Saturday, January 1, 2011


"Can we read another chapter?" he asks.

"Sure honey -- let me get my things pulled together," I reply. We settle down at the school table, me with a sketch book and colored pencils, he with a well worn copy of the first Harry Potter book. He wants me to share in the mystery and fantasy of his beloved series. So I listen. As Harry shoots by on his broomstick, I sketch away at my little chickadee. (That's pretty much all I can draw -- and the poor things still tend to be rather disproportionate every single time.)

The chapter comes to a thrilling close, and my little chestnut-backed chickadee has found his leafy habitat on the formerly blank white tablet page. It's not quite right. Something about that neck is amiss. Oh well. I'll keep practicing. I tuck away my supplies, and Drew and I agree to read the next chapter very soon.

Shortly after we've gone on to our separate activities and responsibilities, I notice that the school table is circled by three children. Each one gripping a colored pencil, face twisted in concentration. Three sketch books -- pages of creativity and promise spiraled together -- lie open, receiving the visions of young minds.

The scene before me is at once heartwarming and startling. They want to be just like their mama. They're sketching away at penguins, bluebirds and verdin . . . because that's what their mama does.

I've had a phrase stuck in my head for the last several days. I have Kat, over at Inspired to Action, to thank for this malady. Her "Twelve Words" on creating goals for the new year are succinct and pithy:

Need goals? Imagine who you want your kids to become. Be that.

My kids are "becoming." In many ways, they are becoming what is modeled by Jamie and me. I've known this, but the bird sketching session brought it vividly to mind once again.

I observe proof of this daily. I brew a cup of tea, and Avery is sure to ask, "Mama, can I have some tea, too?" I put on the finishing touches of my makeup, and Bethie sidles up, "Mama, can I wear some lip gloss?" I curl up with a book, and Aidan runs to me with his latest read, "Check out this dinosaur, Mom!" I write out something in my notebook and see Drew's many notebooks lying around, filled with his thoughts, projects and creations.

They're watching. And, for better or for worse, they're doing.

I don't usually come up with a list of New Year's resolutions. Of course I know that there are always many "shoulds" in my life. I should exercise more. I should eat less sugar. I should go to bed earlier. I should finish the book I started months ago. I should, I should, I should . . . .

But I've decided to take a different approach. I want this year to be a year of awareness. It's one goal, but like a nice tidy package, it's all-encompassing. Anything to which I might aspire this year begins with awareness.

I want to be aware that my children are watching me. I want to be aware that God has entrusted them to me and that He wants to shape me to be the mama that they need. I want to be aware that through the power of the cross, I can model for my children what I hope for them to be. I also want to be aware that, through the power of the cross, they can become much more than I have ever dreamed they could be.

This goal of awareness -- it's also forgiving. (I'm fond of forgiveness.) I will fall short this year. I will loose my temper, I will serve myself, I will make poor choices. I am aware of this. But with every shortcoming, with every slip, stumble and bumble, I can be aware that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). He won't leave me alone in the brambles. He'll remind His flawed little chestnut chickadee that He delights to make His power known, even through His erroneous creatures. And together -- throughout a year that stretches hopeful, promising, unknown beyond the horizon -- we'll soar.
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