Dear Daughters, About your bodies…

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Dear Blessing and Gift,

Today you are 2 and 4 years old without a care in the world or a hint of modesty. In fact, bathtime is usually preceeded by 15 minutes of total nudity and running amock.

But one day in the (hopefully far) future, you will start to notice. Notice your body.  Noticing other girls bodies in school or in magazines. And you will compare.

And I know this will be hard for you to understand right now but please…don’t. Your body is a gift. A vessel to carry you through this life. Take care of it. Nuture it. Protect it. Appreciate it. But do not be deceived into thinking that YOU are your body.

“You do not have a soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body.” – C.S. Lewis

The world will tell you that what you look like is the most important thing about you, but that is a lie. Don’t be so distracted by physical attributes in yourself or in others that you miss out on seeing the beautiful heart inside. A Beautiful Soul.

Be healthy. Eat real food. Stay Active. And your body will thank you by looking its best. But don’t ever compare your best to anyone else’s. Physical health takes many different shapes and sizes. But true health is a balance of spiritual, emotional AND physical well-being.

I can promise you that as a young girl and woman your body will go through seasons of looking different. You may not like your body everyday, but you should always honor it. Never talk negatively about your body or you will start to believe those things are true about your inner self. Respect it as prized possession and appreciate what it is capable of.

“God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” 1 Cor 16:20

I’ve been where you are, and I’ve gone where you will go, and finally I am at peace with my body. It has been through many seasons, but the most unhealthy I have ever been was when I was body building. (I know-What?!) I was the picture of physical fitness but I was spiritually bankrupt and emotionally stagnant. And to top it off I had some pretty destructive physical habits. So you can’t judge a book by its cover either way. You never know what anyone is struggling with.

I have finally learned the balance of spiritual, emotional and physical health. Somehow they are all tied together. I love the way I feel when I lift weights, I love the satisfaction of a long run outside. Your body will give you what you give to it…GIVE IT LOVE. I have grown to appreciate what my body can do instead of what it looks like in the mirror. (CrossFit is my latest obsession and guess what? There are no mirrors in CrossFit gyms. I love that! It doesn’t matter!) As my favorite blogger (and friend) Swim Bike Mom so eloquently says, “I’d rather my daughter see me sweating, working and hideous more than anything else. I want her to know that “pretty” is a nice thing–but “strong” and “confident” are the things that makes women survivors in this world.”

The absolute coolest thing my body had been able to do is give birth to you. To me, it was the ultimate expression of just how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. My body may look a bit different than before I was pregnant. My belly button looks like a half-innie-half-outie-crooked-smile. And that’s ok.  Its a perfect little reminder of something amazing that my body accomplished (three times!). So I eat well and sweat and encourage this skin and flesh and bone to carry me on this journey, because I don’t want my body to give out when I have more spiritually and emotionally to give the planet. To give you.

So dear ones, if you are still shopping for bras in the junior section in your mid thirties (there is a strong genetic probability of this) Just remember what momma told you. Your body is beautiful because its yours-because its healthy and strong. You may not always like the way it looks, but you can love the way it feels.  Be proud of every curve (or lack therof) and one day when you are (much)older God will bring the perfect person into your life who will love and respect  your body too- if you love and respect it first! (Trust me on this one).

You are not your body. You are you. A beautiful you.

All my love,

Mom

“Man looketh on the outer appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

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The Yelling Jar

It seems that I may have given some of you the wrong impression of me as a mother. I sure would  like to think I have my stuff together for the most part, but the truth is I struggle.

I’ve written about lots of things I’ve learned so far in my life, little bits of wisdom I hope to pass on to my kids, but I think its time I come clean about one of the MANY things I haven’t figured out yet…It’s only fair so my kids won’t grow up thinking I’m a saint. HA! My kids know better than that. (Actually, Mr. Right that knows better than anyone.) I’ve learned that marriage exposes your faults and having children exposes the rest. I had no idea I was so impatient, selfish, moody etc. until I had a family. Wow. But that’s not the worst of it- deep in my  heart there is an ugly spot. A spot I keep hidden most of the time.

