Doin' It Halfway Since 1996

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

Category Archives: Parenting

Never Beyond: On Forgiving Absent Parents

This post is a response to the Never Beyond poster series from People of the Second Chance. The question: Who would you forgive?

All week I’m posting on forgiveness, grace, and second chances. Join me?

POTSC Never Beyond Poster - Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony.

If you don’t know who she is, I’d be surprised. Her trial was one of the most highly televised trials in our country’s history. Twitter and Facebook allowed for to-the-minute updates about testimonies, and ultimately her verdict. I barely followed the trial. I was on vacation when I heard she was not guilty. BUT I heard about her. I knew the gist of the case. I understood why people were so angry when she received a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

The trial revolved around her lying, her excessive partying, the absence of remorse that her daughter was missing, and then evidence showing that she killed her own child.

The prosecution could not prove to a jury that she did it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So, today, she walks free.

A lot of people are mad about that.

When I consider Casey Anthony, grace, and second chances, I’m forced to reconcile my opinions about absent parents.

You know, the ones who left. The ones who checked out emotionally. The ones who’ve shrugged their responsibilities and expected someone else to pick up the slack. Even the one who the entire world just “knows” killed her own daughter.

I believe parenting is one of the highest responsibilities we as humans can have. We are supposed to love our children. Protect them. Give them the best that we can give. I take my responsibility very seriously.

I’ve known a few absent parents in my day. I don’t like them.

If you know me at all, if you’ve spent any time with me fact to face, you know about one in particular. You know how I feel about her, about how she acts, about what she did, about who she is.

If you don’t know me personally, let’s just say that my opinion of this particular person is low. I’ve yelled at her like I’ve never yelled at another human being. I’ve said things to her and about her I never thought I would say. I find her to be the worst brand of parent. I have placed at the same level others have placed Casey Anthony. Without classifying it as such, I’d say that if I were to hate another person, how I feel about her is as close to hate as I can get.

Those are not words of a person redeemed by grace.

The truth is that a person who embraces grace should never feel that way about another human being. A person who embraces grace loves. A person who embraces grace forgives.

But for this particular woman, I’ve drawn the line in the sand. I’ve put her into a box labeled, “unforgivable” thrown it on some random storage shelf in the back of my mind and tried to forget all the horrible things that transpired in our dealings with each other.

I put her in that box because it’s easier to focus on all her faults than to accept my own blame. It’s easier to focus on how much I think of the awful things she did than to own up to my own sin. It’s easier to nitpick at all her splinters and attempt to hold them up to my plank and say, “See! She’s so much worse than I am.”

But when I think about People of the Second Chance, when I think about Never Beyond, when I think about Casey Anthony, I’m wondering if it’s time to get that box back out, sort through every single heart-wrenching reality, accept what happened, forgive her, forgive myself, and move on.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do that. I’m still very mad and hurt by everything that happened.

I still wear it on my sleeve like a combat badge because I want the world to see how I was wounded in the battle, but I still survived the war.

I want people to agree with me, to tell me I’m in the right, that it’s ok to still be mad.

I want to give up on this woman who I consider to be as bad as everyone thinks Casey Anthony is.

But that’s not what grace looks like, does it?

God hasn’t given up on me. God hasn’t given up on Casey Anthony. And God hasn’t given up on the woman at whom I can’t seem to stop pointing my finger.

I have held onto this anger and it has become a millstone around my neck. I’ve fallen further and further into the depths of my own self-righteousness. I’m drowning myself in my own bitterness and self-pity. To hold on to this is to dig my own grave.

My duty isn’t to judge and evaluate every single action, weighing it against some high moral code that I myself can’t even reach. My job, no my privilege, is to forgive. Not once. Not twice. But seventy time seven. To remember what happened, to confess it, to lay it down at the cross, and realize that everything that happened is cancelled debt.

Cancelled debt. Paid for. Made new. Whole. Restored. Reconciled. Renewed. Holy and blameless in His sight.

That’s what forgiveness looks like. That’s what grace makes us.

Both of us.

Her AND Me.

Who is your unforgivable person? What would it look like if you forgave?

To Breastfeed (in public) or not?

Tomorrow is trash/recycling day. I’m gathering it all for Destination: Curb and something caught my eye as I was making sure I didn’t miss any coupons from Sunday’s paper.

