Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There is really nothing harder than finding out your child is different.

Maybe it is his height or weight.
Maybe it is her excruciating shyness.
Maybe it is a physical or mental handicap.
Maybe it is a delay that can be placed on a spectrum.

But, when someone identifies your little baby is not like the rest of their classmates, it is difficult to swallow.  Hard to accept.  Hard not to take blame on yourself.

Did I get all the multivitamins I should have during pregnancy?
What about that time the scooter hit him in the head and I didn't rush to the ER?
How about that crazy family history?
Isn't he JUST LIKE ME?

Undoubtedly, it is easy to play the blame game.  It's easy to decide that you'd rather bury your head in the past tense "why" than figure out the future tense "how".  But, as with all things parent, we have to figure out how to accept, move on, and get our children the help they need.

This is what has happened with both of our youngest sons;  they were both diagnosed with learning disabilities early in life.  And, after the shell-shock, we picked ourselves up, dusted off our behinds, and fell headlong into finding as much help as we could possibly garner.

I'll admit, being spitting distance from a world-class school for LD, The Shelton School, has been so amazing that I just don't have words for it.  I feel blessed and humbled and grateful.  I can't imagine the pain my children would have endured had we not had this resource.

But, in writing that sentence, I also realize that there are way too many families out there who have children who could use a Shelton in their life.  And, it breaks my heart.  I wish every community could have a school that specializes in LD that was accessible to all the children who need it.

And, I also understand that families and well-meaning teachers who don't understand LD have misconceptions about children who deal with them.  So, today, I'm posting an article I read online about the top five misconceptions about learning disabilities.  This is a writing I can agree with 100% and I hope others will read to gain understanding and dismiss ignorance.  Because, often, the first step to identifying your child needs help is to understand what a LD is NOT.

LD children are bright, often gifted, but may be socially awkward due to their academic inabilities.
LD children learn to compensate for their inabilities and can often figure out how to compensate academically, such as using pictures for ques when reading, up to the point that school work becomes too difficult for compensation.
LD children aren't lazy or stupid or forgetful.  They need parents and teachers who encourage them, even when they ask too many questions or need too much repetition or can't keep a concept straight two minutes after it is taught.
LD children aren't all hyperactive or overactive or behavior problems, not anymore than children who don't have LD.

I want to give hope to families raising LD children who are currently struggling:  when Hooman left preschool at five, we knew there was something "different" about his learning.  Testing revealed that he would likely develop dyslexia as he progressed.*  After raising Nickels, who was an avid reader by first grade and gobbled up books like Thanksgiving leftovers, we were stunned.**  And angered.  And distraught.  And a host of other emotions that we share with parents who learn this news.***

Hooman spent four years at Shelton and two of those years doing a wonderful reading program through the Texas Reading Institute in Houston to compliment his education.  In fourth grade, he was ready to transition to a "regular" classroom sitting, with the forewarning that spelling and foreign languages would always be a difficulty for him.

Not only did we believe Hooman could make that transition, we believed that he could function in an environment where a classical education was taught. So, we held our collective breath and asked The Covenant School if they would take this path with us and enroll our son, even with the challenges he was facing and his past history.  They said "yes".

This past quarter, Hooman earned a 93 in spelling and an 85 in latin.  Even his teacher commented on the amazing progress she had seen this year.  He has made the transition to Covenant look like childs' play, no doubt due to the remediation at Shelton and the Texas Reading Institute.

Equipping children with the tools necessary to compensate for LD is possible, but it starts with recognizing and acknowledging the problem.

LD children can overcome huge obstacles and move to a "regular" classroom environment.  They can also stay at a school for LD children and be accepted into a host of colleges worldwide.

They can accomplish amazing things, given the tools.

But, probably most importantly to most parents, those early years of struggle can become a distant memory for your child;  life can become easier.  Those struggles can lead to intense persistence, amazing organization skills, and an appreciation for those who are suffering. Those are a few of the traits we see in Hooman.

And, beyond the grades, this is what we are most grateful for:  a son who is becoming a Godly man early in life for the very reason that he was challenged in a way that many children never are.

To GOD be the glory.

*This was from a combination of family history and preschool testing on patterning and auditory processing.

**Which is another mistake many parents make:  kids number one isn't going to learn like kid number three or vice versa.  Just a little trick I think God likes to play on us so we don't get too comfortable with our jobs.

***I remember a day when Mike honestly shared with me that he wasn't sure Hooman would EVER be able to read.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Simple Gratitude

Thing I'm grateful for this week:

1.  Sonic Sweet Potato Tots.  Yummilicious.  Not Weight Watcher friendly, but worth every last bite.  And then some.

2.  Bushes of flowers budding in people's yards, thank to the rain we had a couple of weeks ago.

3.  Drive thru, $4 exterior washes.  $5 with a tip to bless the person who dried the car.  Worth every penny to have a shiny, "new" car.

4.  Progress for Celia, with a second doc called in for another opinion, a doc who is pretty sure he's seen this condition before.  One who gave hope that the answer lies deep in the brain, well below what a typical test could detect and who has started anti-seizure meds which should start their majic with the week.  And, mostly, for God, who has placed the right people by Celia, Heather and Noe's side through this process.

5.  Marriage, with all its flaws and rough patches and "worst" times.  Even though it isn't perfect, "I do's" tie you to the person you most love, are best friends with and wouldn't want to spend forever without.

6.  Answers to "why" questions about children's health, even diagnoses that conclude one of your children has "constitutional delays", meaning puberty will likely come late.  And for blood tests to rule out deeper issues.

7.  Coffee.  To keep me awake, vertical, and sane and able to realize the blessings, even in the midst of storms.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lessons from The Beatles

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

These are the first two lines of an old Beatles song, appropriately named "Blackbird".

Instantly, I am filled with emotion and grace and feelings of immense love, even though the lyrics are dark and somewhat depressing.

This song speaks to me of hope.  The hope of coming out of a dark pit, back into the sunlight.  Back into the realization that, though I've forgotten I'm constantly being cradled in God's loving arms, He has not ever put me down or forgotten me.

These lyrics are reminders that God can heal brokenness and blindness of all kinds*.  They assure me that I can recover and be made whole again and actually have my eyes opened in ways that will astound me.

