am thankful.

Yes, he is still too much at times. Too loud, too busy, too distracted. But I am too in love with him to try to fuss it out of him. We’ll share the days, working things through as they come up, and this journey, mistakes and all, will make us better for having travelled it together.

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I listened to President Obama’s inaugural address and thought wow. I was not listening to critique his message. Others did that after he had finished.  I was listening to hear how he put words together.

This morning as I write about words I am not thinking about politicians, or people who make speeches because that’s what they do for a living. I am thinking about the day-to-day, boots on the ground conversations between people: husbands and wives, team mates, neighbours, class mates, people we work with and people we go to church with.

The scriptures tell us, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”

I profess to be a Jesus follower, but words are sometimes said which I later regret. I expect there are times all of us have wished we had said or hadn’t said something. The good news is we can choose to speak words that are life-giving instead of words that dampen ones spirit.

And so today as I interact with folks along the way I choose to speak words that produce smiles, are hugs to one’s spirit, that encourage and make others feel worthwhile.

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They’re doing the dishes, all three of them like they do every night, and I hear their voices. Well, I hear two of them. Carter has said something and Colton tries to add a bit to the conversation and Carter won’t listen. He talks over his brother, his voice getting louder. An argument begins, angrier and angrier and I just listen. I should go in and intervene and peace-make this thing that’s happening, but I don’t. I’m so tired of these boys and this argument. I want them to just STOP it already.

It’s too much for me. I look at their dad and he goes in to deal the way he deals. He sends the youngest to his room and tells the other to finish the dishes.

It’s quiet now, but there isn’t peace. There’s just a big, gaping hole where the voices used to be. The dishes are finished in silence, clean and put away and the kitchen looks nice. It looks just fine and ready for the next day, but there’s a big messy pile of invisible anger simmering and my heart hurts.

Colton is wiping the counter top when I step toward him. I open my mouth and words come out. Words like sorry, and I know it’s tough, and I understand what it’s like to have someone in your life who is a “hard” person. I say stuff like you can’t force other people to be different, and unconditional love is hard because it’s about you and not about how the other person treats you, and I tell him how wonderful I think he is. How caring and hard-working and how proud I am of him and it’s all true, but I see his eyes, brimming a bit, and I know the words are not enough.

I just want him to listen to me, he says. He never listens to me. Never. And he shares some more but really, this not being listened to is at the bottom of it all.

I’m listening, I say. He nods, he knows, but this night it isn’t enough. He’s gone to that alone place, that sad place we all visit occasionally and it will take some time.

I wish I could fix it all. I wish I could make everyone be nice all the time. I wish children didn’t feel alone, ever. I wish brothers didn’t fight. I wish it was easier than it is, this living together thing.

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I’m blogging today over at How to Homeschool High School on the idea of balance, and the futility (in my opinion!) of seeking it in your life. You can read the article here. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Have a great Thursday, friends!

Once in a while, very rarely (smile), my kids complain about something. Maybe the school work they have to finish. Maybe the dinner they have to eat. Maybe the chores they have to do. The response I give them, after we watched this video clip together, is, “Do you have arms and legs?”

They get it. They usually smile and the complaining stops.

I’m waiting for one of them to use the line on me. Surprisingly, I have been known to complain from time to time.

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If you are interested, you can find out more about the inspirational Nick Vujicic at his website LifeWithoutLimbs. We did.

I’m thinking about raising children. Of raising up babies to boys to men. I’m thinking about process and effort and time and parenting and mistakes. And I’m wishing, in some cases, for a do-over. For time to do more, do better, do right.

This parenting thing, it’s like a manuscript – it just never feels finished. Like there’s always some editing to do, some fine-tuning, some way to make it better.

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Last Tuesday, Dad wrote about a young father in Mexico… a young man working as hard as he could to support his small family and yet with that thing inside of him that prompted him to be generous, to share his little with someone who had less.

This made me cry.

I have three young men in my home. Three boys, almost grown, who will soon be living their lives and making their choices. There is much I hope for them.

I hope for them to find women to love, passions to pursue, and dragons to fight.

But if I am honest, what I really hope, what I pray for, is that they find the right women to love, honourable passions to pursue, and that they battle dragons worthy of their time and effort. Do you hear what I’m saying?

What I’m saying is, I pray they don’t lose their ways.

What I’m saying is, I pray they understand, as does a poor young man in Mexico, what is really important in life.

What I’m saying is, if I taught them nothing else, I pray I taught them that people are always more important than things. That people are always more important than time or programs or money. That people are always more important.

Deep down, in the depths of my mommy soul, I know there are all manner of things that are waiting to knock them down. And I know they will stumble at times and make their mistakes. But I also know the beauty that is waiting out there for them! Their stories, their pens poised, just waiting to be written!

Letting go is the bravest act required of a parent. Letting go with confidence instead of fear, knowing the goodness inside my child, knowing the goodness of the Father I trust – this is faith.

I wish I could talk to that young Mexican man’s parents. I’d thank them for raising a such a gift.

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