This article about a woman who was approached about her choice to breastfeed in public.

Here’s an interview that a local news station did with her (by the way, my favorite part of this news story is the guy with the beard at the end of the interview – he’s so salt of the earth, matter of fact. Love it).

I tried to find out and see if the “nurse-in” actually happened, but I can’t find that anyone did a story on it. I haven’t seen evidence that it happened, or that it was as big a deal as the news made it out to be.

I am a proponent of breastfeeding. I nursed all three of my babies longer than most women do (I used to lament joke about how I had been pregnant or nursing without break for five years). I used to nurse in public, but I was most always discreet about doing it. I had a homemade nursing cover that I kept in my diaper bag. If I ever did have to nurse in public, I did so in a way that few people actually knew or could tell what I was doing.

I appreciate the irony that this woman pointed out, that what she was doing was much less offensive and inappropriate as the Victoria’s Secret ad she sat near (that’s another post entirely). I also appreciate that she takes her right to breastfeed so seriously.

However, I don’t believe a nurse-in will change the minds of those who are against breastfeeding in public.

The point of a nurse-in, from what I can tell, is to throw breastfeeding in the face of naysayers. It’s to say, “Look at me, I’m exercising my rights and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Or, in other words, “Nanny nanny boo boo. I’m lactating and I can nurse. Let me shove it in your face.”

How does this help the cause of breastfeeding? All it does is make those who are uncomfortable with mothers who breastfeed in public even more against and uncomfortable with it. I believe that breastfeeding mothers should ere on the side of discretion when it comes to nursing in public.

The bottom line is that people aren’t bothered by a mother with a baby. Or a baby who is eating.

The problem most people have with breastfeeding in public is that the mother’s ta-tas might accidentally make an appearance. A child might see them. Someone’s husband might notice. Impressionable teenage boys might catch a glimpse.

Therein lies the problem, folks.

While I’m sure there are very few exceptions, the majority of lactating women aren’t exhibitionists. Women who breastfeed don’t wear sexy, lacy bras. Nursing bras are functional. And I can tell you from experience, I never felt sexy in one. Breastfeeding mothers don’t see their breasts as an opportunity to get men to lust after them (as, say, the aforementioned Victoria’s Secret models). They see their breasts as a body part with a function that coincides with mothering. And that’s it.

However, society, in general, sees breasts as serving a sexual purpose, and therefore, are inappropriate anywhere but on a porn video and in the bedroom.

Until we can change the idea that breasts only = sex, breastfeeding in public will be an issue.

Until men stop making sexual objects of women and their body parts, breastfeeding in public will be an issue.

Until ALL women (breastfeeding or not) learn how to be modest so that men can stop making sexual objects of women and their body parts, breastfeeding in public will be an issue.

Balancing my Caps

I’m going to try to make this short. Seriously. Stop laughing. I can write a short post. I can!

Honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately.

I’m sitting here, at 10 p.m., just 27 minutes after sticking a turkey in the oven to cook (yes, I did), I’m wondering if I’m ever going to find a way to divide my time evenly and prioritize my responsibilities.

I’m a night owl (obviously, I mean, I’m cooking at 10 p.m.), but I want to be a morning person. Or at least I think I need to become a morning person. I’m not good at breakfast. I’ve found a crutch in caffeine. If my morning goes badly (which it almost always does), it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I wonder if I’m ever going to figure this out?

I can sit down and write out lists and plans and schedules for myself, but I won’t follow them (believe me, I’ve tried). Or, I’ll start and do well for a few days. Then by day five or six I’ll fizzle and wonder what happened.

Balance. How do I balance all the caps that I wear on my head? Because most of the time, those caps must be worn simultaneously, no matter how much they clash with each other (wife, mother, cook, housekeeper, teacher, chauffeur, etc.). Then I have a whole pile of caps that I want to put on, but can find little or no available time to get them out of the closet and wear them (writer, long-distance runner, sewer, decorator). I feel like the peddler in “Caps for Sale” precariously walking down the road of life, ever so slowly and carefully, as to not disturb the caps on my head.

I try to sit down for a rest and the monkeys in the tree (I happen to have three) grab them all off of my head and scatter them all about. I get to the same point as the peddler, without words, shaking my fists and jumping up and down.


Oh goodness.