I could blame it on this particular time of my life that is bringing out the worst of me… I’m in the thick of it with a 5, 3 and 2 year-old. This parenting stuff is WAY harder than I thought it would be.  Its an interesting dichotomy. Beautiful and Hard.  Blissful and Brutal. The good times are absolute heaven and the bad times are…well…I wouldn’t go that far.  But here is where I lose my temper. I get SO frustrated at times that I’m even embarrassed to admit it. These children are after all- tiny little lunatics with no agenda except to play and be kids. And we play. I will give myself credit for being a fun mom. A silly mom. A creative mom. We play and laugh and love most of the time…but sometimes mommy has had enough.  After multiple (calm) pleadings with no success, I can feel it rising in my throat. I don’t want to do it but I do it anyway.

I YELL. I’m a yell-er. I’m a yell-aholic.

I am ashamed to admit it but sometimes my children drive me crazy and I unnecessarily raise my voice at them. I get their attention, but it makes me feel like crap. And then one day I read this verse:

“Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly;

the prudent quietly shrug off insults.” -Proverbs 12:16 The Message

And I felt like I was slapped in the face. That describes me.  I “explode all too quickly”. I don’t know why I’m like this. I feel like I’m surrounded by “good” mothers who are calm and have just as many or more children that I do. They seem to brush things off WAY better than me. I can’t stand that I have such a short fuse-especially with those closest to me. My mom says that I have always been “feisty” but I know that while feisty may have been cute when I was a kid, I have found that it hasn’t done me much good as an adult.  I wish I could just snap my fingers and be the calm center I want to be for my family, but a lot of the time I’m not.

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It kills me when I hear my kids yelling at eachother. How do you discipline a child for bad behavior that they learned from you? You can’t. And I don’t believe in the “do what I say, not what I do” theory of parenting. I strongly believe that my actions speak louder so I strive to be the godly example that I have been called to be for my children. And it’s a difficult task. I even started a “yelling jar” in our house (like the swear jar in yours), and half the coins are mine. I guess you could say I am a recovering yell-aholic. I can go days at a time without yelling and then I will have a relapse.

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28

 I realize that there are two basic readers of this blog, those that are appaled by the idea of me yelling at my sweet kids and those that are empathetic. To the first group I say, “I’m sorry” and if it weren’t for confessionals of other moms like The Orange Rhino  who struggle with yelling at their kids I would feel like a total failure. (She’s actually been yell-free for over 600 days now! Go Orange Rhino!)And to the second group of you who understand my predicament and empathize with me because well…parenting is friggin’ hard I say, “Yes, parenting IS hard but I still should never yell.”  My kids being absolute lunatics may explain my yelling but it does not excuse it.

If there is a silver lining in this at all its this: There is a lot of asking for forgiveness in my house. When I do raise my voice at them I follow it quickly with an apology. “Mommy yelled didn’t she?” “Yes.” “How did that make you feel?” “Sad.” “I’m sorry I made you sad. I should never yell. I’m sorry”. “It’s ok mommy.” Smiles and hugs follow. I don’t deserve such forgiveness but my kids are amazing. Days later I’ll hear one of them apologizing to the other for something and I think, “Thank you Lord, for turning my ugly into something beautiful. Forgiveness is hard for adults but their little hearts are learning it now.”

Recently there was an awesome video going around about what kids really think of their mothers. I watched it and cried. It had been a particularly stressful day at work for me and so Keenan asked the kids, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a bad mommy and 10 being a super-great mommy, What number is Mommy?” Andre, my drama king said, “1000!” Selah, my thinker, said, “11!”, and Amera said, “8”,which is just the biggest number she can say but she’s probably right. I’ll take an 8.

Despite my short-comings as a mother I know I am loved by a  perfect Heavenly Father, who parents me with grace. Who calls me to live in such proximity to Him that there starts to become a family resemblance:  Slow to Anger. Abounding in love and mercy. So, I am working on me. Or better yet, I am walking with Him so that (hopefully) by the time my kids are old enough to read this, they will say, “What?, You Mom?, I never remember you getting angry!” I hope. I pray. I put coins in the jar and ask for forgiveness from these little hearts He’s entrusted me with. And I choose to believe that He knew what He was doing when he made me their mother.

 “Are there those among you who are truly wise and understanding? Then they should show it by living right and doing good things with a gentleness that comes from wisdom.”- James 3:13

Dear Kids, (about intimacy…)

So I’m sure by now you are 18 and have mustered up the courage to read this blog your mother wrote about Intimacy. I know no one wants to think about their parents this way. I understand. So let me set your minds at ease: this isn’t really about “that”. Although that is part of it, I can assure you that we don’t. Well, there are one…two…three of you so I guess three times. That’s it. So stop thinking about it.

