Sunday, March 25, 2012


Maybe it's the sunny weather.  Maybe it's the great sermon I heard today.  Maybe it's the time I spent with friends this weekend.  But my heart overflows...I can get so focused on all the different hats I wear - wife, mother, daughter, teacher, believer, friend, meal planner, housekeeper.  I can let  today's challenges stifle my joy.  Back when Oprah was preaching an attitude of gratitude, I kept a gratitude journal like a million others, I am sure.  But eventually I found myself writing the same things and the journal just became another bullet on my list.  It's collecting dust in my nightstand. Maybe it's time to get it back out or better yet, I'll use my virtual one. :)
1) Two days off with my favorite guy
2) Parker's toothless grin
3) Macy calling Jillian her sissy
4) Easy conversations with friends even when the topics are hard
What are you grateful for?  I would love to know!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dear Church Family

I've been touched by your words of encouragement and your honesty.  I've been praying for all of us to be listening and ready to answer when God calls us.  Over the years, what I've needed from church family has changed.  I used to be all about the women's Bible study classes and a meaningful worship.  Becoming a mother has changed what I need from my church family.  For me, my church family is a crucial component in Parker and Macy's understanding of what it means to walk with God.  Of course, Tony and I are the primary teachers of this.  In full disclosure though, we both fall short of being what God wants us to be.  This is why I need you.  I need you to show my children that God loves people of all races, financial standings, and backgrounds.  When I look at all the ways my church family loves and serves, I catch a glimpse of His glory.  And that is what I want my children to witness. Our God is SO MUCH BIGGER.  I don't doubt that everything that has transpired through our church family's merger was done with the very best of intentions.  Somewhere we, ok maybe just I, have allowed God to be diminished.  The God we know doesn't see diversity.  He sees His creation.  We can get such tunnel vision that we can't see the greatness of His potential for us.  I can be missing people so much that I lose this truth.  You may be gone from this building, but you are never gone from His family.  Selfishly, I need for my children to see your footprints of faith.  Let us all leave a trail. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Night Struggles

For my friends who don't have a church family, you can skip this post...For my friends who do, maybe you can understand where I am coming from.  When we moved to St. Louis, we knew no one.  Walking into a building that bore the name of the church that we grew up with, we felt at home.  We may have not known the name of a single person, but we knew the songs, felt the prayers, and could connect with the message.  Thirteen years later, our church family is our second family.  Our church family has gone through a remarriage which has caused a lot of discussion and departures.  Every time I walk through the doors, I am missing someone.  The sense of loss is great.  I am trying to move on, meet new people, and smile at the visitors.  Nevertheless, I really want to shout at the top of my lungs "What is the matter with everyone? Why isn't there room for everyone at the table?  When will my neighbor's need matter more than mine?".  I am not a good pretender.  My friends have told me that they want the whole ordeal to be put behind them.  I do too, but I don't know how.  I don't know how to get rid of this feeling of dread on Saturday nights.  I don't know how to let go of those friends who have chosen to move on.  I. just. don't. know.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Acts of Kindness 3