I find myself undone. Throwing a fit. Letting my inner toddler out. She’s not cute. No, not at all.

I find myself, at the end of the day, cooking a turkey and pondering the turning point of the day that took me down the road that led me to the tree, that let the monkeys take all the caps off my head, that led to my undoing.

Yet, in the midst of all those caps, it’s missing. The cap labeled “Child of God” is nowhere to be found (it’s probably underneath a pile of laundry or in a bag of canned goods I have yet to put away). For some reason, I forget that all this balancing I’m doing is just another prideful way to say, “I can do it without you God.” I forget that all these caps don’t have to sit precariously on my head, teeter tottering as I walk down the road. He offers to carry them. Why don’t I let him? Why don’t I give up all these caps and let him give them to me as HE sees fit? Even more, why don’t I stop to rest at HIS feet, instead of some random tree (called Netflix, youtube, facebook, itunes – you get the point).

I don’t know. I can’t give you a reason other than that I’m a sinful, broken person. I’m forgetful. Like the Children of Israel, I so often forget that I’ve been delivered and given blessing upon blessing. My tunnel vision leads me to complaint after complaint and a spirit of ungratefulness that forgets that grace is enough.

Grace is enough to carry me through the next hour and fifteen minutes until the turkey I started too late at night is finished cooking. It’s enough to carry me through the rest of the night. It’s enough to get me out of bed to put on that mother hat. It’s enough to show me the best way to teach my daughter. It’s enough to finally fold and put away all the laundry sitting in piles in the play room. It’s enough. It’s enough. It’s enough.

MiniMe

My mother and my Grandmother agree that she is my little clone, that she looks just like I did when I was her age.

No wonder so many people love me. I hope that in addition to inheriting my striking good looks and winning personality, she also inherits my, ahem, modesty.

Have a happy Wednesday, people. Be back tomorrow. I’m working on some good stuff for the next few days.

Stop over to parentingbydummies.com to link up your Wordful Wednesday posts.

2011, I look forward to meeting you

I’m not a resolution girl. I try and try and try to make them, and well, being halfway and all, they just don’t work out. So, this isn’t a resolution post, even though I’m excited for what 2011 will bring. It HAS to be better than 2010. So many frustrating/difficult/exhausting/overwhelming things happened in 2010. I just have to say that I’m glad that 2010 is over and 2011 is here with the promise of a New Year.

This post is mainly an excuse apology post explaining my absence from mid-December on.

We left a week or so before Christmas on a back and forth and back and forth trip to visit our families in the Midwest. I was consumed with all things holiday (gifts, good food, family, friends, and not in that order particularly). My mother and I are in the VERY beginning stages of the ideas of what could be an incredible book and/or book series, which is really exciting overall. I don’t even know how to go about starting to get into the book business, but this idea has the potential to be incredible. In the midst of all that, Hubs and I came to a decision we’ve been mulling over for years.

After next week, we will be a homeschooling family. There is some paperwork involved into being able to homeschool legally in the state that we live. So I’ve been consumed with that lately. And the blog, it got sidelined. Love blogging and love the blogging community, but it had to be put on hold while life happened.

But, I’m back. And now I have a whole new topic to add to the mix. It’s overwhelming and scary, but also exciting and full of promise. It was not a decision we came to lightly, not at all. But we feel led to do it. When the Lord calls to obedience, it’s a serious offense to ignore. So, I’m stepping out in faith (or jumping off the ledge, if you read my last post) and trusting that this is the right thing to do. The next few months will be full of trial and error, AND a lot of praying, I am sure.

On a totally different note:

My GPS was stolen from my minivan tonight from the parking lot of Target. Boo.

Apparently, the Target where I shop is right along the bus line. And it’s not uncommon for things like this to happen. Especially when I’m a dope and forget to lock the doors of my minivan that has an alarm system on it.

As I was driving home after submitting my report to the police and Target security, my inner Anne Frank came out. I know that the person who took it probably will sell it and use it for inappropriate things. However, I’d like to believe that the person who stole it has children at home to feed and they need to buy groceries. Wishful thinking, I know. But there’s a part of me that just wants to believe that someone who would do this needs the money more than I do right now. My family teased me for wanting to see the best in even the worst people. I guess they were right.