This week is our 10th wedding anniversary. I met your Dad on the beach 15 years ago and we’ve been together ever since. He pointed out actually that we have been together for almost half of our lives! So, we’ve pretty much grown up together in a lot of ways. Here is a picture of us from one of our first dates:

Ellijay, GA 1998
Ellijay, GA 1998

Don’t laugh. Ok, I know that’s impossible. There is so much crazy going on in this picture. Don’t say, “OMG, that is embarrassing”, because we are embarrassed of it. I made sure I got your Dads permission to share this photo. (No, he is not sitting on me. I’m crouched down…forget it.) Once you get past the gorgeous blonde doing the double bicep pose, you will notice the child-I mean young woman who is your mother. (You may have noticed the cow first I don’t know…) And before you give Dad any grief about wearing hammer pants (MC Hammer was a rapper…nevermind.  Just listen to the oldies you’ll hear it.), and a fanny pack, just know that I was wearing a fanny pack also. And my fly was about a foot long. This was back when whoever had the longest fly had the hottest jeans. And by now you may be thinking “Who took that picture?” Well, it was actually his camera on a timer. On the top of his white Honda Accord. Hey-love has to start somewhere.

We were crazy about each other then, and we are still crazy about each other now. We know everything about each other and that is my definition of intimacy: to fully know someone and be fully known by them. No secrets. Since the beginning of our relationship we have been open and honest with each other even when it was hard to do. He knows everything about me. The good. The bad. And the ugly. I know the same about him. I think this kind of transparency is crucial to the intimacy of a relationship. I know this may seem impossible, and I realize you can’t have honesty without safety. That’s why it is so important to find someone who will guard and take care of your heart, so you can share all of it with them.

August 2003
August 2003

Society will tell you that intimacy is only one thing-physical. That is so untrue! (not that we do that sort of thing…) Intimacy is physical, emotional and spiritual. When one of these areas suffers the other parts suffer. A marriage will thrive if you both are actively working in all three areas of intimacy. Every other weekend your Dad takes me on a date. And every other weekend you guys cry and say, “We don’t want you to go on a date!” But we go anyway. Because we see the value in spending (quiet) time together. We go out to eat and talk about work, triathlon, crossfit, and you guys. We get to know each other all over again. We stay interesting, and interested. We invest in each other emotionally.

We pray together. We pray for one another. We pray for our family. We pray that we will always be growing closer to God and therefore (since He put us together)we will be growing closer to each other. We believe that if God is the center of our marriage we can weather any storm. We’ve been through some hard times. The first few years of marriage weren’t the “bliss” we expected. We both see in hindsight that God was using those hard times to build a strong bond between us and a complete reliance on Him. And even now, our close friends will tell you that as much as we are crazy about each other, we drive each other crazy. Me and Mr. Right are complete opposites, and struggle in our communication, but we know its worth the fight.

August 2013

So to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary we are renewing our wedding vows. The vows that we said when we were young(er) and before we understood the weight of them. For better, or for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and health.  This is some heavy stuff. Marriage isn’t easy. But as someone once said, “When a marriage works, nothing on earth can take its place“. I feel as excited as I did on our actual wedding day except instead of hopes and dreams I know exactly who I am marrying. I am marrying a man who loves Jesus first and me second. I’m marrying a man who is leading our family to walk in Biblical principles. A man who speaks my love language daily, and knows my basic needs are food, sleep and compliments.  A man who knows every constellation of freckles on my body. (Oops. Sorry). I’m marrying a man who encourages me to be my true self, because he thinks that person is beautiful. Someone who can laugh hysterically with me about a ridiculous picture of us from 15 years ago. A man I know everything about and who knows everything about me.

That is true intimacy. That is what I pray for the three of you to find someday.

Love, love, love,

Mom

Dear kids: I don’t just want you to be happy

Dear Kids,

One of my most favorite things in the world is when you smile, but you will never hear me say in regard to your life choices, “I just want you to be happy.” Of course I would like for you to be happy, but if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that happiness is fleeting. One bad day. A broken heart. Happiness comes and goes. As your mom, I hope (and pray) that your life is filled with happiness, but not at the expense of Truth. The truth is, I don’t just want you to be happy…I want you to walk in Truth:

 Not my Truth. Not your Truth. But the Truth. God’s Truth.

