Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Morning

Everyone's up early
Peaceful time for eggs and pigtails
Not a rush to be found
What a nice little anomaly
Smiling faces climb in the van
Off to school we go
But wait
Strapping in the littlest brings a surprise
Diarrhea is on her and me and everything in between
But she has the happiest smile you've ever seen
And pigtails
Showers, disinfectant wipes, towels, and q-tips galore 
School started half an hour ago
Three little heads in my rear view mirror
There's no other crew I'd rather be late with

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Love Grass Stains

Silas comes home with them on his khakis after every school day.

They make me happy.

They are signs of life
My boy played today. He was outside and really played. 
Grass stains are hard evidence of good stuff, of which I am ever thankful.

I also like them because I found an easy way to get them out. Ahhh, sweet gratification.
Grass stains can eat my road grit, liver lips!

Here's how I do it:

       1. Run hot water over the stain.
       2. Put a dab of liquid dish soap on the stain and scrub with a dish scrubber. The stain will 
           immediately start to fade. Keep going, using elbow grease until the stain is mostly gone.
       3. Wash in the laundry as usual.

May the perspective and empowerment of the grass stain be with you.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Kids and Sex

I love my sister Aszia. She faces everything in life with a certain level of intensity. And because of this, sometimes it's easy to not take her too seriously.

That's what I did when she asked me repeatedly to go to a class on "Parenting in a Sexualized Culture." All I heard was the sound effect they used on Saturday Night Live when Debbie Downer mentioned the Greenhouse Effect.

Ok maybe that's exaggerating. I was looking forward to seeing where my sister worked and thought maybe I'd learn something new. But my kids are so young. I didn't really need to know this stuff yet.

But lo and behold, I went and got my world rocked.

Here's why:

1. The speaker, Dan Martin with pureHOPE, immediately grabbed my attention. He spoke like we were his good friends. And within a few minutes he shared that all three of his (now teenage) kids had looked at porn already. Angie's inner thoughts: Alright, this is gonna be meaty! Not your typical "purity is a gift for your future spouse" gospel meeting.

2. Then came the really good news. Sex is a big part of God's plan for his creation. It's not some dark corner of us that gets us into trouble and needs to be bridled. It's actually an incredibly powerful facet of being human. It tells the story of God and his people. Amazing biological things, like attaching to your mate, happen during sex. He made us want sex, people! God is pro-sex. I don't know how else to say this.

3. The abstinence message really misses the point. Sex isn't a "Do Not Enter" or "Caution" sign. It's a picture of a highway through a beautiful landscape. The highway has guardrails because we have a good God who doesn't want his kids driving off the edge, experiencing alot of pain. But he wants us driving through it!

4. Our kids, along with ourselves, are going to make a mess out of things. In this digital age, pretty much every child will be exposed to pornography. And that's just one way we drive off the side of the road. But this doesn't intimidate our God. He's in the business of redeeming and refining us. And this is what we get to teach our kids!

Hearing him tell the story of finding his child looking at pornography and how he walked him through that was mind blowing. He said he resisted the urge to travel that ever popular road of "I suck as a parent" and overreact. Instead, he cried with his child, apologized for not protecting him by being more intentional about keeping the dangerous parts of the internet out of their home, and walked him through how, full of hope, we repent and Father God picks us up, dusts us off, and we get back to following after him.

Now for a girl who errs on the side of never doing anything for fear of doing anything wrong, hearing that God can handle how bad we suck sure lights a fire under me. I throw off that cloak of fear and get busy loving him and listening to what he says. He wants us free.

5. He shared in interesting detail the ins and outs of the things on the internet that will suck the life out of my kids' sexuality and send them sailing off the side of the mountainous road - what apps are all the rage, where to go to learn the trends, good filters and monitors to have and so much more. So much that I had never heard of. The man knew his stuff.

6. I understood with clarity that teaching my kids about sex started now. The world is already at it. Why should I wait and avoid it and have to play catch up/damage control later? It's good news. I won't have it twisted and ruined in their little hearts.

I walked out of that building busting at the seams with hope. I felt I had been handed a treasure. Here Angie, let me set your heart right about something very important while your kids are still young. That way you can lead them well throughout their lives. How does that sound? Umm yeah, I'll have that.

As I drove home, I reveled in my new discoveries. I can handle teaching my kids about sex. I can handle when they start learning about masturbation. I get to help them develop the habit of walking through mistakes with honesty and humility, not shame. And guess what? When I screw up my job of parenting, he redeems that too.

And by the way, this was tested a few days later when we took Silas to dinner to introduce the subject. I butchered it. Like as in, I couldn't explain the mechanics without laughing like I was in 5th grade. But God was there. Brian and I were both silently saying alot of "help!" prayers, and he did. He helped the right questions come out. And helped Silas to get what he needed to get. Silas' main conclusion was "Eww yuck!" And Brian ended the conversation saying that one day he would feel differently and we would be talking about it more and that Silas could ask us anything and would never get in trouble.

