Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Breakfast

In honor of The Royal Wedding, we decided to have our own Royal Breakfast.

Earl Grey tea was served in my British teapot, brought over from England by my dear mother-in-law.

Of course, there were scones. We love scones. Scones appear on our table at least once a week. (They also appear in other places, but they're supposed to be at the table.)

Little Miss Avery Kate was delighted to hear that the bride was also named Kate. She donned her fancy dress and topped the look off with a red and blue Snow White tiara.

Aidan wore his slug shirt.

We mostly minded our manners. (Please don't tell the Queen that neon straws and fork licking were involved in The Royal Breakfast.)

And we mostly had lots of fun. Isn't that what a royal breakfast is for?
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

What I Need

"Do you need a pen or a pencil, Mommy?" Aidan eagerly asked.

I shook my head and absently muttered, "No, Honey," keeping my eyes on the math worksheets that my son was avoiding.

He tried again. "Do you need a pen or a pencil, Mommy?"

And again I kept staring at the work before us and dismissed him. "No thank you, Sweetie. Let's get this math done."

And then I looked up. Standing before me, grinning widely, Aidan had a pen and pencil balancing on each ear, reporter style. He didn't really want to give me a pen or a pencil. He just wanted me to look. He just wanted me to smile.

It's true that I don't always need a pen or a pencil. But I do always need to look. For it's only in the looking that I find the smile.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chocolate or Vanilla

Wide-eyed and breathless with anticipation, my children approached the ice cream counter. They had but one desire: chocolate. But as they peered into the case, fingertips pressed against the cold glass, their convictions wavered. So many choices—so many different kinds of chocolate! Chocolate peanut butter, chocolate fudge, chocolate marshmallow, chocolate ripple . . .

(Would you join me over here at Rio to continue reading?)
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

And Can it Be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

How can it be? His love, His grace, His mercy . . . unfathomable. Too much. Excessive. Extravagant. Undeserved. Perfect.

I can't help but run to Him, rejoicing in my risen Lord! Will you run with me?

"And Can it Be" by Charles Wesley
"Peter and John Running to the Tomb" by Eugene Burnand
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Friday, April 22, 2011

My Flibbertigibbet

Miss Kate appears to be hatching a plan once again. I'm not sure what will come of the hammering and taping and digging-through-of-Mommy's-desk. Perhaps she's not even sure. But once she gets started, there's no stopping her.

It only adds to the charm that she's wearing a pink smiley-face leotard and humming, "How do you solve a problem like Maria" in a remarkably shrill voice. (This is much easier on my nerves, however, than yesterday's experiment which involved Miss Kate answering all of my questions in a horrific, monotone singing voice. It was a true test of my endurance.)

Oh, wait. The hammering and singing have ceased. She's now moved on to the Perler Beads. The plan is to "decorate my whole room with Perler Beads!"

(two minutes later . . .)

Scratch that. It was apparently a short-lived dream. Now she's heading out the front door . . . . If you'll excuse me, I have a tornado to catch.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just Ten Minutes

Ten minutes isn't very long. Not long at all. Unless you're undergoing some sort of medieval torture. Then it is probably pretty long.

As I was saying, ten minutes goes by quickly. Especially when I'm sitting at my computer, mindlessly hopping from one blog article to the next.

Last night, I had a wee slice of time during which there wasn't anything pressing to do. The kids were getting out their last minutes of play before bed, and I was miraculously caught up on laundry and dishes. (Gasp.)

I had a few emails to check and facebook messages to respond to, so I figured I'd hop online and take advantage of the interlude. Now "hopping online" suggests a quick, hopefully intentional jaunt about the web. I knew my children would be ready for their story very soon, and it was up to me to deliver.

I also knew that they would be quite content to keep playing as long as I wanted to stay at the computer. ("My darlings, would you rather go quietly to bed right now or play wildly for another hour?" It's a no-brainer.)

So I weighed the options and came to the conclusion that reading a fairy tale to my children was a much better use of my time than privately reading a bunch of random blogs, no matter how spiritual or enriching they might be.