“Truth by definition is exclusive”- Ravi Zacharias

When he left the earth Jesus didn’t say, “And remember, I just want you guys to be happy”. That seems kind of silly actually. So where did we come up with that? The World is on a quest for happiness. So we fill our lives with comfort, pleasures and anything that will make us happy. And then when those things don’t make us happy anymore we get new things, different things. And when hard times come, when bad things happen, we don’t understand it.

The joy of the Lord is my strength- Nehemiah 8:10

This is an interesting verse. Nehemiah says this to a group of people who are “weeping”. Why would you need strength if you have joy? Maybe because you might not be happy. There is a difference. Happiness floats in and out of our lives while joy can be constant in the face of sorrow when we abide in the Lord.

So, part of my job as your parent is to teach you to walk in Truth even when things don’t go your way, even when walking in Truth doesn’t make you happy. To stay the course when things get uncomfortable instead of fleeing to the safety of passing comforts, of temporary happiness. To be happy is wonderful, but don’t let it be your goal. People use happiness as an excuse for making bad decisions. In other words, Don’t follow your heart… Lead it!

 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? –Jer.17:9

I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. (because I see no reason for sickness, abuse, death…) But I do believe that God works all things for the good of those who love him. The problem is that we have a skewed definition of what “good” means. Good, as defined by the world is synonymous with pleasure, comfort, happiness etc. But I think that “good” to our Heavenly Father is anything that draws us closer to Jesus. And that might be something bad. I don’t mean that God sends bad things our way, just that he has a way of healing the broken things in our lives to make something beautiful.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth. –3 John 1:4

God’s Truth is aligning yourself with the person of Jesus. It is keeping in step with his Spirit inside you. It is leading your heart until it looks like His and cares about what His heart cares about. This is my hearts desire for you; for Jesus to be your heart’s desire. I want you to walk in this Truth regardless of how your heart feels.

So if my deepest desire as your mom is that you will walk in Truth with the Spirit, how will I feel about you if you aren’t walking in Truth?

I. Will. Love. You. Forever.

No matter what you do I will love and pray for you. If there is a season in your life that you seek happiness above holiness I will love you exactly the same as I always have. My love is unconditional, because my heavenly Father’s love for me is unconditional. How can true love be anything less than the Father’s love for us?

So now listen to me, my children: live by my ways and you will find true happiness.

Proverbs 8:32 -Lady Wisdom

(& your Mom)

The Ocean

The Ocean

(for my Selah, who makes me pause and ponder)

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I am the Ocean.

I’ve been here since day three,

Created from a Word to reflect the Creator.

 

I stretch from land to land,

                                Watching…

                                                Listening…

 

I’ve seen people come and go.

I’ve met family you’ve only seen in pictures,

and  before pictures existed.

 

Erasing their footprints for yours,

and yours for more to come.

New faces.

                Same desires.

 

I hear laughter, and feel tears.

                I keep secrets.

Capturing them on the shore,

and carrying them back into the deep.

 

               The sand,

The sun…

reminders to be salt and light.

 

The people and the landscape change,

but the dreams remain the same:

To Love and to be Loved.

 

 Come Sit.

                Come Listen.

I’ll whisper to you your true name.

Do you hear it?

 

 I am the Ocean.

                I watch.

I listen.

I hear the deepest longings of your heart,

and I know the Answer.

               LOVE.

I’ve known Him since day three.

Who Am I?

I’ve recently started Crossfit.  Its been a long time but I am remembering the taste of competition, the potential to be Bonnie the Crossfitter. Their branding is “I Am Crossfit”. Now I know that it is just a marketing slogan, and they aren’t suggesting that Crossfit sums up their identity.  (To be honest most of Crossfitters I have met are very well-rounded and interesting in a they-probably-drink-Dos- Equis kind of way.) But it reminded me of my struggle with my identity.

Who am I?

I know who I used to be. I used to be Bonnie the Class President. Bonnie the Weightlifter.  Bonnie the Singer. Bonnie the Bodybuilder. I used to be a lot of things that brought me recognition and that I identified with.  I loved being on stage singing and being on the platform  in a weightlifting competition. Like everyone, I enjoy an accolade.  I liked the attention and it gave me a lot of confidence when I was young.  And each of those roles that I played were good, but the problem was…they ended.