I can be free through Christ.  I can soar in the place He has put me.  I can be free.

And, so can you.  All it takes is one glimpse out of the darkness to see the light.

*Physical, emotional, spiritual.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I don't think I've ever done this, focused on one attribute of God that is important for my life for the moment, but I'm doing it today.

See, in God's great plan, He put me in a Bible study that just completed a chapter on the amazing attributes of our Lord.  And, in exactly that same space of time, my Goddaughter is in the hospital experiencing something that is seizure-like (but isn't seizures) and is undergoing testing to determine the cause of her many-times-an-hour affliction.

She's one-year-old.  She should be laughing at new discoveries, like butterflies landing on flowers, and new sounds that make her laugh, and perfecting walking without tumbling.  My heart just aches for her and her Momma and Daddy and sisters and our whole family.

But, instead of letting fear and anger and bitterness and worry and doubt overtake me, I'm focusing on
Exodus 15:26, which ends with the phrase "...I am the LORD, who heals you."

I am replacing all the things Satan wants me focused on with the Lord's promises.  I'm clinging to them.  I'm remembering that God has a plan for all of us, a plan to prosper us and not bring us harm.

As the old song says "He's got the whole world in His hands".  And, he has our little Celia firmly tucked there, too.  We just have to remember that during the times that are dark and worrisome and scary.

He is working out this issue, using skilled doctor's hand and technology and the prayers of his people.

HE can heal this.  HE will use His people to assist.  And, sometime soon, we will all give Him glory for the work that He has done.

Praise be to God, our healer.

Friday, March 23, 2012


All our discontents about what we want appeared to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.--Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe)

A bit of perspective on this:  Daniel Defoe lived in the late 1600's to the early 1700's.  Quick math tells me that we are living approximately 400 years after him.  I find this so interesting because, just today, I ran across a verse I'd never read before, Ecclesiastes 1:9, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 

Truly, NOTHING is new 400 years later.  We still grapple with discontent and lack of thankfulness, though things to be thankful for are all around us, just waiting to be recognized.*

And, if we want our Lord and Savior to return to us, we have to find that grain of gratitude in our souls so that Christians shine in a way that sets them apart, making others want what we have:  the love of Christ in our hearts, that overflows so generously that we SHINE!

When we have been witness to His goodness the whole world over, He will appear, mysteriously, in the blink of our eyes.  And we will all be reunited.

Glory!  Can you imagine?  I know I can't.  But I get tears in my eyes thinking about that day.  And it gives me hope that my attitude and actions can be effective in bringing that day to pass.

Oh, how I long to see His face!

Yesterday, I was searching around for quotes about spring and I ran across Mr. Defoe's gem.  At first, I thought it was totally unrelated to the current season.  But, on second inspection, I realize it is highly correlated.**

If you live in the metroplex today, you have been experiencing rain for several days now.  A blessing, to be sure, because we are attempting to muddle our way out of a drought.  Yet, some are complaining that it is time for the rain to go away.  Discontent?  Yes.  Lack of thankfulness?  Yes.

If you live anywhere in the North Americas as the trees and flowers are blooming, you have been experiencing higher than normal pollen counts.  A blessing, because this is how God chose to bring new life to all the trees and flowers and plants on this earth so we could have food and oxygen and beauty.  Now, some are complaining because the pollen is covering everything in sight or they are sneezing and coughing and generally dealing with allergies.  Discontent?  Yes.  Lack of thankfulness?  Yes.

If you live anywhere in the world and are gainfully employed, even if it isn't the job that feeds your soul, you are blessed.  

If you have your health, even if your body isn't perfect and you could stand to lose a few pounds and you still have that bump on your nose from getting hit with a soccer ball when you were ten, you are blessed.

If you have food to eat, a roof over your head, someone to love, even if you'd rather be eating filet mignon at a fancy restaurant and living in a 3,500 sf house, and your spouse is going through a funk, you are blessed.

I think part of the problem is that blessings often come disguised as annoyances.  A baby crying reminds us we are needed.  A car engine light coming on warns you to check your engine to avoid damage.  Not making it through the intersection may mean you are avoiding an accident, even though you might be running a little late.

Maybe there is nothing new under the sun, but we are also promised that God is going to make all things new.  Sometime.  And, personally, I want that sometime to be sooner rather than later.


*A good place to start, besides the Bible, is Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts".  She has elevated thankfulness to a new level.

**"That sentence, being mathematically based, will be a huge turn-on to Mike, should he happen to read this post.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Wisdom Found on Vacation

It's 6:38am.  Should be making breakfast.  But I'm on a post-weigh-in high* so I'm doing the typical "borrowing (time) from Peter to pay Paul" to get to write this post.

Good news?  The time challenges continue, though I was EARLY for the gym yesterday.  But, this morning, obviously, I'm delusional.**

I'm actually DRESSED this morning.  But, I'm sans shoes.  Somehow, that just seems like overkill before 8am to me.

And, the best news of all?  I have a fabulous, gained-it-on-vacation-because-I-had-time-to-read tip.  SOCK COPS.  Otherwise known as the S&M of the laundry room.

Just kidding on that last line.  Unless you are unusually creative.

Really, these things are so stupid/cool that I can't believe I didn't think of them.

They look like a strange, plastic circular clip that you attach to the heels of your socks before they go in the washer.  Then, they go straight to the dryer.  And, if you are like me, they'll go straight into drawers because Mike hates the way my Momma taught me to fold the sock openings, one over the other, because it "stretches them out".***

Tried these little guys yesterday for the first time.  Sorting socks to put them together before washing them seemed a bit odd at first.  But, when I really thought about it, it made more sense than doing it post dryer.  At least I knew there SHOULD be pairs in the dirty basket.  And, I was able to find the poor, mate less socks and put them in a little heap on the washer.

The great news:  they work.  And you can own 20 clips for $8.99 from The Container Store.  I bought 40 clips and left under a twenty spot, TT&L.  I figure they will go the way of the tape in this house and, eventually, I'll need those extra clips.

Well, that's it. Other than "Happy Spring" a couple of days late.  Totally missed Springs entrance, probably because I couldn't see her through the rain (Praise God!)

And, finally, here's to easier laundry days.  For those of us who are Stay-at-Homes, I guess that means more time to eat bon bons.