Thankfully, they didn’t take anything else (as I guess there’s not a huge market for car seats, hand sanitizer, or Christian kids’ CDs — there was little else in the van). And while I’m worried that my home address was programed into the GPS, they didn’t take the garage door opener. So, I’m hoping they aren’t interested in breaking into my home as well. I’m sure I won’t sleep well tonight. But, if I find myself awake, I’ll be praying.

Can I just give props to my wonderful Hubs? He’s so gracious when I make mistakes. He just told me that it was going to be ok and to not sweat it. What kind of husband does that? Mine does! I love that guy.

So, here’s to the promise of 2011, and a fond (relieved) adios to 2010. If I wasn’t a week late in celebrating it, I wouldn’t be me. Nice to meet you, 2011. The pleasure’s all mine.

The SAHM Paycheck

I’m a Stay-at-home-mom. While it can be a joy, it’s still a job. The hours are long, the pay is crap, and there’s no such thing as a sick day (which I was reminded of again last week). I don’t get stock options or contribute to a 401K. Paid vacations are non-existent and forget about health insurance. In fact, I haven’t had a real paycheck in a long time.

But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I get paid in other ways. My “paychecks” have different deductions and bonuses. In the deductions column you’ll find these items: sleep, sanity, a girlish figure, and date nights. The bonus column, however, has many benefits like: two year-old bear hugs, funny five year-old phrases, I love yous, dancing to the end credits from favorite movies, slobbery kisses (of the human variety, not canine).

But my favorite bonus is the one labeled SMILES. I get a lot of those. They come in many forms: during a visit from the tickle monster, when they play nicely enjoying being sisters and friends, while making brownies with Grandma. LOVE the smile. I’ll work harder for the smile. A smile softens the crazed hurry-up-get-your-clothes-on-brush-your-teeth-get-on-your-shoes-why-aren’t-you-moving-faster mama beast and turns her into putty. The kid-smile is SAHM gold.

So, I’m sharing a few of my favorite smile moments with you because I am participating in the Invisalign Teen Bright Smiles Holiday Photo Contest with Dumb Mom at parenting by dummies. Want a chance to win $250 Amazon Gift Code? You gotta do it by midnight tonight.

There are “My mom really is a ROCK STAR!” smiles (Billy Idol, eat your heart out):

There are “At the Park” Smiles:

There are “First Day of School” and “Aren’t our flowers just lovely?” smiles:

There are middle of the night “There’s no way we’re going back to bed anytime soon” smiles:

There are “I just made my first snow man” smiles:

There are “This isn’t a moving box, it’s a boat!” smiles:

There are the “It’s my first birthday and I’ve discovered that I like chocolate cake” smiles:

And finally, there are the “I’m running full-throttle to my mom because I love her” smiles:

These are my pay stubs. I’ve heard that I need to keep these indefinitely because in ten years or so, I may have to report that I was indeed able to make them smile at some point in their lives. I’ve heard that sweet, smiling little girls turn into irrational, unidentifiable, scary creatures after age 11 or 12 (and if my girls are destined to be anything like me, then we’re all in a lot of trouble). But I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about it tomorrow. For now, I’ll let my kids keep thinking I’m a rock star and savor these precious smiles.

Why I Heart Christmas: New Traditions Edition

This is No. 4 in the four-part series “Why I heart Christmas”.

Click on the links to check out previous posts, A little Background, The Sibling Edition, and The Husband Edition.

Sorry this post is a little late, folks. We had some last minute house guests, which led to impromptu grocery shopping and house cleaning. And also, I was having a hard time loading pictures and videos. I’d better get the hang of this if I’m going to ever become a serious blogger, huh?

I think this post is my favorite to write of the bunch. I think because it’s so open with possibility. The girls are young and each Christmas brings a new age with new awareness and understanding of this special holiday.

First and foremost, this will probably cause a little controversy, but Hubs and I have chosen to NOT do the Santa thing in our household. The bottom line is because we don’t want to lie to our children, no matter how innocent or fun the lie is. (I need to insert here that in between starting this post and writing this sentence, we went to Chic-fil-A for Kids’ Night. Guess who was making an appearance? Santa. The kids giggled and were giddy. Firstborn Diva Child said, “I knew you weren’t telling the truth! Santa’s real! He’s here!” And Drama Queen Middle Child said, “Don’t you know he’s real mom?” Here’s a little picture from the encounter).