Olympic Lifting
Olympic Lifting

School ended and the real world began. I was no longer an athlete. I lost my singing voice (another blog, another day). I graduated from Georgia Tech and still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Who the H-E-double hockey sticks am I?!?!  I guess you could say it was a quarter-life crisis.

In my past life.
In my past life.

When I married Mr. Right I thought, “This is it. I will now feel complete and happy being Bonnie the Wife. Well…after a couple rough years and some counseling I finally understood that he wasn’t going to make me happy. Don’t get me wrong-my husband is my most favorite way that God chooses to loves me, but I needed to be complete and happy with myself. Jerry McGuire had it all wrong. Nobody can complete me. No talent or career or hobby or relationship can complete me.  I am complete. Marriage works a lot better like that by the way-just ask Mr. Right. Now he’s just my cherry on top.

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My Cherry on Top (hubba hubba!)

I thought I had this finally figured out until we had difficulty conceiving our first child. I had convinced myself after months and months of trying to get pregnant that I was not going to be happy (complete) until I was a mom. I was so angry with God that he was making me go through this…Doesn’t He know how much I want to be Bonnie the Mom?! It was through that difficulty that I heard him whisper to me, I AM ENOUGHBut God what if I NEVER have kids? I AM ENOUGH. But what if someone I love decides they don’t love me any more? I LOVE YOU. But what if I’m never on stage again and no one is clapping for me? I SEE YOU. What if my body doesn’t allow me to compete in sports again? I VALUE YOU. I AM ENOUGH.

More Cherries!
More Cherries!

Its easy to get your identity wrapped up in something that is transformative. A Talent.  A Hobby.  A Relationship.  A Career. All good things. The problem is that they are temporal, and when you attach your self worth to something temporal you become disappointed with life.

I have learned that to truly enjoy the extras in life (a smokin’ hot husband, three adorable children etc.), you have to be  “full cup”. Or, you have to have your cup filled by the One who knows exactly what fits inside. Then everything else is overflow. Blessings.

All that really matters.
All that really matters.

I would love to kick some booty in Crossfit, but everyone’s booty will have to wait while I nurse a shoulder injury. Just another reminder that these things of life are fleeting.  And if it turns out that I’m no good at Crossfit- well that’s ok too because…

I know who I am.

I am…LOVED. By a Perfect Heavenly Father who has promised me a life with no pain to never leave me. HE IS ENOUGH.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33

100 Proof

So people have been asking me why I don’t drink. That’s a lie-no one has asked me that. But I thought I would explain my reasons for the sake of my kids and anyone else who might be curious.  So here is the answer to your non-question… 🙂

“Why do I feel this good sober?”-Pink

Have you ever seen the A&E show called Intervention? It’s a documentary type show that follows an addict (for an hour plus commercials) through their terrible addicted life and ends with a real intervention. Their family and friends confront them with letters and tears, pleading for them to get help. The addict is usually at rock bottom by this point and is in pretty bad shape. I’m sure the camera adds 10 pounds of nasty , but lets just say no one is looking their best if you know what I mean. Bad complexion, disheveled clothing etc. Well, I have short hair and CANNOT risk having a bad complexion-the two just do not mix! So that’s my reason for not drinking. No bad complexion here… not on my watch! Kidding.

For serious-I’m sure most people watch that show and think, “How can someone spiral so out of control like that?” When I watched it (I don’t anymore) I always thought to myself, “How many drinks away am I to losing control?” I never thought of myself as an alcoholic. I could “put it down” for days, weeks at a time. No one knew that I struggled with alcohol. Scratch that. My husband knew. And I knew that he struggled with it as well. We’ve straightened up a lot about our lives in the 15 years we’ve been together, but alcohol is so socially acceptable it was hard to fathom giving it up. It was our last drug and by golly we deserved to have a (a lot to) drink every now and then (every night)!