Or, to figure out how to use SOCK COPS on our husbands. 

*See commentary at right to understand why....

**Otherwise known as believing that pixie dust will descend and that I'll have time to both write this post AND get breakfast ready and lunches packed before the kids need to leave out the door.  Still learning. 

***Oh, malarkey.  They stay paired in the drawer and that's what counts!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do I Really Have To?

As I am often wont to do, I am typing in my pjs.  At 11:41am.  At the kitchen table.

If the FedEx guy should happen to show up at the door and need a signature?  The package will have to be redelivered.  I ain't showing him my flannels.

See, I'm going through the bag of stuff I took on vacation.  Which, as usual, was overstuffed.  Overstuffed with stuff I thought I'd get to.  But, as usual too, I didn't.*

I blazed through a record four magazines/catalogs, clipping as I went.  And one of the articles that caught my eye mentioned a woman I hadn't caught up with in a blue moon.  Fly Lady.

For those of you unfamiliar, Fly Lady helps you keep your abode clean by giving you a daily task in your house that takes about 15 minutes.  The house is divided into zones and you attack a new zone daily, thereby increasing the likelihood that you will "touch" every part of your house over a period of time.

I've known about this website for quite a while now.  But, true to form, I lost track of the website, then I lost her name in the neuron passages in my brain.  And, finally, I just stopped thinking about it.

My house can attest to that last paragraph.

But, that's really not why I write all of this.  It's the following, when I signed on, that seemed like a message from God Almighty:

And I quote Fly Lady "Finding Your Path Starts With Getting Dressed!"

I didn't know whether to laugh or duck for cover since thunderstorms are eminent today.

I guess I'm going to take that as a sign.  Instead of sitting around sporting nightwear, I'm going to actually put on clothing that I can answer the door in. 

Nobody ever said progress was made with giant steps.....

*But, honestly, I did a LOT more than I expected since I was awake most of the way going and coming.  That, in and of itself, is nothing short of a miracle.  I'm narcoleptic in the passenger seat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Twenty Seconds of Pure Joy

If you grew up in the 80's, like yours truly, it is always nice to reminisce without having to spend hours creating curly big hair, trying to fit into skin-tight Jordache jeans, or carrying a phone the size and weight of a brick.

So, for your enjoyment, I present the Emergency Hall & Oats helpline.

No, this is not a joke.

And, no.  I don't know who owns the line.  I just know I can be transported back in time by calling 719-26-OATES.

Trust me, you'll be hooked.  And you'll want to thank me.

And if you don't, you clearly don't have your Brat Pack credentials.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm Running Late!

If there is one thing I will never completely understand about myself it is the fact that I am consistently late to life.

I have the best intentions.  I have a love for watches that has led me to collect them.*  I am surrounded by clocks in almost every room in my house.  And yet I am rarely on time to many of the appointments on my weekly list.

Now, those on the outside see this as a tragic flaw.  They either think one of two things:  she is rude or she is a control freak.  And, for the record, I try not to be a butt head and I'm working on the control issues.  But, I understand why you would feel that way because, when the entire family is running late for something, I often say "Hurry up!  It's RUDE to be late!", adeptly combining my knowledge of manners and control issues into one, short sentence.

For a bit, after the kids were born, I blamed them.  Then they grew up, went off to school five days a week, and it was just me responsible for being on time.  And, though I was more on time without kids in tow, I still wasn't ON TIME.

This week, I finally figured out the why behind the tardy after stumbling across and reading an article on chronic tardiness.  (Which, no doubt, made me late to the next thing I had to do.)

Turns out, those of us who have this illness are actually optimists.  We see the clock as our friend.  We figure out just how long it takes, in picture perfect, often once-in-a-lifetime scenarios, and we brand our brains with that amount of time for a given task.

So, if I caught every red light between here and the school and there was no cross-traffic to keep me from taking a left and no one was on the service road in the far right lane blocking my right, I could make it to pick up carpool in about seven minutes flat.

Problem is life is full of wrecks and stop lights that last too long and traffic jams that move traffic onto side roads.  And that means seven minutes is rarely enough time.

But, my brain remembers seven minutes of perfection.  And, it likes that amount of time.  And, it wants to suck every last second out of the task at hand before I have to get in the car and drive to the school.  So, it never gives a second thought to allowing ten or twelve minutes or, GASP, being early enough to be at the head of the line.

And, in a marriage where we BOTH deal with this issue, it is easy to see that this isn't an issue that will be solved overnight.  It's even easier to see that we have family and friends who are saints OR who have long fuses for time-challenged folk like us OR are just griping about us behind our backs.  Since we aren't on-time, though, we never hear the complaining.  Bonus!

I'm not sure I solved anything by learning this about myself, but I have been early to church two weeks in a row, so I guess that's a start. 

And, in admitting this, I guess I'm also issuing a blanket apology to those of you with brains that record worst-case time scenarios and who are chronically early or on-time.  Hopefully, next time I see you, I'll be a bit closer to our scheduled schedule.

All it will take is overriding the last time I met you at our chosen location.  And perfectly timed traffic.  
And a moon and stars that are aligned, a tide that is rising, and Jupiter in retrograde. 

Piece of cake!

*though I never actually WEAR them.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Today is affectionately known as Rose Sunday in the Anglican church.  It is a happy day in the midst of the rather somber period leading up to Jesus' death.

There are several "theories" about why this day exists on the calendar, but only one church historian/commentator said something I thought was crazy-funny-strange:  this day is like Mardi Gras in the church.

Not sure I would have used THAT analogy but it did drive home the point.  And nobody pulled up their shirt in church for beads, so all was good.

Since I'm into transparency about my Lenten Weight Watchers journey, ya'll need to know I was faithful to my diet on vacation.  And I don't mean a little good.  I mean REALLY good.  Passed up Baskin Robbins FOUR FREAKIN' TIMES good.

In fact, I'm so proud of my self that I'm recapping all four adventures now.  Feel free to skip to the bottom of the page.  But, I'll be damned if I'm not taking credit for this!

Visit #1.  Went into the store with the gang and resisted the urge to get anything, even a little taste.  Mike looked at me and said "I NEVER would have done this to you, though I was DYING when I saw that Baskin Robbins sign."  To which I wanted to respond "Who's DYING in this scenario?" as I contemplated leaving the store without a scoop of Pistachio Almond and Jamocha Almond Fudge for the first time in my unrestrained life.

