Wednesday, February 18, 2015


A fever and my four-year-old.  It's like watching a merry-go-round in slow motion.

The cheer is still behind his words and there is a hint of sparkle still in his eyes, but his movement happens at a snail's pace.  His mind and heart are ready to join in the activity around him, but his body urges him to draw up his oversized green blanket and find a couch.

Our days are passed with thermometer readings, board games, puzzles, "What can we do now?", worksheets, screen time, books, naps and snuggling. Lots and lots of snuggling. Going on six days...

I've got to be honest: there is a part of me that wishes for less snuggling.  You mean you want me to ignore the veggies I just started sautéing on the stove?  You need to snuggle with me? Again? I wonder how I could multitask during this snuggle session...  But there is a wiser part of me that knows this time is brief, that for these passing moments, this little guy needs the comfort of companionship so that he is not alone in his sickness.  "Can you leave the door open? I'll just nap on the couch. Who's going to come be with me so I won't be lonely?" All phrases he has spoken more than once in recent days.  All phrases that give me a glimpse into his heart.

When he's hurting, he seeks to be in loving arms.

This afternoon, I'm challenged to think about how God responds to our needs for snuggles in the midst of our discomfort and pain. He never tells us that he has other things that he needs to be doing, or that time spent with us is not productive enough. He does not ask us to "go it alone" or tell us to wait until he's available.  He is always available.  Always willing.  Always attentive to our cries. 

When we are hurting, we can always seek out his loving arms.

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 
Psalm 12:5

There is no one like the God of Israel.
    He rides across the heavens to help you,
    across the skies in majestic splendor.
The eternal God is your refuge,
    and his everlasting arms are under you. 
Deuteronomy 33:26-27

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young. 
Isaiah 40:11

The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders. 
Deuteronomy 33:12

That's enough to give me the motivation I need, for all the snuggling needed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This morning, Noah and I had a discussion about our plan to "give something up" as a family for Lent.  I suggested not playing the Wii, using the iPad or eating treats out of their Halloween pumpkins (yes--we are still milking our Halloween candy around here).  Personally, I'd be happy to be the one to choose which option we pursue, but there's just something about imposing a sacrifice on someone else that seems hypocritical.

He came up to me later when I was putting away laundry:
"Mom, maybe we could not play outside during Lent, because I don't really like playing outside that much," he reasoned.

I can see this is going to be more difficult than I thought...

Hopefully, when Dave comes home, he can use some of his stellar "daddy-negotiation skills" to help us come to an agreement on our idea of sacrifice.


Earlier this week, I came up with a list of Lent and Easter ideas to do with little kids to share with my church.  I'm sharing it here, too.  Hope you enjoy picking out some activities for you to share the meaning of Lent with your kids! 

And if you have any ideas on convincing a four-year-old about the benefits of sacrifice, I'd love to hear them. 

20 Family Ideas for Celebrating Lent and Easter

  1. Follow a “path to Easter” like this one.
  2. Make a paper chain. Choose a certain color for the 40 days of Lent, and add a special color for each Sunday.  This is a great way to count down with little ones.
  3. Create a “Lenten Tree,” using a vase, tree limbs and 45 Bible verses (one for each day between Ash Wednesday and Easter). Read a verse together as a family each day as you take it off the tree. The tree will be bare by the Saturday before Easter, and then you can decorate that same tree Easter morning with beautiful Easter decor! Check out this for a visual.
  4. Decide as a family what to sacrifice during Lent: candy, a gaming system, soda, movies, eating out. Teach your kids why sacrifice reminds us of Jesus. Try to replace these things with prayer time or time serving others.
  5. Take one item out of your pantry every day of Lent.  By Easter, you’ll have a large donation bin of food that you can give to the local food bank.
  6. Memorize a simple prayer or Bible verse together.
  7. Start a “Sacrificial Love Jar.” Each time you see your kids (or spouse) acting in a way that reminds you of Jesus’ love for us, add a jellybean (or coin or other treat) to the jar. On Easter, enjoy the sweets of sacrifice!
  8. Read an Easter story together.
  9. Create/Plant an Easter Garden.  Here’s a great tutorial.
  10. Make an Easter Basket for a neighbor. Make sure to include items that help them know the true reason for Easter joy!
  11. Make a Crown of Thorns out of play-doh and toothpicks.
  12. Light a candle during dinner. You might want to add a candle for each of the days of Lent (better make sure you have 40 candles!) or just add one with each passing week of Lent.
  13. Gather spare change during the 40 days of Lent, keeping it in a special jar.  On Easter, you can make a meaningful offering as a family, or donate it to a charity.
  14. Watch an Easter movie, like Veggie Tales’ An Easter Carol.
  15. Make “Temptation Cookies.” Have the kids help you make cookies. Leave them out in the kitchen after they’ve been baked, but don’t allow the kids to eat them until the following day.  Talk about temptation, and how Jesus was tempted, but never sinned, so that we could have salvation. Sweet!
  16. Color Easter Eggs. Talk about how NEW LIFE represents what happens on Easter.
  17. Give your kids meaningful Easter Baskets.  Check this out for inspiration.
  18. Buy Resurrection Eggs for your family like these, or make your own set like this.
  19. Watch caterpillars morph to butterflies with a kit like this. Talk about how Jesus’ resurrection means changed lives for all Christians.
  20. Make Resurrection Rolls—my favorite!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


A request for Silent Night.  In the still and darkness of a room only lit by a metallic-blue night light, the voice of a four-year-old half whispering a request for Silent Night.
I don’t ask why or remind him that it’s not Christmas.  I sing.
And as the notes come shaky out of my mouth, his little head finds its way onto my lap. My right hand strokes his so-soft hair. I still smell the bath soap. I rub my grown hands up and down his growing back. We are comfortable in this snuggle.  The notes continue to break through the silent room, house. I sing about the beginning of peace alive on earth. He reaches his arm up and rubs my belly, perhaps wanting to say goodnight to the little brother he felt moving earlier this evening.
Sweet moment.
My heart reaches to its farthest capabilities to try to understand how I am here in this world as a receiver of the creation God has so wonderfully made. He made my son? Incredible. He formed his heart and put those strands of DNA together in a singularly wonderful way so that there would never be another boy like this one? How can it be? It is too marvelous for me.
And to think that I get to be a participant observer to this little creation. Why should I be so blessed?  Why should any of us who are parents, who are watchers of little lives, be so blessed as to be given front row seats for such an event as this.  One special and unique little boy. And the show is mine all for the watching.

Reverence for this brings me to silence. Silent night, indeed.