One of the reasons I didn't put a time limit on myself is that I wanted to be open to being moved by the Spirit.  Last Sunday evening, I was acting just like a child and employing a classic delay tactic with my parents.  In the late afternoon, Dad said he could really use a nap.  I chimed in with a classic "I could use a trip to Marshalls."  My wonderful Dad took the bait and sent my Mom and I on a quick trip to said store.  (Macy returns the favor with a carefully played "I LOVE shopping!  Can I come too?")  As we were pulling into Marshalls, I see a lady in the far corner of the parking lot with a large suitcase.  I thought to myself that it was strange that I had never noticed that there was a bus stop here.  After making the rounds through Marshalls and Home Goods, we start to leave.  Just outside the door is the lady with the suitcase.  Up close, I realize she is an older lady. She is asking two shoppers if they would mind calling for a cab.  She recites the number as they walk away. The three of us get loaded up, and I tell my mom what I overheard.  My mom says to pull up and offer her a ride.  I love it that my mom and I think alike!  We pulled up and offered the lady a ride. Her eyes dart back and forth between the three of us, and I smile to myself thinking riding in the back with Macy could seem scary.  Finally, she says that she is hungry and was planning on the cab taking her through the Burger King next to her hotel.  My mom told her that was no problem.  I got her suitcase in the trunk, and we headed out. After taking her through Burger King, I offered to help her up to her room since she had her hands full with her dinner.  She politely refuses, and has me help get her food in the smaller bag attached to her enormous suitcase.  I see that her smaller bag is filled with convenience store snacks.  My heart just about breaks in half.  I want to ask if she is all alone in this world, but I couldn't bear the answer and let myself off the hook.  I get back in the car, and my mom and I say "Bessie!" (which is a word we use frequently to mean a variety of things - I have no idea of its origin - only that most of the time it conveys sympathy) at the same exact time.  I asked her if this could count as one of my acts of kindness, and she says most definitely.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Both Parker and I have set our eyes on our own individual goals this past week. Both of us have a slim chance of a success.  I don't say that as an invitation for back-slapping cheers or to be a Debbie Downer.  I'm just looking realistically at the odds.  Parker is already nervous and wondering if he can do it.  Of course, I use all the proper Mom speak about giving it his all, God will bless your efforts, and reminding him that he is loved regardless of his actions. Yet, at the same time, I'm praying that God will help Parker understand failure isn't defeat.  I'm also praying that when he watches me fail that it's not a game changer.  It's just a time-out.
Fifteen years in the classroom has proven me to that we, as adults, are afraid to let our children fail.  Self-esteem is to be preserved at all costs, and sometimes that cost is honesty.  My kids fail in my classroom, and they know it.  They also know they'll get to try again with my support.  At the beginning of the year, when I first tell a kiddo that he or she is stinkin' it up, a quick look of shock passes over their face.  I teach them the steps they need to take to fix it.  The next try may or may not stink.  What I'm really trying to get my students, and now Parker, to understand that taking a risk doesn't always equal success, but it does equal knowledge.  What is done with that knowledge is what matters.  I cannot think of a better place to fail than when our kids are at home - with the people who love them and who will cheer when they try again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

10 years ago

As I watch Parker and Macy grow, I'm still shocked by what it would mean to have our oldest with us.  Lauran would be celebrating her 10th birthday today.  Both Tony and I have been changed by her short life, and we hope it has all been for the better.  Throughout the whole pregnancy with two months of hospitalized bed rest and 53 days, we learned countless lessons and came to deeper understandings.  But these two lessons are closet to my heart today.

A few days ago, a woman was on the news.  Her husband and herself survived the tornado devastation by cowering in the bathtub.  The only part of her house that was left was the bathroom they were in.  She explained the only reason they survived was that God was them.  I agree.  But he was also with the people who died down the street.  I believe death comes when we have served our divine purpose.  We're all here for different reasons. Some are great, noble purposes that make the 10 o'clock news.  Others are here for a  equally great, noble purposes that impact only a small circle.  I think some people spend their whole lives looking for a greater meaning when what we all are here for is really the same reason.  We're here to find God and trade a life of selfishness for a life of love and service.  It is out of love that we change the world for those who matter to us.  Lauran didn't really do anything.  She never sat up, walked, or cooed.  But her life had a purpose.  Her life changed us and we hope maybe she changed those who came to know her.

I was offered a "termination" at my 18 weeks ultrasound appointment. Since a problem with her kidneys had been detected and at the time that was all, the medical community felt a responsibility to inform us about every possible birth defect, the characteristics, and ultimate death.  Abortion wasn't even a consideration for us.  If you are reading this and have had an abortion, I am so very sorry.  I can only imagine the complete hopelessness and defeat you felt.  After Lauran died, the very next morning, we made a decision that I believe changed our very course. No matter how hard it would be, every day we would choose life.  Choosing life doesn't just happen in the doctor's office or the local planned parenthood.  It's a daily practice, and I hope you can see beyond your to do list, bills, work, and everything else that gets in the way of your joy. We can go our whole lives and never see our purpose revealed.  But if we choose to live and treat others like time with them is a gift, then we trust our purpose will be revealed when we have reached our final destination.