Visit #2.  Decided to stay in the car and drink one of my special coconut sparkling waters and eat carrots.  CARROTS.  Blech.  Should have just had the drink.  Carrots may be sweet, but.....

Visit #3.  Got out of the car and went into WalMart instead, telling Mike to run through Sonic and get me a Diet Dr. Pepper with vanilla.  I may have been a saint up to this point, but something had to give.

Visit #4.  Cleaned the car while everyone else went inside.  Kept me busy until we could head back to Sonic for another happy hour, diet drink.

Now, I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't admit that I used 12 points on an iced shortbread cookie at Panera Bread today.  Those of you who know Weight Watchers just gasped.  Those of you who don't:  that's half the daily allowance of points.

But, here was my reasoning:   this was something I really wanted.  Actually, probably, more than the ice cream.  And Sundays, in Lenten time, are "free" days.  I had waited and patiently passed up tempting things to get to Sunday.  And, frankly, I enjoyed every last bite of that cookie with my coffee.

Now that I have 12 fewer points to spend this week, I can either ramp up the exercise or just be really controlled until Wednesday, when I weigh in again.  But, forcing myself to wait was good.

Now that we are past the three weeks point, I think I'm on a roll.  Especially after passing the ultimate ice cream challenge.

And, in case you are curious but haven't figure it out...I was the one who suggested ice cream the first family isn't THAT jerky unless you consider that the other three times I was just along for the ride.

Lest I sound like an unsolicited Christmas letter, here is your warning:  I'm about to talk about our vacation.  And, if you didn't really have a vacation over Spring Break or yours turned out crappy or you just get jealous hearing about other people's breaks, close your browser so you don't get peeved at me.

Our "surprise" Galveston/Houston vacation started off on a rocky note:  the room I had so carefully reserved a couple of months prior was unavailable.  Yes, the two-bedroom unit that meant Mike and I could have some "couple time".  The two-bedroom unit that has previously allowed us to sequester the jackwipe(s) of the day who are (pick one) overtired, overstimulated, overfed.  The two-bedroom unit that creates a forced nap zone, without using the word "nap".  Because when you've given up naps but haven't yet had your first real job out of college, you just don't appreciate the value of a good daytime snooze.  Even when you desperately need one or your parents might just lose their ever-lovin'-minds. 

So, the prospect of five people staying in a "studio" was just unappetizing.  Mike took over, wielding his "silver elite" status (the result of a few business trips), and asked the nice person behind the desk to please find us a comparable room at a sister hotel at no additional charge.

Twenty minutes later, as we waited in the lobby and I realized it had been way.too.long since I'd had a proper WW snack, a two-bedroom unit magically appeared.  I'm guessing our lucky leprechaun came a few days early and sprinkled pixie dust all over the computers.  I don't care how it happened, I'm just glad it did.

Now that we were back on track, I asked about the passes to NASA that came included with the price of the room.  Blank stares.  Lots of "UMs".  And an admission that they had no clue that I had reserved that package.  And a promise to "look into it and get right back to us" right after the question "And what time are you planning on leaving in the morning?"

I didn't bother, in that moment, to mention that night two included free Kemah passes.

Somehow, both Mike and I remained calm and positive and determined not to blow a gasket.  Which is really a miracle considering the entirety of my life I've had the propensity to use sarcasm and yelling as a means to an end.

But, calmness, in the end, is what I think totally saved us.  I'll have to remember the adage "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" the next time we find ourselves in the same position.

The next morning, we still didn't have passes.  But, we had a promise to reimburse us for tickets.  So, off we went to NASA.  And that is when God shined down on us.

Houston has this very cool program called a CityPass that allows admission to several venues, all of the family type.  We ponied up $39 per adult and $29 per child and we had admission to NASA, the Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo OR The Health Museum, the Children's Museum OR the Museum of Fine Arts.  Plus, we had a coupon for a $5/ticket discount to Kemah!  Admission alone to NASA was about $24 per adult and $20 per child, so this was a no-brainer.

Buying these passes literally meant we were on the go all day, every day.  Our trip budget originally included NASA and Kemah with our hotel freebies.  From there, we were going to the beach (free) a couple of times and maybe to Moody Gardens.  But, instead, we hit the beach AND added trips to the zoo and the aquarium before we ran out of time.

And, much to Mike's abject horror, I talked to complete strangers* and paid-it-forward with the remaining passes we couldn't use.  A sweet family of four hopefully was able to enjoy the two museums we didn't have time to hit.

As the boys all said:  Best.Spring.Break.Ever.

I couldn't agree more.
And, finally, a shout-out to the amazing Rachel, who took care of the Nowell Zoo while we were gone.  Our babies were really, really, over-the-top happy we were home, but they were also doted over the entire time we were gone.

I haven't gotten up the nerve to tell the dogs that their twice daily walks were courtesy of a juicy check I wrote for services rendered.  And, since no one is writing ME a check?  Hasta la vista regular dog walks.

Unless I find the energy to walk off those shortbread cookies points.....

*My husband has some form of "stranger danger" left over from his formative years that renders him nervous when I try to spread kindness by speaking to someone he doesn't recognize.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Big Mouth

Sunday morning was a beat down this week, with the rain and the cooler weather and the time change.  As someone said to me "It just isn't right to have a time change during Spring Break."  Here, here!

But, Nickels and I managed to make it to church.  I had a duty to fulfill for Children's Chapel and he had an apology to make to someone, so off we went, as usual, running five minutes behind. 

After service, I leaned over the pew and began a conversation with two Moms about Spring Break and their plans.  Both are teachers so having this precious time wedged in between Christmas and Summer breaks is probably more important to them than the usual family.

As we finished chatting, the family in the pew north of my teacher friends came into the conversation.  I won't divulge which family, but I will say that they are very sweet people who we would like to know better but just haven't had occasion to up to this point.

Dad happened to have heard about our Spring Break plans.  Which were a secret from the kids.  And this is where my big, fat mouth betrayed me.

See, in small churches/schools/neighborhoods where everyone is only one step removed from everyone else, people talk.  Not in a gossipy, ugly way.  They just chat about what is going on in life.  And someone whom I had spoken to had told this Dad about our plans for Spring Break.

