Saturday, March 30, 2013

At a loss...

There is nothing I can say that has not already been said.
There are no words I can write that will add to the chorus already ringing all over the world.
But I will join in the song.
I will worship my King.

For Sunday morning is coming...

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Drew ran into the house, yelling about Danny having an animal in his mouth. Assuming it was a squirrel, I walked outside to see. My heart sank when I saw bright white fur with black spots. I had a baaaaad feeling.

I ducked inside, told Drew to stay in, and sprinted across the house to the garage. I skidded to a stop at the sight of the other guinea pig...Gracie's baby... grotesquely laid out on the concrete floor. Oh. My. Word. The garage door had been left open. They had only been out there for two weeks, an attempt to have one less mess in the house. (And boy, are they messy little critters!). He had managed to pry the bottom away from the cage and was happily trotting across the yard with his bounty when Drew spotted him.
I called my hubby who was thankfully on his way home and begged him to "take care of them" before Gracie saw them. I then brought her alone into my bedroom and broke the news. Her sweet face crumpled and she burst into tears.

It broke my heart.

I reassured her that, to Danny, they were just like squirrels and that he didn't understand that they were special to her. I held her as she wept. We then buried her piggies in a blue Reebok shoebox along with a precious picture she drew for them and covered the grave with wildflowers.

"Mama, I think God let this happen now so we would have flowers," she whispered as she plucked tiny white blossoms.

We said our goodbyes and went inside. She seemed ok until a few minutes ago. I was on the phone with a friend and I saw her eyes, red and puffy. I got off the phone. "Honey, do you need to cry?"
"I already have been. In my room."
"I don't want you to cry alone. If you feel sad just come find me, ok?"
She curled up in my lap and I held her hard, lips against her hair. We talked about death. We talked about Heaven, and the people we know who await us there. We talked about how God will someday wipe every tear away and how, even now, He gives us joy even when things are hard. Just like Corrie ten Boom.
Gracie gasped. "Mom! I just thought of something! THAT is why God made you read that story to us, so that you could tell me about it now! That is so cool!"

"You are right! God always prepares us for whatever is coming. He never leaves us alone, and He catches every one of your tears in the palm of His hand."

I am so proud of my girl with the sensitive heart. I am so proud that she chooses to see God's provision and trust that He is good when bad things happen.

And I am so thankful that she was listening when I read The Hiding Place. In her little girl world, adorable guinea pigs murdered by your beloved, gentle German Shepherd is about as traumatic and confusing as it gets. If God can give Corrie joy in a concentration camp, then my sweet girl believes He can do the same for her heart that hurts tonight.

And Danny? Well, he is in the doghouse...pardon the pun. It may take a while for him to get rubbed in his sweet spot by miss Gracie again. She is a bit angry, and understandably so:)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I Read Hard Stories to my Children

I used to be one of those moms who avoided anything scary, dark, or laced with really bad guys. Violence was rarely allowed in the books and shows that I allowed my children to enjoy.  And I was that way for a very good reason.

I hated evil, and I wanted my children to be innocent for as long as possible.  I still do.

But as my family has grown and my older children near their teen years, something happened.

They became aware that evil existed, which meant my youngest ones became aware as well.

I had to make a decision.  Continue to avoid those books and stories, or confront evil head-on.  And, in confronting it head-on, what about my littles?  How do I give them the same level of shelter that my older ones had?

Or do I need to?

I realized that my younger ones are much more aware of the realities of this world than my older children were at that age because, well, they have older siblings.  They hear and see the things we talk about and they ask questions.  Big questions.

I realized that they are ready for hard stories, stories of fear and sufferning told by their mama with love, filled with God's truth, with victors who overcome and redemption as the reward for courage and sacrifice.

After all, how will they ever understand Jesus if they do not understand suffering?  And how better to give them an understanding of suffering and overcoming the impossible than through story?

Our first foray into this level of intensity was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It was definitely over their heads, right?
They got it, so much more of it than I expected.  They sensed the danger in the forests, gasped wide-eyed, as the Trolls threatened the band of misfits who pursued the dragon's treasure, and cheered when Bilbo overcame his fear and came out fighting.  Their imaginations took flight.  It was glorious.  Even for the Kindergartners.

So our next foray into reading was The Chestnut King trilogy...