I keep a timer on my desk. I decided to set it for ten minutes, purposing to spend only that amount of time on the computer. Boy did it go by quickly. I didn't mind, but it made me realize how easy it is to spend thirty minutes here and there without meaning to. Thirty minutes that could have been spent with my family.

I closed the browser and grabbed A Child's Book of Stories. The children came tumbling downstairs, eager to hear Aidan's choice, "Tom Thumb." They nibbled on a snack as we giggled and gasped over Tom's wild escapades.

The computer sat idly on my desk in the vacant school room, while I sat engaged and alive, surrounded by my precious children.

I think I'll use a timer more often.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ain't We Got Fun?

The other night at the dinner table, Little Miss Avery Kate ranked our family members according to funniness. I was a tad nervous to hear the results. Daddy, of course, was the funniest one of all. I've forgotten the ranking of the others, but I certainly haven't forgotten mine: Last. Dead last. I'm the least funny person in the Lawson home. Leave it to a five-year-old to tell it like it is.

I figured I'd try and gauge her system. "So Daddy is super, super, super funny, Aidan is super funny . . . and Mommy is just regular funny?" This was not her system. She wrinkled her brow and looked at me as though I was terribly misinformed. "You're not funny."

Oh. Not funny at all.

I'm slowly recovering from the blow. It still rankles a bit. She wasn't being mean. Indeed, I get frequent reminders that I'm her "best mommy ever!" I'm just not a "funny" mommy. But aren't "best mommies" supposed to be just a little bit funny? Maybe they're not necessarily supposed to make weird noises or quote Nacho Libre with flawless accents, but still. Ain't we got fun?

This weekend, I got my chance to be a fun mom. Jamie took the boys out for the evening. Inspired by a couple of friends who are super creative when it comes to pampering their daughters (hello, Heidi and Kelly), I decided that we would have our very own, at-home spa night. I really built it up. And they were excited.

A bubble bath was first on the agenda. The lights were dimmed, and I served the girls ice water as they soaked in the tub, surrounded by candles and classical music. Doesn't that sound nice? You would think so. But you're forgetting about Miss Kate. "I don't like this music. I want Bach." We listened to Bach.

I asked if the girls would like a towel rolled behind their necks and brought in dishes of sliced strawberries. Doesn't that sound nice? You would think so. But you're forgetting about Miss Kate. "I just wanna play. Like a real bath." I eventually convinced her of the merits of a relaxed soak.

I wrapped their little heads in towels and escorted them downstairs for massages, manicures, and a movie. We started a cute Shirley Temple film . . . . "I don't like this movie." (We watched Little Women instead.) I massaged their arms and legs with lavender body lotion, I painted their nails a dark color, and I put Avery's hair in sponge rollers, Bethie's in french braids so they could wake up in the morning with lovely hairdos.

For the grand finale we enjoyed strawberries dipped in chocolate. Bethie was aglow. And Miss Kate, you ask? Well . . . . Maybe I wasn't quite clear with her in the beginning about what a spa night would entail. She found it to be . . . lacking. "Where's the other stuff? I thought you said we were gonna do lots of stuff."

I was under the impression that we had done lots of stuff. I was also under the impression that we had fun. Actually, we did have fun. It was a wonderful, girlie kind of night. I bet even Miss Kate herself would not be opposed to taking part in another spa night sometime (assuming certain criteria were met . . . .)

So maybe I'm not a "funny" mom. Not funny at all. But that doesn't mean I can't be fun, right? I'm working at it. (If the zip line isn't proof, then I'm sunk.) In an attempt to increase my fun-ness, I would love to hear from you. How are you a "fun" parent to your kids? What makes them laugh? Are you a wild and crazy mom? I need some ideas. And quick. Miss Kate is starting to cry.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Headstands, Rattlesnakes and Pumpkin Pie

The number around the dinner table dwindled as the children excused themselves one by one. One child, however, was in no hurry to leave. He had things to talk about. Nothing in particular, but everything a possibility . . . . Jamie and I sat, entranced, as this eight-year-old boy talked, and talked and talked. It was as though he was transported to another realm, and we were invited to travel along and witness his stream of consciousness.