Thankfully, Dad only divulged we were going to the beach, not which beach.  But, Nickels lit up like a firecracker.  "Oh, thank you, Mr. ____!"  And the look on Mr. ___'s face was abject horror.  His wife turned white as a ghost.

The backtracking and covering up was fun.  "You meant The Alps, right?"  I joked, as he stammered out an apology.  Thankfully, he's a joking kind of person who retorted "Surely your MISSIONS PROJECT is going to go well."  "Yes" I added, "I hear deep South Dallas is REALLY in need."

I felt so bad for Mr. ___.  He said something so innocuous, so innocent, that apologizing for accidentally putting him in that position was the least I could do.  I held myself responsible because I WAS!  Had I just kept my big mouth shut about our plans, the cat never would have exited the bag.* 

Isn't that the trouble with our tongues?  We wag them and those who hear what we've said sometimes repeat our words.  And, if we aren't careful with what we've said, those words can come back to haunt us, even if they aren't necessarily bad or mean or wrong.

I don't always remember this lesson about the tongue.  Sometimes, I am speaking and I think "OH NO.  Something about saying that just doesn't feel right."  And I can fix my mistake by shutting up.

But, too many times, I finish speaking and it is only much later that I realize I've made a mistake.  Maybe I'm confronted because I've hurt someone.  Or someone is hurt by what I've said but the hurt is so deep that they won't even talk to me to let me know.

That's why we are teaching our kids this lesson about the power of words so early, so they know that the tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the body.

It can be used for good and it can be used for evil.  It must be tamed.  If left unchecked, it can, destroy relationships, and literally, fell nations.

In this particular case, there was no harm.  I promised the other family to give them a blow-by-blow report when we return.  Maybe that opened the door to getting to know them better?

And, now Nickels has a secret that he is having to learn to keep from his other two brothers.  Surely the lesson in that, keeping confidences so as to not ruin a surprise for someone else, is a good one.  It can join the "Santa" secret he and Hooman have to keep until The Babe figures out the goods later in life.

And, I'm sure, as we are picking up trash along the highways in far, South Dallas, that we will be enjoying every moment of it.

Wink.  Wink. 

*And, I added, mostly directed to Mr. ___'s wife, that it is simply easier NOT to let children know the plans, because they start asking way too many questions and getting antsy WAY before the trip.  And that drives me so incredibly crazy that I want to cancel the whole shooting match.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If it looks like fruit and smells like fruit...

it must be from God. That was my revelation this morning during the post-time-change sermon. 

The cute, young priest* was subbing for Bishop this morning.  And, shaking things up by starting his sermon on a political note and discussing the upcoming election.  I do love when I get direction on things of this earth from a man of God.

But, what I love even more is that my church will give me a high-level view of politics but stop short of WHO I should vote for by reminding me that, regardless of who wins...Democrat, Republican, Independent...God is still in charge.  And He is bigger than all this Washington stuff.

Instead, we were directed to look at this election and determine whose platform produces fruit, as in the Fruit of the Spirit.  Because, we can know if a political belief is good or evil by its fruit.

That really gave me pause.  Sure, I have a list of hurdles my candidates need to jump over.  But, if I really look at each issue and at the life of the candidates and I determine if those things are fruitful, I wonder what I will come up with?

Maybe that person I thought was really right won't be.  Maybe that person I thought was so wrong won't be.  I'm not sure.  But, it is a different perspective that I think will be good to apply.

How about you?  Are you looking at your candidates through a Biblical filter?  Are you attempting to align your values with your vote?  Sure, it's not perfect, but nothing on this earth ever is.

Determining who to vote for just became a bit easier for me.  And defending my choice of candidate and why I am not voting for others has also become a bit less daunting.  Because, truly, if I am standing on the word to determine the best (mind you, not the perfect) choice then I am following Christ into the voting booth.

And isn't that better then following anyone else?

*I don't feel remotely bad about saying that.  If it freaks you out, let me add that his younger wife is just precious and wildly pregnant.  Their youngest looks like he should model.  In that family, there is lots of adorable to go around.  And I am extremely happy they share their lives with our church!

Monday, March 12, 2012


A few weeks before the loss of Lt. Col. Darin Loftis became all-too-real to extended members of my family, someone sent an email that referenced the time-tested, easily recognizable, "Taps".

Back in late January, it was more of a curiosity to know the background of the song.  It wasn't important to my day to know obscure facts about a song I only heard sporadically.  So I flippantly blazed through the email, on to more pressing issues of that day.

No one knew at the time that much too soon this song would echo through a cemetery in honor of Darin.  Nor should they.  Death never comes expectedly or conveniently or as a welcome guest of honor.

But today, as I cleaned my inbox of unneeded mail, I paused for a moment to truly take in the message that had been sent.  I sat on the pictures that accompanied the story.  I thought of Darin's life and what it must have meant to so many, people both here and abroad.  I prayed over his family and those still serving in Afghanistan and those who are waiting for a plane to land so they can reunite with a loved one lost.

And I marveled that I never knew that words under girded the sound of the trumpet. 
I never knew that such simple, short phrases could be so powerful.

I don't think I will ever listen to "Taps" quite the same again.

Day is done. Gone the sun.
From the lakes  From the hills.  From the sky.
All is well.  Safely rest. God is nigh. 

Fading light. Dims the sight. 
And a star. Gems the sky. Gleaming bright.
From afar. Drawing nigh.  Falls the night. 

Thanks and praise.  For our days.   
Neath the sun.  Neath the stars. Neath the sky.
As we go. This we know. God is nigh.*

*It is comforting to me that nigh means "near in time, place or relationship".  No matter how you slice it, God is close.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The True Size of Nineteen

A couple of posts back, I lamented the fact that I didn't have scripture to reference for giving advice to those of you who are raising daughters.

Well, that is still a true statement.  But, in looking around today, I discovered a verse I could camp out on for a bit.  Nineteen words that contain so much truth that to thoroughly unpack them you'd need a thousand words.

And, that, in a nutshell, is what I dearly, insanely, love about the Bible.

You can take it at face value.  You can unravel the meaning.  You can read and take away something inspired by the passage.  Each person journeys through the Bible learning different things.  Or learning nothing at all.  Or being inspired in directions others wouldn't have thought to go.