We do several fun things throughout the season to prepare for Christmas.

Like most families, we decorate the Christmas tree. I think my firstborn Diva child is going to enjoy it as much as I do. She loves ornaments. Our favorite is the Peanuts ornament. It’s shows Linus on the stage. We went to great lengths to get this ornament for her after seeing it some friends’ house a few years ago. Long story short, we tried to get it at several stores where we lived and we tried to get it online. They were sold out. I asked my mom to ask around. She called all the Hallmark stores in her city and found one that had the store model left. She drove to the other side of town to pick it up. She mailed us the box. When I received the package, it was empty. I called my mom who called the store who found it stashed somewhere in the back room. Then the battery was dead. So, all in all, when you consider the time spent hunting and procuring it, the gas used going to the store twice, postage, and the replacement battery, not to mention the cost of the ornament itself, we probably spent somewhere in the ball park of $60 to $70 on this ornament. I don’t think about that. I think about how much my girls love it. And how each time they push the button, they hear the Christmas story. Here’s what it looks like and does, in case you were wondering what ornament is worth that much money (FYI, this is a video I took of our ornament).

This year, one of my favorite bloggers, Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience wrote and gave a free Jesse Tree Devotional, complete with pictures to make ornaments. If you don’t know what a Jesse Tree is, it’s a daily devotional starting at the beginning of Advent. It goes through the history of Jesus’ lineage up to his birth. It helps those of us who are believers see our own lineage of grace. This is the first year I’ve done a purposeful daily advent devotional with the girls. Sometimes I don’t think they’re listening, but they remember which stories go with the ornaments hanging on the pine branches we cut from our huge backyard tree. Here’s a picture of our Jesse Tree, in progress.

I just have to interject here that if you haven’t discovered Ann Voskamp and A Holy Experience, take a few minutes today to peruse her blog. Everything she has ever posted that I have read has left me hopeful and encouraged. Her’s is a quiet voice in the noisiness of the internet. A quiet respite, a salve to the wearied soul. I have read her blog for years and as long as she continues to write, I will read.

In the past I have made these pancakes.

I may try my hand at Rudolph or Santa-shaped pancakes (see we still talk about and do Santa, we just don’t teach that he’s real). We actually have a family tradition that goes along with pancakes. It’s another from my mother-in-law. She reads “Little Black Sambo” (which is about a little boy in India whose mother makes him pancakes out of tiger ghee – you have to read it to understand it). She would read it on Christmas Eve and then fix pancakes for Breakfast on Christmas morning. Then we use Alton Brown’s recipe for Instant Pancake Mix. So good. Yes, pancakes are in order soon.

When I became a mother, one of the gifts my mother gave me for Christmas was “The ADVENTure of Christmas” by Lisa Whelchel. It’s only until recently that I felt that I could use some of the ideas in this book with the kids. There are all sorts of recipes (we’re SO trying Wassail this year), crafts (we might make some “Reindeer Evangelists” – candy canes made up as reindeer), and historical facts and stories about the traditions of Christmas. The artwork is fun and captivating. Most importantly, it takes some of the well-known holiday traditions and points them toward why our family celebrates the season, Jesus. I’m so excited to get to use it this year (here it is on her website, here it is on amazon.com).

Here are some websites I’ve found with some great ideas for this season:

Check out my friend Sarah’s blog, Mashed Bananas. While she is an incredible writer, she’s even a more incredible mom. Here are a few things she did one year with her kids. Really. She’s uber-mom. Uber-fun-mom. Indoor “paper snow ball” fight? Fun. Homemade snowflakes and hot chocolate? Yum. Then there’s the Santa pancakes I’m totally stealing. Here’s what she did the year before that, a homemade advent calendar made out of match boxes. I’m not nearly that ambitious, but if you are, it’s a super cute idea.

I love what this homeschooling mom (Our Homeschool Fun) has done with her kids. Check out the Christmas Trees made of wooden craft sticks. Love it!

Family Fun Magazine always has creative homemade gift ideas that the kids can do. I actually purchased the supplies to make these fun felt pens last year, but didn’t get to it (we had a lot going on). I think the girls would love to do it this year and give them to the relatives. I also saw these little bowling boys that I thought would be fun to make for my nephews.