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Let’s get this straight-I don’t have a problem with alcohol in general. (So stop getting defensive)I have a problem with me drinking it. I could justify the heck out of it, but I couldn’t shut up the voice in my heart telling me to quit. I quietly and secretly pleaded with myself to get it together. One morning during a déjà vu conversation about the way too many drinks the day/night before, Mr. Right asked me, “Do you think God wants us to stop drinking?” I got angry. (I’ve since then discovered about myself that my first reaction to an uncomfortable truth is anger. Hmm.) “Whats God got ta do…got ta do with it?” I asked Tina Turner style. But I knew he was right. (Of course he was. duh.) The Truth was: I liked alcohol a lot too much. This changed everything for me. You see, I’ve deliberately disobeyed God before and paid dearly for it. Still paying actually. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Not that I expected lightning to strike me- I just wanted to be in His will. I knew I was finished drinking.

That was June 8, 2009. We’ve been sober ever since. Oh yeah-Mr. Right gave it up too. We’ve always had the Chris Rock philosophy on marriage, “If one of you smokes crack the other has to smoke crack too!” Except we were laying down the pipes…um wine glasses. I figured the only way I could 100 Proof (you see what I did there?) my life from being featured on Intervention is to stop drinking altogether. No one on that show had intentions of being an addict.  But I have intentions. I have intentions on writing my pre-biography. Things I want included and things I don’t. I have no room for alcohol in my life anymore. So one day when my kids are telling their story, they may say, “my mom was a spaz” or ” my mom was a looney bird”, but “my mom was a drunk” will never come out of their mouths. And that makes me happy.

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Yeah- I was worried about what people might think. Would I still be “fun”? Then I remembered back to a conversation I had with a good friend who doesn’t drink. Not because she has a sob story, or because she’s been through AA, but because she saw the danger in it for herself and decided not to. Well, she’s pretty much the life of the party so there goes that theory. (Plus I make an awesome designated driver!) My life, my marriage, my relationships are so much better sober. There is no down side for me. In fact, a few days after Mr. Right and I made our Big Decision, I found out I was pregnant. A surprise since we had struggled to have our first. Call me crazy, but I took it as a sign. We named her Selah, from the Bible which means “to pause and ponder” (or as she will tell you, “to stop and think”). And that’s exactly what I do every time I look at her- My Blessing. I stop and think about what my life might have looked like had I decided differently. And then I stop and think of all the blessings that have come from that One Decision. Not the least of which is a clear head, and a clear conscience. Oh- and a fabulous complexion.  And I’ll drink to that! 🙂

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty- Proverbs 22:3

Dear Kids: Why we hope you turn out weird

Dear Kids,

Parenting is the hardest thing your dad and I have ever been faced with. Its fun to imagine having kids, but it’s a whole other thing to actually have them and feel the responsibility. We do not take this job lightly. We’ve weighed every decision since the moment you were born:  Do we let them cut the cord immediately, or wait until it stops pulsing?  Do we let them sleep in our beds or cry it out in their own rooms? Do we vaccinate or not? Daily we are faced to make decisions on your behalf and moment by moment we second guess ourselves.

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But some decisions come easily.

Some things will just not happen in the Clark house. There are some TV shows (intended for young viewers) that are not acceptable to watch, even if your friends watch them. The world is ok with violent video games- they will never be allowed in our house. (You’re lucky if any video games are allowed…read a book.) PG-13 does not mean you can watch the movie when you turn 13. It means mom and dad will screen it first and get back to you. We love dancing and singing in this house, but some songs I better never hear on your ipod. Some clothing may not be acceptable to wear. Turning 16 and passing the test does not mean you are allowed to drive on the roads. Hopefully passing the “Clark Driving Test” coincides with this birthday. Emailing, texting, facebooking, and whatever-else-ing is cool to do when your older DOES NOT count as interaction. You must have physical friends and actually interact for it to be considered a healthy relationship. We were designed for community. Real and Authentic. Not virtual.  Can you spend the night at a friend’s house when members of the opposite sex will be there as well? No. Oh, but so-and-so’s mom will be chaperoning? Still no. Will I buy you alcohol before you turn 21? Are you kidding me?

Here’s the deal. We love you like crazy and we want you to live the best life that you can, and we believe that that means going against the gravitational pull of today’s culture. We want you to be made up of different stuff than “most kids”. (Here’s a parenting secret: We want to give you everything, but we won’t, because we know better. ) We have no problem telling you “No.” You will hear it eventually and we’d rather it be from us now rather than from a cop later. So go ahead and whine and complain that “everybody else can”. You cannot. We filter our decisions through our beliefs and not through the general acceptance of society.