So, this is the verse that started this post:

John 9:31 "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will."

Here are some truths I pulled from the passage, some explicitly written, some from between-the-lines:
We are all sinners.
We all have the chance to be redeemed.
God wants to listen but we have to want to be in right relationship with him (ie: not sinning) for that to happen.
God desires that we do His will. 
Godly people are fallen souls who got back up, asked for forgiveness, and moved back into God's will.
His will is always in our best interest. 
When we do sin, and when we repent, He is totally ready to listen to us.
All this, even though we are sinners.


And that is just one, tiny verse.  In one bookIn one Testament.

Blown away again, Lord.  Thank you today, and every day, for your word.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pay It Forward Websites

One of the issues that continues to clutter my life is the number of magazines I am subscribed to.  I somehow think that I can juggle five subscriptions, two or three regular books, and a Bible study simultaneously.

Joke's consistently on me.  I am still trying to get through back issues with December 2011 emblazoned on the cover.  And my books have a thick layer of dust on them.  The Bible study is relatively unscathed, however, because I just started it last week.  Give it time and I'm sure it will wonder why I'm not picking it up very often, like every other reading material in the house.

But, every once in a blue moon, I pick up a book and read a chapter.  Or, pretty consistently, I do my Bible study.  And, in carpool line, I do actually make it through a few pages of a random magazine about once a week.  During the process of reading any periodical, I tear pages out like crazy.  "Cool recipe", "Great suggestion", "Beautiful room", I think.  As if I am going to make it, use it, and create it.  Ha.

But still.  I tear and then clip to make it look all pretty.  And then I put it in a pile.


But, today I am actually doing something with one of those articles I tore out sometime in the last few (insert one) months/years/centuries.  GO ME!

And, when I looked at what I tore out, thinking it was so important that I had to make it sit impatiently in a pile, I realized this one was TRULY worth saving.

These three websites were brought to my attention by Redbook Magazine.  They are a way to connect with people in need.  But, more importantly, they are a way to connect that anyone, any age, can afford.  So, these sites will allow you to teach the timeless lesson of giving to others to your children in a way that their allowance/chore money will allow.
A financial bump in the road can derail too many folks.  This website allows you to donate to people who need very little but who need that little bit a whole lot.
Let me just say I love the name of this site.  Good job founders.
If you would like to help a person/family living just above the poverty line, this is the site for you.  Most of these families are in the northeastern portion of the U.S.
This is the website I should have created because there have been plenty of times I wished I could have slipped a twenty into someones purse without them noticing.  And without looking like a pickpocket.

Literally, you send givinganon the name, email address and phone number of the person you want to receive your donation and the organization makes a call/writes an email anonymously, on your behalf.  If your beneficiary accepts the offer, givinganon sends them a check.  All without anyone being any wiser.  Brilliant!

OK.  I've given you the ideas, now it is your turn to do the work.  Go get your giving on!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I know some of you think I have my act together.

HA, HA, HA.  You are a really funny bunch of people.  We should consider getting you rounded up and taking that stuff on the road because it is sidespliting. 

Truly, I'm in the same position as every other Mom I meet.  I just go on ridiculous, time-consuming tears that result in me temporarily seeming like I have it going on.  Which, in case you missed that last paragraph, I don't.

Take, for instance, today's day-long task:  Reducing one of my three (yes, three) email accounts from over 600 emails down to 129, to be perfectly exact. In case you are wondering:  yes.  I have a crick in my neck from working on this computer so long.

Truly, why did I need weekly overviews from my kid's teachers from October of last year?  Football schedules from November?  Directions to a party from January?

The answer is:  I didn't.  So, I deleted them.  Many months post-hence, mind you.  But, they are now gone.  And, somehow, I can breathe easier.

The stuff of email is just another distraction to me.  In moving to texting a bit more*, I'm starting to see the beauty in what I like to refer to as "drive by" communication.  That is, bits of information that seem to come at you like gunshots, fast and furious.  They aren't meant to give you all the details.  They are simply meant to give you what you need for the moment.  If you want more?  You have to respond by texting back or calling or emailing.

And for those of you who've known me as a "non-texter" for several months (years?) now:  you were right.  I am growing fond of the medium.  Go ahead and stick your tongue out and tell me "I told you so."

So, for every step forward like texting, I look around and see something else that requires a great deal of work, like the piles that tend to accumulate in my house.  Piles that I can painstakingly explain necessity for.  Piles that help me keep my sanity but also drive me crazy at the same time;  I still haven't figured that equation out yet.

Like those old emails, they clutter my mind.  They clutter my counters.  They tend to drive Mike bananas, though he'll admit he makes piles, too.  And, if we're both being honest, we've seen piling tendencies starting in Nickels and Hooman as well.  Please, Lord, NOT THE BABE!!!

Clearing my mind and my house and my computer of "stuff" is necessary before I can calm myself enough to do things that really matter, such as spending time with God, planning family activities, or getting to the gym to move along the process of getting rid of the extra fluff around my middle.

And, truthfully, I don't clear the junk nearly often enough.  Too many times I'm working on a time sensitive, mission critical, this has to be done NOW, basis.  Then I reach a boiling point and spend way too much time clearing the proverbial and literal cob webs out of my life.  If I don't?  I feel like someone has dumped sludge in my brain and blanketed my feet with quick-dry cement.

That's not having it all together.  That's not having it going on.  That's emergency response, complete with flashing lights and blaring sirens.

And, I know this isn't the way God wants me to live.  He doesn't want all this clutter.  He wants ME.  My time.  My attention.  My devotion.

This is an ongoing battle.  I don't expect to resolve it until I get serious about where my attention belongs.  And, I can tell you it darn sure isn't on "God's To Do List for MommaJ" to continuously be freaking out over piles and overflowing inboxes and a house that never seems to be clean.

I need to learn how to hit "delete" and throw out clipped recipes I'm not going to make anytime soon and remember that dusting can wait while I focus on the most important things:  God, family, and friends.

I need to get out of emergency mode.  I need to strike out the things that aren't important.  I need my heart and head to agree on what is truly important.