The game of hangman was also introduced at dinner. 
Silas loved it so much he kept squealing and kicking the booth and disturbing the people behind us.
I'm sure they were further disturbed later on by my hand motions and snickers about penises and vaginas... 

In conclusion, I highly recommend seeking out this subject for ANY parent. Or if I'm being completely honest, any human being. There is alot of good stuff going on with sex. And alot of ways it can get trashed. It's worth our attention.

And believe it or not, this long post contains only a few of the "whoa!" moments I had during the class. If you get the chance, hear pureHOPE speak - they do this all over the country. Here's their website. It's so good being reminded about how creative and gentle and capable God is with us.

Friday, August 16, 2013

We're Rich.

Brian and I were laying in bed last night talking about how I still couldn't shake the fear and impending sense of doom about our vacation to Florida. I told him it started when I read the weather forecast saying it was supposed to thunderstorm every day. I immediately turned to the Lord when I read it and was going to tell him that I trusted him and ask for his blessing and whatever he had for us on this trip. But as I did, I thought about how I never even sought him before planning this trip at all. I never asked what he wanted, invited him in, asked for his guidance. Then I felt like he must totally disapprove of me. What if he didn't want us to go at all?  What if something bad was going to happen to us? (Enter more fear/inner turmoil and nowhere to go with it because I sure couldn't talk to God!)

Brian looked at me and said that we would still ask his will even now. 

Even though we already paid for it and leave in two days?? 

Yep. If he doesn't want us to go, then we won't go. 

Ok. (freedom creeping in)

And we prayed.

I felt a yes in my spirit, that he wanted us to go and be there and rest. Brian said he had peace about it as well. Alright then, we're all in. The heaviness in my chest began to lift.

Then we made sweet love. Just kidding. Making sure you're still awake...

But seriously, throughout this whole process I grew a new understanding about how rich it is to walk with the Lord. To trust him. When I assumed he was rejecting me, I felt that I couldn't take my fears to him. In the midst of the angst I was struck by what it's like to just sit with your anxieties and demons and have no place to take them. I looked for distractions. I was edgier with my kids.

And it made me rethink this question that floats around my head from time to time: what real difference does it make following Jesus? Everyone else's lives seem just fine. I knew the answer. Even if it meant sacrificing our vacation plans. The intimacy and trust and provision I enjoy with my Father God is more precious than gold. My life is rich because of him. 
Like richer than winning the lottery rich. 

This is what I want for others. This is how it was meant to be. 
To know the love and peace of our maker...there is nothing better. 

This morning, with a renewed heart and a peace that I am protected, not from pain or hardships, but from hopelessness and abandonment, I'm packing for our trip and baking snacks with my four year old. The windows are open on this odd August day in Texas and we have beautiful music playing as we sing love songs to our Father.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cutie Pie

Kennedy had a photo shoot today. I've been meaning to do it since she was three months old (that's the skirt size). And since I rarely document anything about this little dumpling, now's a good time.

She is delightfully happy. Unless you try to pick her nose or give her medicine.

She loves dogs or "gog" as she calls them. 
She points out of every window and looks in anticipation of seeing one.

She's very connected to the people around her. She gets ecstatic when her brother and sister come around. She quietly and constantly watches my every move and if I look her way she flashes me a big gummy smile. And don't even get me started on her and her daddy. Two peas in a pod.

Her Jedi power would be detecting choking/indigestible hazards unseen by the naked eye. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Creative Parenting Attempt

My kids had been struggling with selfishness more than usual this morning. You know the old "no you can't have any of my goldfish!" or "Madison's playing with my car and it's MINE!"

So I told them I'd join them for a while and then we could decide if we want selfishness or unselfishness in this family.

I made myself a delicious lunch and took it to my bedroom to watch a little HGTV. They were perplexed, asking why I was watching TV instead of eating at the table and could they pleeeeeeeeease have some of my food??

Ummm, no I think I want to eat it all by myself.

They cried.

I reminded them that I'm trying out being selfish. They left and cried some more.

I ate my lunch in delightful solitude. Just me and "Rehab Addict." I was only interrupted once when Madison came in crying saying she had honey in her hair and on her legs. Inwardly I cringed but I politely asked her not to touch me or get it on any of my stuff. She left and cried some more.

I got done and braced myself for what I'd find since I hadn't heard anything from them in 20 minutes and there was honey involved.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

Silas made Madison's lunch and they were eating together. And there was only a little honey spilled on the counter. Madison looked up and tearfully told me she likes when I'm unselfish and "wets be unsewfish togedoh."

They may have diarrhea later from eating 300 grapes but I think they might have learned something.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Rest

Today was wonderfully unremarkable. The weather and a freshly mowed lawn of soft green grass didn't hurt. We stayed home, resting and playing. Madison and I made a few bouquets from our rose bush (during which Madison explained why she wubs spwing time...because ebweeting is bustin out). We made a volcano. We laid around on the floor with Kennedy and tried to teach her to crawl. Then there was snuggling and reading the kids books on the couch and waffles and eggs for dinner.


How tenderly our Father loves us that he not only gives us permission to rest but he commands it.