When Aidan falls into this mode, which is rather frequent, his blue eyes deepen and he actually gets that "faraway look" that you read about. He's not dreamy-whispy, though. His pulse quickens and his eyes widen. He enunciates slowly, then pauses and stares for dramatic emphasis -- not to bring attention to himself, but to let the importance of what he's just said sink in. He delivers his store of information then flows unceasingly from one thought to the next.

Sometimes I'm fast enough to jot down his conversations. I've even been known to say, "Slow down! Can you sat it again? I need to write this stuff down." He happily obliges.

This afternoon, as I visited with my grandma on the phone, she referred to that "faraway look" that Aidan gets and that way his mouth has of twisting when he's particularly enthusiastic about something. So I share here with her and with you some of the wide-eyed, twisty-mouthed gems that we've recently enjoyed:

*We've had a very wet spring (as Miss Kate recently grumbled, "I told you it was going to be a sad spring!") When the sun actually appears, the children are beside themselves with joy. The other day, I had Aidan check the temperature as part of his math assignment. He came back shouting, "If the temperature blobs up 30, it's gonna be 100!" And that was the end of the math lesson. There was no keeping this boy indoors on a rare sunny day.

Math is more fun in a blanket fort.

*Speaking of math, Aidan wanted to be in tip-top shape for a timed fact sheet. He came up with what he considered to be a helpful preparatory procedure: "If I do a headstand, it will get my brain all popped up!"

*One of the things I appreciate about Aidan is his cheerful disposition. He finds the good and camps there. Take, for instance his recent bout with the sniffles. He ran in from blowing his nose and happily said, "Listen to me smell, Mama!" (Heavy, sustained breathing inserted here.) "Just half a snort every breath!" Now that's what I call cheerful. Thankful that it's only half a snort when it jolly well coulda been a whole one.

*I received some good advice from Aidan yesterday. He was eagerly sharing with me his discoveries about the most venomous snakes and could I guess what they were and this is how Jeff Corwin holds a black mamba and so on. But the most important thing to remember is this: California Kingsnakes eat rattlesnakes. Because of this, "You better not dress up as a rattlesnake for Halloween and go on a search for the California Kingsnake." You've been warned. Don't do it.

*Today Aidan was on a stream of consciousness roll. The following was delivered without one pause: "Mom? Can I have a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich? In triangles? 'Cause it's just like eating two pieces of pumpkin pie. Which I can do. When are we going to have pumpkin pie again? Guess what I'm going to have in a year for my birthday dessert?" I finally had a chance to speak: "Ummm, pumpkin pie?" Aidan smiled and confirmed, "You are right."

If you're ever in need of some entertainment, please stop by. Aidan will gladly converse with you on any and every topic. Just one warning: you might feel a bit out of breath when he's done sharing. Even if you haven't uttered one single syllable.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Are You Thinking About?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about creating charts, establishing routines, and eliminating clutter.

I've also been thinking about scarves.

This weekend I stumbled across a few blog articles that, for some reason or another, lodged in my brain and stayed there. The topics didn't leave me with the passive, "Oh, that's interesting," but rather the active, "That's what I'm gonna do!" Funny how that happens sometimes.

Here's what caught my eye.

First, this absolutely awesome online job chart system. It's very cool. My kids love it. I love it. (Okay, we've only had three days to test it, but so far so good.) The parent inputs daily chores to be completed along with the points that can be earned and the rewards that are available (such as a trip to the library, an at home manicure, computer time, etc.). The kids, in turn, keep track of the work they've done and the points they've earned. Then they cash in for their rewards. Did I mention that my kids love it?

The next thing that arrested my attention was the phrase, "Do I wake up TO my child or FOR my child?" This was penned (or typed, as it were) by Kat, guest writer over here. I just love the concept of welcoming your child into the day rather than viewing him as a morning intruder. It's altered the way I approach my morning.

And then the all important, life altering statement found over here at Small Notebook: "If there is one common fashion style in Italy, it’s that everyone is wearing a scarf."