This gives me a renewed interest in a bit of Spring cleaning this year.  For me, it will be about getting rid of the shackles that have kept me in a fight or flight pattern of living.  It will be about recognizing there is only one of me and I can't do it all.  It will be about giving up perfectionism and not trying frantically to be on top of it all of the time.

In the coming months, if I reach my goal, my mind won't be so cluttered.  My days can be more about intentionality, not fire fighting.  And my life, though it will still be less than perfect, will shine for Christ because I'll have more time for Him. 

Here's to cleaning.  And reorganizing life.  And prioritizing it all for Him.

*Thank you again, Mike, for doing all the grunt work to get a phone for me that couldn't be bought off the shelf at Wal-Mart for under $25 TT&L.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cool Website Find

In our recent "Come to Jesus" meeting (otherwise known as the "Hi.  I'm Jill.  Well, hello.  I'm Mike.  It's been nice passing in the hallway and sleeping next to you the past several weeks" conversation), Mike and I discovered that one of our areas of disconnect is the family calendar.

Let me distill that thought for you:  I carry a paper calendar.  It is usually in my purse.  A week ago, if he needed information, he tracked me down, hoped to catch me at a good time, and then got his information.  Possibly, but not always, with a side of snark.

This week?  We have COZI.

Even the name sounds awesome, yes? was the answer to our prayers.  Literally.  I was looking through that paper calendar lamenting the fact it was about to run out in July, and I saw this little note that said "I, too, could become someone acting like she lives in 2012 instead of 1912 by getting synced up online."  Actually, it didn't say THAT, but I could read between the lines.

I don't care how or why it makes sense for the Mead Corporation to move me from paper to computer, I just know I'd love to take out the executives in their company and feed them copious amounts of steak and lobster in thanks for SAVING MY MARRIAGE.

Not only do I now have a Calendar accessible from any computer/smart phone, I also have one that will allow me to assign activities for the entire family or one person at a time.

And, while I'm looking at my calendar, a handy click away is a Menu Planner, complete with recipes that download the ingredients to a Shopping List.  And not just one Shopping List, but one for the regular grocery store and one for the warehouse store and as many lists as you care to create on your own.

Are you excited yet?

But, wait!  Calm thyself.  There's more!

There are To Do Lists.  By the dozens.  Create your OWN To Do lists.  PAPERLESS, let's hug the trees, computer lists.  I currently have one for my regular "sign permission slip" stuff, one for each of the three trips we are taking this spring/summer, and one for the financial stuff I can't seem to keep straight in my head (such as "which fund did Mike and I agree that pesky annual homeowners association fee is to come from?")

Though I wouldn't use its functionality because of this blog site, there is also a place to Journal, along with a nice little spot for putting a corresponding picture, designed for people like me who take pictures, never download them, and then wonder "What event was THAT?" five years later.  Cozi Journal gives you space to write what was going on.  No picture?  No problem.  Just type your can use your creativity to picture the event in the future.

If I had one hesitation, it would be that I had a slight glitch with the To Do Lists earlier this week.  For some odd reason, they wouldn't load.

I sent a nice "please help" message to customer service and, within 36 hours, problem fixed.  It still scared me enough to print them out (sorry, trees), but now I'm back to my cozy (ha!) place and I'm not concerned about future hiccups.  The customer service folks eased all my worries by doing such an awesome, efficient fix.

Give it a look-see.  Its free.  Its cool.  Its downloadable.  Its printable.  And, one day at a time, it is saving my sanity.


*MommaJ was not compensated by Mead Corporation for this glowing endorsement, though free Mead products would be readily accepted and greatly appreciated.  Hint, hint.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sound Teaching for Young Men

In case you are curious:  NO.  I haven't entered another deep, dark funk that would explain my lack of writing.

I've actually hit that "Spring is almost here, school activities are through the roof, and I feel like a one-armed wallpaper hanger with a bad, good arm."  Where do the days and hours GO?  At some point, do we find the minutes that zoomed by too fast and get time back?  Inquiring minds want to know!

I want to pause here and thank those of you who emailed, sent cards, and called just to check in and let me know you were thinking of me and praying for me.  I know you are the reason I'm not funkified right now.

But to today's post...which I really don't have time for, but I'm going to steal it away from my normal household duties...

This will come in handy if you are raising a boy or praying over a Godson or grandboy or friend's son. 

FYI:  This is Paul speaking about what should be taught to various groups of people.

Titus 2: 6-8
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.  In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

So, by teaching our young men in appropriate ways, ways that are above reproach, we create a situation where people who might oppose us will, literally, be at a loss for words.  They might try to say unkind things, but the shame will be on them.  Talk about holy retribution without even lifting a finger!

Sorry I don't have anything to add about girls today.  Maybe another post??!  But, I'm sure there is SOMEONE in your life for whom you can add this scripture as a prayer.  If not, feel free to pray for Nickels, Hooman and The Babe. 

In this house, we wallpaper-hangers can use all the help we can get!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Humor Me

"I'm proud of my humility."  --Nickels

Nothing like an almost-13-year-old to distill it down to one, pithy sentence.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Words With Friends

In my mind, the evolution of the tongue-in-cheek text request from a dear friend that simply said:
"Pray for me.  I'm about to sort socks"...

I hate sorting socks, too!
I hate sorting anything that has to be put into pairs.

I like pears, though.
I do like sorting through the pears at the grocery to find the perfectly ripe ones.
I guess I don't hate sorting THAT much.
And, I really do like a good pair of socks.

So, maybe sorting socks really isn't all that bad after all.

Silver lining, people.  It's all about the silver lining.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Glimpse

I have long wanted to search the mind of a liberal to truly understand where s/he is coming from.  For the life of me, I just can't relate to, understand, or empathize with liberal beliefs.  Honestly, I see so many of them as morally wrong and some as just plain old common sense without the sense.

As I was doing some research today, I ran across a very interesting article written in Science magazine.  Called "The New Synthesis in Moral Psychology", this study published in May 2007 sought to understand how morality plays into decisioning, specifically how fairness and harm, when factored into the equation, bring about moral judgments.

Liberals and conservatives were asked to judge five categories and rate them on how relevant the issue was to moral judgment. 

Liberals tended to put a high moral value on fairness and lack of harm, but tend to value loyalty to their ingroup, importance of authority, and personal purity as less important characteristics.

