Thursday, January 22, 2015


His hands went up against the back screen door, open and vulnerable as his dark brown eyes press inside.

"When do I get to start Kindergarten?"

It's coming. A change is coming to my family.

In my mind, it seems more daunting than adding a third child to the mix. I've done babies. I've never introduced a child to kindergarten.

Kindergarten? How do we do that as a family? How do we enter into a new stage where we have to have a kid up and out of the house by 8:00, five days a week? I know all the working parents out there are laughing at me; families do this all the time. But our family does not. We have not, up to this point. In our house, Mondays are set aside for family days--running errands together, going on breakfast dates, trips to the zoo. We leave Fridays open for playing around the house, meeting up with friends, and working in the backyard. Five mandatory school days. What happens to our "family Mondays?" Will we miss our laid-back Fridays? How will we as a family handle this coming transition to kindergarten?

"We're going to have to have more play dates with Ty and Emily because I'm going to miss going to school with them."

Yes. And his best friends. The ones he has known and played with since he was 6 months old. Will our Saturdays turn into a chaotic mess of trying to get as much family and friend time squeezed in as possible? Will these sweet little companions be able to keep their friendship despite their different schools? Does a five-year-old boy know how to grieve a loss of relationship?

"Yes, buddy," I say. "We'll make sure we do play dates."  He leaves his spot at the door to go play with his trucks.

Why is this step so difficult for me to come to grips with as a mom? I'm not certain, but I have some ideas. It's because I want to do it right--and it's hard for me to do things right the first time through. It's because I don't know any of the teachers or staff at his new school--and it's hard for me to trust people I haven't met. It's because it signifies an end to the precious "baby" days spent together--and it means my role as his teacher is shifting. It's because it means the presence of a secular influence in our family system--and it's hard not to fear what that could bring.

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillipians 4:6 (NLT)

So, I begin to pray. For the confidence to enroll my little boy in the school to which God is leading us. For the courage to walk with my eyes fixed on Him instead of on unfamiliar or uncomfortable surroundings. For the wisdom to guide Noah to lean on his Good Shepherd when best friends are no where to be found. For the determination to take each day as it comes, leaving the worries of tomorrow in the hands that have crafted tomorrow. For the peace to know that the one who created time will provide all that is necessary to build relationships within our family and with our friends. For the ability to thank Him for all that he has done and is doing, in all circumstances.

"Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:7 (NLT)

Photo credit and special thanks to Mike Partain, for this week's pictures

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Glimpses - brothers

It was about 6:15 in the morning. The sky was still dark out my bedroom window, with just the first hues of light fading into the black. I was snuggled in my bed, comfy under two blankets, as the heater kicked on to begin warming up the house.

As I closed my eyes and shifted to the other side of my head for just a few more minutes of precious sleep, I heard it. It wasn't the sound of the door and shuffling of feet to let me know I would soon be awoken by my "morning person" toddler. It wasn't the sound of my Love's coffee pot grinding fresh beans to fill his cup. Instead, it was the sound of two little boy voices, finding each other in the dark, breaking the silence of sleep in order to reclaim the commeraderie that perhaps they had left behind in their dreams.

The sweet sound of brother talk and laughter drifted into my room, and it was a lovely way to begin a day.

I was instantly thankful for their friendship, for their kinship, and for our small house that meshes them together in the same bedroom.  As a smile stretched its way across my face, I asked God for it to always be so.

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
Psalm 133:1

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Ever been in a pillow fight?  Ever been in a pillow fight where you were out-numbered ... by brothers?  It felt kinda like that. A bit like a four-against-one pillow fight, and I was definitely losing.  They weren't hard or hurtful blows...just constant, and I felt as though my efforts to attack were of no consequence.

That's how I would describe this last month--the most wonderful time of the year.  Don't get me wrong: it was not abnormal.  It was not unlike the "typical American" experience. It was parties and cooking and family gatherings and shopping and preschool performances and worship and baking and mailing and making and driving. There was joy, celebration and excitement. There was peace, love and music.  It really was wonderful.

But even as my mind sorrowed to packed away books and CD's with the ornaments and tree, my spirit had a surprising reaction. Ahhhh, rest. relief. quiet.  The end of the Christmas season signaled the end of my heart's losing-match pillow fight. 

Today was a welcome change of seasons, and the whole world seemed intent to celebrate with me. The sun is shining and the weather is warmer than it's been. People are in no rush. Friends take the time to say what's been on their minds for the last two weeks.


The word for the day that we celebrate the Magi finding Christ also happens to be the word we use to describe a moment of sudden revelation or insight: epiphany.

While my insight has been more slow-and-in-the-works than sudden, it came to a sweet culmination today, nonetheless.

I was reminded again today of the importance of my actions to my children, across the days and weeks and Christmases and years.  And if I were to only do one impactful thing for them once a week, I would get to do that about 936 times from the day that they were born to the day that they'll be old enough to go live on their own.

So, my eyes were opened.  There was some epiphany work going on in my heart. In a similar way that the pillow fight of Christmas busyness interfered with my vision, the insight of Epiphany sharpened my focus.  

My heart had been longing for something, although I wasn't sure what (other than the routine of January). Today I realized that the chaos and clamor of December had been pounding away at the values I hold in my mom heart. To spend time with my children; to direct life-building words to my children; to show a consistent and lavish love for them; to purposefully bring them into groups that will help mold them; to share stories together; to linger in times of untainted fun. These are things I value. These are things I hold dear. It's not the shopping or the performances or the lights.  And as I had time today to rename (and reclaim) the desires I have, I was very aware that I was lacking wisdom in the month of December. When I review my attitude for the day-in/day-out, there was something terribly lacking--the white space of turning insight into action.

   But today was no longer Christmas.  Today was Epiphany.

Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, Zeke and I spent a half hour at a park.  Instead of zoning out, I told important stories and answered deep heart questions in the car ride home.  Instead of saying no, I said yes, and the boys and I spent 45 minutes on toys with wheels going up and down the driveway. Instead of losing my patience, I snuggled with my 2-year-old who was having a hard time calming down for his nap. Instead of spending time on my phone, I snuggled next to my 4-year-old, reading a good book while he held my right hand tight as he fell fast asleep.

What a gift.  What an epiphany.  To lose the busy schedule and busied brain and delight in the stars that God has placed in front of my eyes.  This is the place where God does miracles.  This is the place were my heart can worship.

   After this ... the wise men went their way.  And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:9-11