And finally, there’s World Vision. We support a little boy named Jose in El Salvador. Because we do, we receive mail from World Vision throughout the year. We’ve been leafing through their Christmas 2010 Gift Catalog trying to figure out what the perfect gift to purchase might be. Do we buy a chicken or a goat or clean drinking water or a Ger for a family in Mongolia? The girls want to buy baby chickens. I’m thinking about a goat. It’s a great way to give to those in need out of the great abundance God has given our family.

While I have always loved Christmas, I think I love it more now. Being a mother and watching my children experience it is far better than experiencing it myself. It is my earnest hope and sincerest prayer that they learn the reason why this holiday is so special. It’s about an all-powerful, infinitely loving, exceedingly just, all gracious God humbling himself into the form of a helpless infant to save the fallen world he so lovingly created. I pray that as our family grows and matures that our faith will as well.

Homeroom Mom Email

Okay, so I am the homeroom parent for my daughter’s class. I sort of kinda volunteered to help, and apparently, no one else wanted to do it, so they gave the responsibility to me by default. They apparently didn’t read my blog. That I’m kind of halfway. And I have a hard time with follow through. Oh well. The Fall Party went off without a hitch. So I guess I can finish some things well.

Anyway – it’s that time of year when lots of things go on at elementary schools. And email is the most convenient form of communication in situations like these. So I wrote this email to the parents of the class last night.

I’ve been wanting to post it on my blog all day, but have had restraint until now. I don’t know why I want to post it. Maybe because so much of what I’ve put out there has been serious lately. And I’m not always so serious. So here’s a lighter side to me.

This is so random. And it’s not really going to challenge you to do anything (except for maybe buy a Snuggie). It’s not going to make you think. It won’t make you cry. It might make you laugh. Or it might make you stop reading my stuff altogether. Whatever. I just want to post it, it’s my blog, and I can post if I want to.

I’ve changed all the names to protect the innocent (because even though I’m willing to put myself out there, the other parents in the class might not be):

Hello Everyone. It’s me, Christan, your friendly homeroom coordinator for Mrs. Brown’s class. I hope you easily made the transition from October to November, from spring forward to fall back.

I foresee this being a long email, and for that I’m sorry. If you don’t have time read it now, mark it as unread and come back to it after the kids are in bed and you’re having your nightly cup of tea, or hot cocoa, or, um, adult beverage. Either way,I beg you to stick with me and read it to the end. It has a lot of information. AND I promise to make it worth your while if you read all the way to the end. Really. 🙂

1. I had meant to send this out weeks ago, in the form of actual written thank you notes, but it never happened. You know how life is. Sometimes I’m not so great on the follow through. I’ll admit it. So here it is: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to those of you who donated and/or helped with the Fall Party. According to Mrs. Brown, it was a success! It would NOT have happened without each and every one of you. So thank you from the bottom of my procrastinating, belated-tendency-laden heart (if it helps, you can imagine this hand-written in little note cards with cute little pumpkins on the front – that was my intention).

2. Winter Carnival is right around the corner. You should have received a green sheet of paper that was sent home with your child about the Classroom Basket. Each class puts together a basket to be auctioned at the Silent Auction. The theme for our basket is “On the Road Again.” If you want to donate, you may purchase an item for the basket and send it with your student before [insert fictional date here]. Here are some ideas I had, but feel free to come up with your own: Emergency Road Kit, Games made specifically for travel in the car, DVDs (because a lot of people have DVD players in their cars), Gift Cards to popular Chain Restaurants, Starbucks gift cards, tire gauge, the fix-a-flat-tire-in-a-can (sorry, I don’t know what it’s called) . . . just imagine anything you’d like to take with you on a long road trip. Snuggie? You betcha – because you can’t drive if you’re covered in a blanket, but you CAN drive if you’re covered in a Snuggie. For sure. IF you don’t want or have time to shop, but you still want to donate, let me know. I’ll be happy to do the shopping for you. And I need a basket. If you want to donate a basket, let me know that ASAP. First one who offers gets to donate it. I don’t need 23 baskets, just one. But a big one.

3. The actual Winter Carnival event is on [insert secondary fictional date here]. However, the PTO needs volunteers . . . for set up, for the event, for things that happen after the event. They asked me to forward this email (the blue text, and btw, I’m all about volunteering just for the pizza – and the kids, of course):

Yada Yada Yada . . . Blah Blah Blah – insert boring and formal PTO letter asking parents to help and offering pizza to volunteers . . .
Ok, it’s me, Christan, the homeroom coordinator again. Are you still there? You are? Great. Moving on . . .