The more politically conservative someone becomes, on the other hand, the more they tend to value all five categories of morality about the same.

This explains so much to me!  I feel like I am peeking under the hood of the OCCUPY movement with a bit more clarity.

Basically, fairness boils down to this:  most people, whether liberal or conservative, care about things being equitable.  They want to help when they can.  They give to those less fortunate.  They sacrifice of themselves when a need is presented.
But, here is an interesting point from a Biblical (neither liberal NOR conservative) perspective:  fairness is not a tenet the Bible speaks much about.*  It truly is more of a human issue.  And, often, our standard of fairness is judged by what is happening around us to other people, not what God has for our lives.  We look at others houses and possessions and jobs and we think "He doesn't deserve that.  What has he done, that I haven't, to deserve it more than I?"  That kind of reasoning leads to a host of unholy thoughts.  And it attacks liberals and conservatives with equal fury.

I think too many people look at what they don't have, see selfish ambition (an "act of sinful nature" as defined in Galatians 5:19-20) being glorified, idolized, and rehashed daily in every form of the media, and declare life unfair.  The issue isn't that life is unfair;  it's that people's selfish behavior is categorically wrong!  Our media, in constantly inundating us with the lives of people who are selfish, greedy, and not at all charitable, is glorifying evil and placing it on our plates declaring it good.  No wonder we're all so confused!
The other major point of agreement between liberals and conservatives is care about not harming others (and, I would tend to think that this would include other people, the planet, animals, etc.)

And, for me, this is a major sticking point.  It's a "I want my cake and eat it too" argument. 

If high value is placed on not harming others, why is abortion considered so acceptable among many liberals?  Is it that a fetus isn't consider "human"?  Is it that it isn't "fair" to the Mother to have to carry through with a pregnancy that she doesn't want?  I'm not sure.

When I place that against the deafening screams of those who see all animals as valuable, worth saving from euthanization, and above humans beings in the pecking order, I wonder.**

If the research is right, then a large portion of our society wants their lives to be fair, they don't want to harm those around them, but they also don't want anyone telling them what to do (which includes not being loyal to any particular group, resisting authority, and using their sexuality any way they please.)

And, that, in my mind, explains more.  It still doesn't make sense, but it explains the rationale.

Quite simply, I see a bunch of contradiction in this line of thinking.

God tells us to obey Him (obey authority).

He tells, for our own good, to be pure. He asks us to remain pure (Psalm 119:1-10), by walking according to the law of the LORD.  By being obedient.  By living according to God's word.

He tells us He has given us a group, His church, that we are to be loyal to, even though it isn't, and won't be, perfect. (reference here)

He trusted us to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the livestock, the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground (Genesis 1:20).  He left all of those animals and our entire earth in our care.

He told us not to murder (the sixth commandment).

Truly, if, somehow, we could all just dig into a Bible and look for these five issues and agree with what GOD COMMANDS, we wouldn't have these great divides.

Except, maybe that pesky issue of fairness.  But, even with that one, if we would stop comparing ourselves, this would cease to be a point of division:  "And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."  Ecclesiastes 4:4.  If envy stops, we've stopped comparing.  If we've stopped comparing, nobody worries about fairness.

So, there's an "easy" fix...we all have to believe the Bible, agree with one interpretation of the Bible, and
live out what we've discovered, preaching the Good News across all nations until Christ deems us fit to return to our great planet again.

Now THAT plan?  Sounds like one I've read about before.

And, frankly, it sounds like Heaven on earth.

*The Bible often speaks in terms of outcomes having to do with faithfulness, blessing, wisdom and other traits that have to do with following the commands of God/Christ, not with luck or out of a sense of fairness.

**Though, I do not see any clause in the Bible that says we are to treat our animals inhumanely.  I firmly believe that is crossing over a line God didn't intend us to cross.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Gift of Giving Praise

"Affirmation isn't understood."  --Attributing this to Dr. Tim Keller (but unsure.  sorry.)

The theme of affirmation is running wild through my life right now.  An unbridled pony, enjoying the wide open spaces of my mind, playing in the wind, taking in the sun and rolling in the meadows.  When I close my eyes, she is there, that animal who reminds me of the effects of blessing and the tragedy of the unspoken.

Conscious compliments brushed with natural grace don't come out of my mouth the way I wish they would.  I stumble over what to say, how to say it, when to speak.  I wonder if what I say, write, speak, is taken the way it was intended.  There are too many things, too many conversations, too many thoughts I wish I could take back.

Poorly constructed corrections aimed at my children are a pot of thrown hot water, scalding their bodies, twisting their faces into contortions and tears and causing them to run from the one who is supposed to love them so.  I cry out in pain to God for not knowing how to do this Mommy thing right all the time, especially those times when it goes oh, so wrong.

The balance of correction and affirmation doesn't come naturally.  Time seems to steal moments away, times when pausing and coming down to their level and talking with them calmly would be the best thing to do.  But, lessons await, homework beckons, dinner boils, and the patience to control feelings and remember to soothe the lesson with a loving reminder of how awesome God made them flees from memory.  And, yet another opportunity to build a bridge is crushed by the reality of life.

The Prayer of Humble Access, the pre-Eucharist cry of the masses, crosses neurons:  "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.  But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.”

I serve crumbs instead of mercy.  I offer anger in place of love.  I thrive in finding fault instead of giving praise.  My children are Esaus, stripped of their blessing, coming back asking "...don't you have another blessing for me?"

Sweet children, God is working on this part of me, on that part that didn't know affirmation but knows it is necessary.  Like you, Mommy is a work-in-progress.  Fallen.  Forgiven.  Trying.  Sometimes succeeding.

Those days where the ears wait for a lovely word pain me.  I press forward, trying to keep this most important fact at the forefront:  You are loved.  You are important.  You are a blessing.  But, without those words being spoken, you may never know.

Lord, make my path straight, clear my mind, remind me of the importance of expressing my love so my children see you shine through me.  Give me lovely words to speak.  Remind me to speak them.  Amen.

*This is a note for me, to remember as I write, that God can do all things.  He is teaching me to take the "I" out of my writing and I found that daunting, at best.  He guided my fingers today.

**This post is His message to me, that I share with you, knowing I am not alone in struggling with this Mommy thing.  Hugs.