Written by N.D. Wilson, it is the story of a boy named Henry who is not who he thought he was.  It is a story of transformation, terror, and triumph that had us riveted.  We read a chapter every single school day for 6 months.  Without fail, the kids would BEG me to keep reading.  They loved every scary, intense, hilarious page.
And I mean it, this series was SCARY.  Sometimes I worried that it was too intense, especially as I am very careful to avoid evil in the form of witchcraft or demonic influence in books.  But in these books, there was no clouding of the line between good and evil.  Good was gloriously good and evil was, without a doubt, evil.  (There is one curse word in book two...but it is uttered by a character who is evil personified.  Because I was reading it aloud to them, I could simply skip or replace it.)  When we finally finished the third book, we were all a little sad.
We missed Henry, Henrietta, Penelope, Uncle Frank and Aunt Dottie.  The boy who was afraid and lonely and insecure, the boy who realized there was more inside of him than he could have ever thought possible, had become a friend.    

So after three fiction read-alouds in a row, I looked for a non-fiction book.  I decided to read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

It only took us a little over two weeks to read the fifteen chapters.  But in two weeks, my children learned of the Holocaust, of suffering, of love, and of joy in the midst of the worst possible circumstances.  In two weeks, our perspective toward gratitude has been forever altered.   We fell in love with the ten Boom family, Papa, Mama, Corrie, Betsie, and Willem.  My children stared unblinking as I read of their arrest and imprisonment.  They grimaced as I read of the beds of straw, infested with fleas.  They flinched as I read of the executions, the beatings, and the Bible that was their only and greatest treasure hiding between Corrie's shoulder blades and in danger of discovery by the guards.  They watched me quizzically as I read of Betsie's death through my sobs, and of the miraculous beauty of her homegoing.   Even my youngest, my 6 and 8 year olds, grasped the miracle that took place in Corrie's heart when she forgave her captors.  

I tell you all of this to encourage you.  Don't shy away from hard stories when your children are young.  Be careful, always, taking into consideration their maturity and sensitivity.   But stories like these are life-changing.  Even if they don't grasp all the depth of meaning, they will take something away from what you are reading.  If, after two weeks, my 6 year olds only remember that "God helped Corrie to be brave" then it was worth every minute I spent reading to them. 

Because if God helped Corrie to be brave, then they can be assured that He will also help them to be brave.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Done and Done

After four days of intense basketball, our boys finished fourth in the nation.

Not too shabby, eh?

This week has been a blast. I have seen my son play at a level that amazed me. He busted moves on that court that had strangers commenting on "that little point guard."

Yep, he's little...but so is Mugsy Bogues:)

And I can say, because I contributed nothing genetically to his ball-handling awesomeness, that I am completely unbiased.


Tonight, after all the games are played and awards received, the teams will converge on a local arcade/pizza joint and party like it's 1999 until 1am! Daddy has requested I accompany the big kids to this soirée as he has to drive the 10 hour joyride through middle-of-nowhere America tomorrow. Alrighty then. But understand I will be consuming copious amount of coffee in the if I haven't already. But I digress.

Four days of ball. 4 games of screaming and fist pumping. (But never at the Referees...ok, maybe once). Five days of swimming and kids eating on the bed. This mama is TIRED. So are these kids.

But I would not trade the experience we had this week for the world. I also wouldn't complain if this tournament got shifted to, y'know, FLORIDA!

I'm just saying.

Because it snowed four inches, people, with more to come, on SPRING BREAK.

For. The. Love.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Because it is our job

One of the most fun things about road trippin' with my man is music. We break out albums long forgotten and, well, my hubby and I belt out these old songs like we are teenagers again! We somehow remember every word to every song...and thoroughly embarrass our children.

It is awesome.

Our current anthem is Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi. We totally rock.

"I don't know where I'm goin', only God knows where I been. I'm a devil on the run, a six gun lover, a candle in the wind."

Epic. You should hear this.

Road Trippin'

After months of planning and anticipation our crew is on the road to Springfield, Missouri for DJ's national basketball tournament. My boys can hardly wait to get their sneakers on the court. My girls are irritated that we are driving 10 hours north, into the cold and possible snow instead of 10 hours south to the beach!

But they will be happier when they hit the indoor pool, as will their mama:)

So we left at 7am this morning and drove for a couple of hours before stopping for breakfast. After filling hungry tummies we settled in for what we hope are a few uninterrupted hours of driving. I hooked up my IPod and from the peanut gallery came the voice of Drew (age 6) requesting ...

wait for it...