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“But as for me (we) and my (our) family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NLT

Will some of your friends think you are weird because you aren’t allowed to do some of the things they are allowed to do? Yes. (We hope they aren’t friends for long) Will you be made fun of because you can’t go watch a certain movie or play a certain computer game? Maybe. Are you going to automatically be weird because we’ve decided (for now anyway) to homeschool? Well, if Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Venus & Serena Williams, Michelle Kwan, Dave Thomas, C. S. Lewis, Mozart & Einstein are/were weird, then fine. It’s a label I’m willing to live with. Oh- and don’t you judge anyone else for what their parents have decided is best for them either. We are all parenting to the best of our abilities, knowledge, and convictions.

funny

The dictionary defines the word weird as “involving the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny”. Exactly. We are called to be in the world but not of it. So if the world is headed in one direction, we will do our best to point you in the opposite one. We want you to be so full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23), that you stand out in a dark world. So here we go, doing our best at this most important job- parenting. Will we get it all right? Nope. No parent ever has. But we will love you extravagantly, give you everything that you want need, and hope you turn out weird.

love, love, love,

Mom & Dad

The Whisper

I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:17

I gave you a name.

A beautiful name to start you on your journey, but I know it is only temporary .

A whisper of your true name.

Everyone’s life is filled with whisper, you just have to listen for it.

Birth is the first. Your welcome to the world. Did you hear it?

A sunrise, a crashing wave, a perfect harmony. All whispers of who you truly are.

Listen for it when you are young, and learn to fill your life with moments of whisper.

How do you know when you’ve heard it? You will know.

Your heart fills with joy as you close your eyes to memorize the moment.

Listen. Right then, when you discovered what you were made for.

The head acknowledges the heart. A quiet whisper.

My greatest prayer is to help you hear your whisper, because I know when I do, I’ll hear mine too.

The first time I saw you close your eyes upon hearing beautiful music,

the moment I watched your talent become a gift, I knew I witnessed the whisper.

One day we will be given a new name. Our true name. Written on a white stone.

The name I gave you will pale in comparison to the beauty of the name that perfectly describes you.

Who else could sum up all that is you in one beautiful name?

The One who knows your heart.

Your true name will sound familiar and complete, and on that day your heart will be content.

As you rest in the fullness of being known.

Listening to the voice of your Beloved…no longer a whisper.

In the thick of it

My tiny little lunatics
My tiny little lunatics

On our last vacation with the kids, we were on the beach when one of my kids ran over to play with a child from another family. When I went over to make sure there would be no usurping of toys, I struck up a conversation with the mother.  She had twin girls around 3 years old and we were chatting about the challenges of having little ones. After talking about the beautiful difficulties-she said something I will never forget, ”I like being in the thick-of-it”. Interesting way to describe this fleeting time in my life.  In the thick of it.

That is where I am. I guess I never thought about it that way. With a 4 year-old, a two-year-old and an infant, I am definitely in the thick of it. Sure I know that one day I will have 3 teenagers and a whole new set of challenges, but I really believe that it is my everyday with three small children that I will one day look back on and think, “Wow. How did I do that?” They need me for everything. And they all need different things. Sometimes I feel like there is not enough mommy to go around. (By the way, when I say me I most definitely mean we. I don’t know what I would do without Mr. Right.)

Incessant activity.  My kids don’t give me a break, and I can never clock out. Sometimes at the end of day I think, “Does he really have to sing the “toothbrush tango” everytime he brushes his teeth? Or, Do I really have to gallop down the hall again with her riding piggy back to her room? I’m so tired.” But I listen. And I gallop. Because one day I’ll miss those things.  In fact, if I could go back in time to any point in my life, it would be to that last sentence. I am living the life today that I will one day look back on and long for again. As The 10,000 Maniacs put it so well in their song, “These are the days …you’ll remember. ” I am in the thick of it. And there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

When I feel overwhelmed with this most important job of mothering, I remind myself that the good news is the same as the bad: these days won’t last forever. Today I am making memories that will fill my heart with bitter-sweet joy in the future. Crazy, messy, joyful, loud and full of laughter days that I will want to relive.  So tonight, I smiled and listened patiently to both verses of the “toothbrush tango”, I read an extra story in the Bible, and I galloped so hard I almost bucked her off as she laughed wildly. And I memorized the moment. Tucked away for another day.

I like being in the thick of it.