4. The Winter Class Party is scheduled for [insert tertiary fictional date here] . I would absolutely LOVE to have a committee for this party. I want your ideas people! Why? Because those of you who helped with the Fall party completely rocked it. You did! And I know that the Winter party could be even more awesome with your help in planning it. SO, if you want to share your incredible party ideas (I’ll pump you full of caffeine just to get the creative juices flowing), shoot me an email or call by Black Friday (a.k.a. November 26). We’ll try to meet the week after Thanksgiving or the first week in December.

5. Betty Boop (Strawberry Shortcake’s mom) has offered to work on a Winter gift for Mrs. Brown. She, being a teacher herself, had the brilliant (imagine that in an English tone) idea of asking Mrs. Brown at the beginning of the year where she liked to shop, eat, play, etc. She offered to coordinate a gift from the whole class, to which I said, “Yes please!”. I plan to forward your email addresses on to her to coordinate it. IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FORWARDED LET ME KNOW ASAP. I promise to make her promise to BCC when she emails the info.

And deep breath . . . FINALLY . . . are you still there? Did you stick with me to the end? Did you? Really? I promised to make it worth your while. And I truly meant it. So here’s how I’m going to do that. I don’t know if this is allowed or legal. But I didn’t know if a candid, silly email was allowed or legal either. So, I’m going to do this anyway and ask for forgiveness later.

If you’re still there . . . I’m thrilled. To show my appreciation, I’m going to do a drawing for those of you who stuck with me. A $25 La Rosa’s Gift Card. That completely covers the 3-4-7 deal (3 medium pizzas for $7 each) and delivery. Can you tell we eat there way too much? By the way, this is not PTO sponsored. It’s out of my own pocket. Just because you guys are awesome and I appreciate you. And like I said, I don’t know if this is allowed. So don’t tell your friends whose kids are in other classes. *wink* Consider this more a “drawing among friends whose children happen to be in the same Kindergarten class”. Yeah. That’s what I’m going with.

Here’s how you get entered:
Shoot me an email at with the Subject: Gimme!
In the message portion of the email, give me a brief summary of what’s in items 2-5 of this email (yep, being sneaky and making sure you read it all, or at least skim it).
Finally (and this is totally optional), use the word “potato” as creatively as possible in a sentence. Just for fun.
Send me the email by [insert quaternary fictional date here].
I’ll put your name in a bowl, and take a video of my daughter drawing the winner’s name a week from now. And I’ll read your creative “potato” sentences. I’ll post it on youtube and email the URL to the participants of the “drawing among friends whose children happen to be in the same Kindergarten class” for all to see who the winner is.

Ok that’s it. Thanks for hangin’ in there. I really do appreciate you guys. You make my job easy.

Christan

So dear readers (if you’re still there), I have two questions for you?

Would YOU drive in a Snuggie?

AND

What would your random “potato” sentence be?

Disclaimer: The drawing mentioned above is only for the parents of my kids in my daughter’s class. I’m not offering it to my readers. Sorry. But maybe I’ll do a Christmas giveaway soon after Thanksgiving . . . so keep checking back!

When Did I Become Mom to Three Little Girls?

This morning, I fed my girls like I always normally do. I was busy getting ready to go to Bible study (my weekly refreshing with women of all ages who encourage me). I was aiding one in getting her shoes on, trying to pour my coffee, and directing a full scale house search for a jacket.  I looked up and I saw this.

And I stopped dead in my tracks (then picked up my camera). And I knew. I do not have a baby in the house now. She’s a little girl. She’s growing up so fast.

The other day, at “nap” time (I put it in quotations because sometimes it’s arbitrary as to whether or not nap time happens around here), she cuddled down into my arms, stuck her little thumb in her mouth, found some random piece of fabric to fondle (she didn’t have access to a blanket, so my shawl had to do), and fell asleep. That moment also stopped me dead in my tracks. Because even though I had plans to fold laundry, write a post, pick up random messes here and there, and start dinner – I realized I might not ever get this moment back again. She may never still her little body and slumber in my arms again (unless I turn into that creepy mom from “I’ll Love You Forever” who sneaks into her son’s room at night to rock him. What IS the draw to that book?).