Taylor Swift!

His Daddy was disturbed. Taylor Swift? Isn't that girl music?

His sisters were elated!

I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22!

Onward ho!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Three nights in a cabin with 6 moms and 13 girls resulted in utter and complete exhaustion. Let me tell you, those cloggers know how to party!

The weekend was full to the brim with sweetness...from the precious young man with Down Syndrome dancing happily with his cheese grater and hugging his mama after every song to the man with cerebral palsy whose feet moved like lightning as he stole the stage to the song "God is not dead," worshipping with all of his might.
There were the couples who had obviously danced together for years and the old man in the crisp white shirt who knew every move to every single song. They never seemed to get tired.

Me? I learned more steps then I realized even existed and even got chills once when our group came together to dance and this girl, this 40 year old mama who has never been exactly coordinated, was keeping up. I loved every single exhausting minute.
And I have the sore muscles to prove it!

My sweet Katie danced so well and it made my heart happy to watch her be to be silly, free to be the life of the party and laugh big until the wee hours of the morning, and free to come home and crash.

Yes, friends, girlfriend slept 15 solid hours last night.


Like I said...these cloggers know how to party!

I can hardly wait til next year;)


Drew is missing those front two teeth, the mark of age 6, the trademark of all first grade pictures.  He lisps when he speaks and I can see his tongue peeking from behind and it just makes me laugh.  

He is sweetly self conscious of it, but I hope the new ones don't come in too quickly.  I so enjoy these days when my babies are hanging on to that last shred of "little kid-ness."  

How are my babies six?

Mari is missing one tooth, herself, and three more are dangling.  It will be a busy year for the toothfairy, and a bittersweet one as this mama prepares to look ahead to first grade.

Wow.  First grade.  It will be here before I know it.  Only two more months left of this precious kindergarten year.  

They are growing up and fast.  I'm so thankful to be here with them, to be allowed to witness the little every day joys of learning and love and long hours of play.  It is a blessing and a privilege to be their mama and to be allowed the joy of teaching them, to gasp in admiration when they correctly sound out words like "happy" and "cannot" and smile when they giggle at something in the story we are reading.

I wouldn't trade these days for anything.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Good morning!

We arrived last night just in time for the fun dance. Let me tell you, it lived up to its name! With me being pretty much a beginner, I just followed along the best I could and successfully embarrassed my daughter by "bustin' a move." I even invented a new move...the "wax on, wax off."

Just use your imagination:)

And I also learned, when all else fails, do the head wiggle. Yep, I embarrassed my daughter. But I think she really liked it. ;)

Care Free

She happily meanders down the curving sidewalk, excited to be given the responsibility.
She feels tall. I can tell by the way she carries herself.  Head up, arms swinging in rhythm to the song in her head, socked feet padding carefully to avoid the fallen acorns.

The mailbox door is opened and she gasps at the pile awaiting.  It is more than her little hands can carry so just-barely-bigger brother eagerly rushes to help.  Papers and envelopes dangle precariously and she exclaims "Mama, look at this white one!" because there is a package there and it is just so exciting she can hardly wait to see what has arrived for Mama and Daddy.

Carefree.  Today the smile comes easy and a bounce is in her step and my heart warms.  These are sweet days and I am grateful.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I just realized blogger has an app! I'm thinking I will be able to post much more often now! Yes, I'm probably several months/years behind the rest of the bloggy world.

Don't judge:)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


This southern girl is heading South...deeper south that is...with my big girl, Katie to the Smoky Mountain Encore in Gatlinburg, TN!

Yes, y'all.  We are going to a clogging convention!  All together now..."Bless your heart!"

There, it is out of my system.

Katie is so excited that she can hardly stand herself.  I am packing (and blogging, obviously) and trying to leave the house in some semblance of order.  

Clogging for 10 hours per day, all weekend long!  Surely it will help burn calories, right?

But I digress.

I will be taking lots of pics and will hopefully be able to share them with you.  It is going to be fun, fun, FUN!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Funk

Well, it seems we were not immune to the germs circulating around town.  Two weeks ago I was down with a nasty sinus infection, then Katie was next and missed a week of swim practice as a result.  Now it is miss Gracie, lethargic and glassy-eyed as a result of strep.

Hello?  Um, yes, I would like to request you get off your lazy bum and pay us a nice early visit.

A tired mama of sick babes.

Oh...and thank you, Lord, for antibiotics.