I'm Italian. Italians wear scarves. Ergo, I must wear scarves. I promptly emailed my sister-who-sews-daily and said: "Give me those blog links that will teach me how to make darling scarves! Now! I must wear scarves!" (Or something like that.) She promptly sent me to this site and this site. I'm a big fan of re-purposing fabric and clothing, so I eagerly dove into my stash and set aside a few odds and ends to fashion into scarves. Because I must wear them. (Please feel free to pull me aside some Sunday morning if I seem to have gone overboard with this one. I wouldn't want to overdo the scarf. If, indeed it's at all possible to overdo the scarf.)

So I know these links all seem rather disjointed, but my reaction to them suggests that I'm ready to shout "Spring has sprung!" I'm ready to finally crawl out of that winter hole and blink at the warm, bright sun. It's the time of year when I revisit the way we structure our home life, I organize here and there and I anticipate the creation of something new. It might be a new routine or habit. Perhaps it's a new outlook or attitude. And quite possibly it's also a new scarf.

How are you welcoming spring?
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Walking, We Wait

The passage jumped out at me this morning:

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You;
Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you . . . .
(Isaiah 26:8-9)

Walking . . . we wait. How is this? The two seem at odds.

Yet when I pause and let the words settle a bit, I picture a child, toddling alongside his parent. He stays close by, knowing that daddy is strong and that his way is best, safe, secure. He walks with his father, but he waits, letting daddy lead the way.

In the same way, our Father has shown us the way. His Son charted the course that we may follow, that we may walk. And while walking -- while moving forward with confidence -- we wait. We anticipate so much. We anticipate His will for our lives, we anticipate answered prayer, and most of all we anticipate His glorious return. We wait.

How do we know if we're walking and waiting the way the Lord would have us walk and wait? It's in the next line: Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. That's it. That's the walk. Every step . . . His name is our desire. Every word spoken . . . His name is our desire. Every thought, every reaction, every human interaction . . . His name is our desire.

Unfortunately, we don't always live like this. Yet there is such encouragement in the next phrase: "My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You . . . ." Whether or not we know it or acknowledge it, we are yearning for Him. We wake up yearning, we go to sleep yearning.

Many times that yearning is misunderstood. We ache for Him, yet fill it with something else. We long to be with Him, yet we seek communion elsewhere. We long for beauty, for comfort, for peace with what seems like an unquenchable desire. Don't you see it? We. Want. Him.

And He wants us.

So we ask for His help and treasure His ready-and-waiting abundant grace. We pray with Isaiah that these words will be true of us. That we will be people who walk in His ways while waiting eagerly for Him. That we will satisfy the yearning of each evening and the longing of each morning with His name and with His name alone. Walking, we wait. It's the desire of our hearts.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Incredible Zipping Sisters

We are two of the most indecisive people in the world.

"Do you think it's safe?"

"I don't know. Do you think it's safe?"

"I don't know. Maybe I should try it first."

It was at this point that I really, really wished I had my camera. My sister passed her toddler into my arms and headed toward the zip line.

"Watch your sciatica!" I gently suggested.

She grabbed the bar, grinned weakly and stepped forward. Boy did she zip. Through the woods, careening like a madwoman, my dear, sweet little sister. We cheered, whooped and hollered.

Upon her safe return, the questions began anew.

"Do you think it's safe for the kids?"

"I don't know. Do you?"

"I don't know. Maybe we should make Drew try it out . . . ."

He looked dubious. I challenged him, "If you can go whitewater rafting, you can go down a zip line." He took the bait. He zipped. He grinned, and said, "Who's next?!"

The questions resumed.

"Should there be an age limit?"

"Should they be at least eight years old?

"I sure wish the guys were here. They'd know."

"Let's say you have to be eight."


So down zipped the ten, nine and eight-year-old cousins with their mothers frantically reminding them to hold on for their dear lives (like they would even consider letting go . . . .). The five and six-year-olds were content to stay on firm ground. All that zipping was a bit too wild for them. (Or maybe it was the mothers that scared them: "Hold on! Remember you have gymnastics next week! You may not break one single bone in your body!" Maybe that was it.)

And then she looked at me with a gleam in her eye. "You wanna go?"

"Oh . . . . I think I'm too old. Am I too old? And I'm really out of shape. Am I out of shape?" (In case you have forgotten, we are two of the most indecisive people in the world.)

She threw my own words back at me: "If you can go whitewater rafting, you can go down a zip line."

Avery hightailed it to the house. She had no desire whatsoever to see her mother behave like a hooligan. Mothers who spend their days sipping tea while reading books just weren't supposed to act this way.

But I took the same bait that my son took. Down the zip line I went, holding on for dear life. I was sure I'd sprain an ankle or fall in a crumpled heap at the end, but I made it. No twisted ankles, no crumpled heaps. Just more cheering, whooping and hollering.

We finally tied up that zip line. Our noses were pink and our cheeks bright with the cold. My sister and I laughed as we made our way through the neighbor's woods back to her house. Who would have thought that we'd spend a day of spring break zipping through the woods? We merrily squelched through the damp mosses and lichens, my sister balancing Clara on her hip as we ducked and giggled through branches, shouting at the kids to please stay out of the freezing cold creek and to not break their necks falling out of that tree house.

My sister and I, we've always been very close. But somehow, zipping through the woods like that, doing something just a tad crazy and letting our kids witness the hilarity -- it brought us even closer. I still wish I had had a camera with me, but I don't think I'll ever be able to erase the mental image of my zipping sister. It was a glorious sight to behold.

I'm not sure if I'll ever go down that zip line again. Don't get me wrong. It was fun to try something new, and it was good to step out of my comfort zone. Even Drew commented on how proud he was to see his mother zip by. But do you remember my hesitations about my age and my not-so-stellar athletic condition? Well, these things seem to have contributed to this interesting sensation I have in my back right about now. A sensation of having been pulled, stretched and unnaturally lengthened. The rack comes to mind. I guess a little heat and ice will do the trick, right? And maybe the stretching did some good, after all. I've always wanted to be as tall as my sister. Now we can really be twins -- just like we always wanted.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There are many things that bug me. Many things. For instance . . . .

1. When walking through the kitchen in my socks, my foot unexpectedly meets with a puddle of water. This I don't like.

2. When entering the kids' bathroom, I see a brand new tube of toothpaste half squeezed out. This I really don't like.

3. When brushing through my child's hair, I find a nest of gum. This I really, really don't like.


There are many things that delight me. Many things. For instance . . .

1. Understanding that the puddle of water was created by an ice cube that fell out of Miss Kate's water bottle. She likes her water to be so cold: "As cold as Neptune!" So she calls it Neptune juice. This, I like.

2. Understanding that, in her excitement to move on to something else, Miss Kate accidentally leaned right on top of that toothpaste tube: "Honest, Mom!" This, I really like.

3. Understanding that the gum will come out. It's come out before. It will come out again. And this time, big sister offers to do the job. From the peanut butter smearing right down to the thorough bathing. This, I really, really like.

All it takes is a shift.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pajamas, Pennies and Slingshots

Aidan twisted and contorted, trying to put on his footed sleeper pajamas. What he failed to realize was that his right leg was in the left pant. He thought it was rather amusing and suggested, "You should write about this in your blog, Mom." And that's all I have to say about that.

What I really wanted to tell you, in case you were wondering, is that a penny, when tucked into a slingshot by a little boy, might get spun 'round and 'round and 'round. The spinning might take place in the living room. And that penny might accidentally be released. If that happens, the glass in a nearby picture frame just might shatter. The very same glass that's been shattered twice before.

It just might happen.

So a word to the wise: watch your pennies, watch your slingshots, and above all else, watch your little boys.

Oh -- and always make sure that your right leg is in your right pant. It's just better that way.
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Monday, April 4, 2011


The elephant on the roof was the first indicator that the weekend might be a tad unusual. I offer you, here today, a series of weekend vignettes.

(This has nothing to do with the elephant on the roof. Just some cuteness I wanted to share.)

Scene One: The Pur
ple House

I should clarify that I already knew there was an elephant on the roof. But Little Miss Avery Kate did not. And she didn't believe me, either. Now, Miss Kate prefers to stay home. In her jammies. This is not always conducive to productivity and errand-running. So sometimes mama needs to say things like, "It's okay! We'll get to see the elephant on the purple house on our way home from gymnastics today!"

It happened to be April 1st. She was, understandably, rather dubious. But, I kid you not, we passed the purple house, the roof of which is adorned with various large safari figures. The elephant's trunk is raised as if saluting the nearby crocodile, while the tiger is posed charmingly in the corner. We craned our necks long enough to catch sight of a gorilla. We all looked to Avery, expecting her to clap with glee. Her response? "It wasn't very funny. Not funny at all." I'm not sure what this child requires in order to be amused.

Scene 2: The Park

Saturday morning dawned bright and promising. I proposed that we head to the park to enjoy the surprise sunshine. Drew and Bethie were away for the afternoon, so I bundled up Aidan and Avery for the jaunt. Naturally, we wore our winter coats. Because that's just what you do in the Pacific Northwest. By the time we had biked to the park, the wind had picked up. Considerably. I pulled my hood tightly over my head, but it kept blowing off. Avery complained about the hair in her face. Her legs were tired. We stood there, disoriented. Thankfully I had remembered the Law of the Wild which, according to Annie Dillard is, "Carry Kleenex." We wiped noses, attempted the swing, and finally found shelter behind the bathrooms. Going to the park should not be a painful experience. We went home. Just before it started to hail.

Scene 3: The front yard

After the hail subsided, the sun shone once again. Miss Kate informed me that it was perfect kite-flying weather. So she made her very own kite. The diamond-shaped paper was criss-crossed with an extremely sturdy crayola marker frame which was very liberally taped in place. The pink yarn tail was adorned with Kleenex, pinched just so in the middle in order to form lovely, frail little bows. But the best part was the "Watch me, Mama!" that issued from my girl's lips as she headed out the front door in her coat, scarf and hat. Up and down the sidewalk she dragged that merry kite. Cheeks flushed, head tossed back, sheer joy personified. It was contagious. Cars passed, passengers pointing and smiling. Joy caught. Joy shared.

Scene 4: The Family Room

She announced that the parade was about to begin. We took our places on the couch (it was raining again) and waited eagerly. The familiar strains of some ancient VBS album floated through the room, and in came the star of the show. Clad in a pink leotard, she reached into her shoulder bag and began to throw note cards and rolls of toilet paper at the applauding audience. This is a perfectly normal thing to do if you have been raised in a town that boasts a paper mill. Every single parade that Miss Kate has attended has featured rolls of toilet paper being hurled violently toward screaming fans. It's a sight to behold. The note cards, in case you were wondering, were individually penned, "Evry buty hav a good time."

Scene 5: The Kitchen

I've been trying to say "yes" to my children more often. This means that strange things often happen, such as marshmallows being roasted over the stove or plum pits appearing nonchalantly alongside clay figures. I'm a bit nervous about the pocket knife that Drew nearly landed on when going to bed last night, however. Apparently little brother was on the top bunk whittling away at a stick or something. Will need to do some investigating into the matter.

Scene 6: The Boys' Room, 1:50 a.m.

Of all the unusual things that have happened in the last few days, perhaps the most remarkable is the fact that this wee boy

suddenly morphed into this young man:

It happened at 1:50 a.m. this morning. He became a teenager. This boy who used to call me "Mother Bear," this boy who used to be obsessed with dump trucks and garbage trucks, this boy who used to sleep with the Field Guide to Birds of North America and the yard debris schedule tucked under his pillow, this boy who casually dropped comments such as, "The isopod is a parasite that lives on swordfish . . . ." at age six. This boy, now thirteen.

I've been told by the wise women that it goes by quickly. I've been told to enjoy these days, because they are fleeting. I've been told that I will look back on the diaper days with fondness and longing. I'm here to tell you that those wise women were absolutely right.

But I'm also here to tell you that I'm thrilled at what lies ahead. True, this child no longer pretends to be an aardvark or Thomas the Tank Engine. Instead, he hangs out with his friends, dribbles a ball non-stop and has an appreciation for electronics. But this same young man also makes his mother tea. He reads to her. He tends lovingly and creatively to his volatile little sister, expertly distracting her when the "tantrooms" threaten. If this is any indication of what's to come, I say bring it on. I welcome with open arms, Drew, my teenage son.

Yes, it was a good weekend.
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Abundantly Beyond

I saw it coming. The large steel door began to close just as my baby's dimpled hand reached toward the hinged edge for support. In that eternal split second, I thrust my hand out to rescue hers, but it was too late. I braced myself for the scream and the dreaded unknown. Scooping her up in my arms, I quickly examined the little hand. "Can you wiggle your fingers, baby?" With tears streaming, she showed me that she could. I sighed with relief. But then the swelling began. I quickly scanned my surroundings, looking for help.

This was supposed to have been a quick trip into Trader Joe's, but the restroom detour was proving to be quite unfortunate. Thankfully, an employee was immediately at our side (Avery wails are hard to ignore). "Could we please get some ice? She pinched her finger in the door." A look of concern spread across his face. "Let me see what I can do." And he was off.

I comforted Avery while Bethie strategically veered the shopping cart toward the penne pasta samples. When the employee returned, I nestled Avery into the cart and surrounded the throbbing finger with the bagged ice. But he wanted to do more. "Would she like a balloon?" he wondered. A perfect way to divert her attention from the pain. "Yes, thank you," I said. "That'd be great." Once again he left, and quickly returned with a bright pink balloon and two rolls of candy. I thanked him for his kindness, and the girls beamed over his generosity.

We quickly zipped through the aisles in an attempt to finish our shopping. Every once in a while, Avery remembered her pitiable condition and let out another wail. I kissed and soothed. (Rather loudly, I'm afraid. And with dramatic emphasis. I somehow felt it necessary to assure the gawking shoppers that she was not throwing a tantrum. She was injured: "Oh honey, I know your finger still hurts! But the ice will help the swelling.") I popped a raspberry candy into her little pink mouth, and assured her, "We're almost done." The sweetness helped, as did the bobbing balloon above her head.

I was relieved when we finally got back to the van. The swelling was down, and her finger already looked much better. Alas, the concerns began anew. "How will I get into my car seat?" she moaned. I assured her that she would still fit. "How will I get out of my car seat?" she whimpered.

Somehow, we made it home. Where she was suddenly unsure about that front porch. "How will I get up the stairs?" I inwardly smiled to think that one small finger could cause so much fear and apprehension. But, with the balloon still soaring overhead, she eventually conquered those steps.

Then, suddenly, all was forgotten. Daddy was home, and so were the boys. They would surely be impressed by her bag of ice, the balloon, two rolls of candy and a fancy bruise. Into the front door she burst, ready to tell her story.

My little Avery has unwittingly given me a precious glimpse into the heart of our heavenly Father. Like my child, we all have wounds. We all need healing. Those wounds hurt, distract and sometimes even draw attention to ourselves. But when we bring them to the Lord, realizing that He alone can minister to our hurt, we find the gentle, healing touch of a Physician whose skill greatly exceeds our expectations.

However, it doesn't stop there. Just as the employee desired to do more for Avery, so our Lord wishes to draw our attention away from ourselves and the wounds that threaten to overwhelm, by lavishing His goodness upon us. The pink balloon drew Avery's gaze away from the pain toward something bright and beautiful. The raspberry sweets on her tongue were soothing and pleasant. Likewise, our Healer tilts our chin toward the beauty of His Son and pours from His Word a sweetness that satisfies our every desire.

We may come with burdens that seem impossible and insurmountable. Yet our Father, as always, is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). And it is His delight to do so. We are created to come to Him for healing and comfort.

We may doubt. We may wonder if we'll ever get out of that car seat or if the porch steps will prove to be too difficult. But then we'll remember. Our Daddy is home. And we'll burst through the front door, ready to tell our story.

She Speaks Conference

A repost from the archives in response to the SheSpeaks scholarship opportunity, generously offered over at A Holy Experience. The SheSpeaks Conference "is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God." Perhaps this is an area in which I might step out of my comfort zone and serve my Father. . . .
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