I find that I have to make myself stop and appreciate these moments. If I don’t, I’m going to miss them. If I miss them, what’s the point of being a mom?

So I’m going to try to let the rest of the unimportants fall to the wayside.

And I’m going to appreciate:

Having a practically perfect tea party, one that Mary Poppins would approve

Teaching Spanish to my eager five year-old

Our weekly mani-pedi nights

Reading their favorite books

Having rave toothbrush parties where they only brush their teeth to the light of their flashing toothbrushes and the song from the Dora tooth paste dispenser.

Dancing to the end credits of “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “How to Train Your Dragon”

Listening to their wild made up stories about whatever is going on in their little brains

Their beautiful songs, whether they be ones I taught them or ones they made up

Cuddling with them before they realize that cuddling with mom isn’t cool

Giving them the spiritual truths they will need to navigate this crazy, crooked world

What will you take time to cherish today?

Grace for This Moment; Grace for Eternity

I hesitate to write this because it’s not pretty. It’s downright ugly and muddy. But it’s real. And I need to write it because I need to hear it. Maybe someone else does too.

I’m having a less than stellar parenting day week.

There are a lot of changes going on inside my heart right now. I began a Bible study that focuses on a certain area of my life with which I struggle, a lot. And while I’m finding it encouraging, I’m also finding sin’s greasy fingerprints on every area of my heart.

And as I deal seriously with one sin in my life (or rather, allow the Lord to have access to that part of my heart that I’ve tried to hide from him for so long), I find others grasping to take its place.

Like anger. I’ve been angry this week. I’m angry that I’ve been so stupid and run to all the wrong places to try to resolve this sin in the past. I’m frustrated that I’ve lost so much of myself to it. I’m mad that I’ve been so blind for so long.

But this anger comes out at every little annoyance. And when you live in a house with three little girls, there are many little annoyances. Things have been said that should never have been said in tones that should never come to the surface.

I’m finding myself apologizing to my little ones for losing my temper, asking for their forgiveness. And they do forgive their wretched mama. Their hugs and kisses and I love yous are healing, salves for my soul. May the Lord bless their forgiving and resilient little hearts.

I keep hearing the phrase in my head, purposeful parenting. I keep thinking of all the Type-A’s I know out there who seem to be purposefully parenting their little blessings and doing an excellent job at it. I wonder why I can’t seem to follow suit.  Some Most days, I feel so behind all the time. There’s always something to be done and not enough time to do it all.  Some Most days, my children find themselves at the end of my priority list.

And I’m wondering why. I’m wondering why my little blessings from God get my worst when they should be receiving my best. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair to me. We are all being robbed of the joy of the mother/daughter relationship. I’m being robbed of the joy that comes from doing the job ministry God has given to me.

People, I NEVER do things perfectly. NEVER. And when I do things decently, it’s only by the grace of God.

About a month ago, something my pastor said during the sermon really stuck with me. He was talking about how God gives us grace to deal with conflicts. That he protects us in the moment. He quoted 1 Peter 1:3-5:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will NOT fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (NASB)

And so I wrote it down. And then I taped it to my cabinet.

And I put my new motto above it: Grace for this moment; Grace for eternity.

Isn’t that what life for a believer really is? Moment after moment after moment, covered in grace. Sometimes we focus on what’s to come and forget that right now is the foundation for what’s to come. Life, lived out in faith, can come only to the conclusion that it is sustained by grace.

My sister sang “In Christ Alone” at her church this weekend. It’s one of my favorite songs. And one that helps me to remember that “sin’s curse has lost its grip on me.” Click on the link and listen. The song is powerful and encouraging, especially when you have days like I’ve had today . . . the days that make you feel less than stellar.

It doesn’t matter the situation. It doesn’t matter the person. It doesn’t matter the conflict. It doesn’t matter the circumstances surrounding whatever “it” is. It’s all covered by grace. Each moment that we live, each moment that has already passed us by. Covered. By Grace.

I’m not a perfect person. I’m not a perfect parent. But my best and my worst are covered by grace. YOUR best and YOUR worst are covered by grace. I’m going to rest in that today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And for eternity. I hope you’ll join me.

%d bloggers like this: