Archive for the ‘children 9-12’ Category

God loves us in all our messiness – and in the messiness of our children – regardless of size, state of heart and quality of choices. Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means,’I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9: 13). Mothering is sometimes mercy’s school, is it not? Breaking our hearts, lancing out the poison of judgementalism – and refilling it with love, hope and faith for not just the easy to love, but the hard to love, readying our hands to reach out and greet in friendship those we beforehand would have been content to keep on the outside of our faith walk.

In saying all that, I thought that maybe someone needs this story today, just like I needed it in 2009.

The Mother of the Prodigal

Masks are for hiding, deceiving, concealing, and protecting. They hide shame, hurt and wrongs – the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us.

We never hear her voice or her story; but if we could, I bet the mother in the story of the prodigal son could tell us a lot about masks – and about throwing them down (Luke 15:11-32).

Married to a man, a Godly man, a respected man, a man who provided abundantly, there was no need for a mask. Imagine the marriage blessings.  A man searching to be close to God found himself a wife desiring to please the Father.  Then God blessed them with their first child – a son.  Such blessing!

The ability to bear sons established her position in the community. She was then blessed with a second son – double the blessing – double the rejoicing.  Her confidence grew. She stood firmly on the promises of God that were sung before her sons were born. Each son was designed for heaven, equipped for the challenges they each would face (Psalm 139:13-16).

I bet she cried when the second son was born – cried tears of joy.  Her first son, always pleasing the father, a parenting-made-easy child, was probably very practical, lacking compassion maybe, but so easy to shepherd into manhood. He probably always won at Alquerque or Chatrang (checkers or chess) because he understood cause and effect.

Within her women’s prayer group, the mother was respected for raising such a noble son.  He probably brought great joy to her heart – and laughter unfettered by frustration. Maybe sometimes she judged other mother’s whose sons were not so obedient, who did not always do their father’s bidding or speak respectfully to their mothers. Maybe they were lax.

Fearless defined the second son. He was poor competition at Alquerque or Chatrang because he was not programmed for cause and effect methodology – he thought in the “Now.”  Passionate about his pursuits and compassionate towards others, he probably shared his allowance with his peers who “needed” or the blind man sitting at the well.  He was filled with talent – a risk-taker.  However, his passion lacked cause and effect self-control. His mother started feeling uncomfortable.

His father encouraged him to save his money, but he just felt criticized, beaten down.  His happy-go-lucky face turned sullen. He sassed his mother. She picked up the mask, uncomfortable with it, but peer fear of judgment was even more uncomfortable.

The first born, working hard to make the right choices, resented his brother’s behavior, and that resentment turned to anger.  The joy within the household that thrived just a few short years earlier evaporated.  Tension hung like high humidity.

Rules were not for this second son, or so he thought. Studying was a waste of time. Seeking God – yeah, sure he believed, but he treated God like he treated his father and mother. The older he got, sullenness grew into contempt – he felt restricted and confined. He was blinded to blessings, to love, to wisdom.

Do not blame his parents, citing carelessness or lack of discipline. His father punished him all sorts of ways to get through to him.  He talked to him gently, calmly, reasoning with him about the choices available to him.  Sometimes it is hard to make the smartest “man” in the room admit someone else knows better.

Long ago, his mother dropped to her knees, praying and seeking God’s guidance and God’s mercy. She longed for laborers to be sent across her son’s path to draw him back – to restore the blessing in her son’s life and in his actions. Sometimes she prayed to God, begging Him to show her how to love her second born. God would warm her heart, restore her strength, and give her hope.

These struggles were kept behind the family doors, until one day it spilled outside those doors – cracking the façade – the mask behind which hope struggled.

The women’s prayer group heard him back-talk his mother one day in that sullen tone.  She pasted a smile on her face, turning back to the group of women. The mask cracked.  How would these women react if they knew her struggles, her perceived failures?  A mother’s motto is always, “I can fix it.” However, she was realizing that she could not fix it – only God could fix it.

It was lonely behind that mask. Self-judgment and fear were her constant companions. She feared that if the mask crumbled even the modicum of community support with the women might fall away too. How she needed the support of women and mothers to lift her up when she fell down. But they did not know she was falling down, that she needed help.  The mask blinds the community and the individual.

Then one day, still a teenager, her son boldly told his father he wanted to leave: “Give me my inheritance.”  He was tired of the rules, tired of the expectations his family put on him, tired of controlling himself. He was a man after all – according to Jewish tradition. He was responsible for his soul; and if he was responsible for his soul, then surely he could be responsible for his inheritance. But he was neglecting his soul.

His father gave it to him, and the world welcomed him. His laughter had once brought such joy and his passion for life had brought such amazement to his family. But later everything turned into concern, and he left.  “I’m never coming back,” he said. “I don’t care what you say.”

Broken-hearted, his parents watched him leave.  The entire town knew about it.  The mask crumbled.

If you were part of this mother’s community, what would you have done?  What did she need? Throughout all the years she struggled, she needed women who would lift her up in prayer. How would you have responded?  Do you wear a mask because you fear judgment from other mothers, other peers, other family members?

Dysfunction is so prevalent within the Bible that you must conclude that God does not expect every family to be without challenges. However, challenges can provoke masks and isolation from true help and true mercy.  You cannot recognize the women God has placed in your path to help you unless you remove the mask.

Removing the mask, surprisingly, makes it easier to love, easier to face the challenges, and easier to rejoice when that prodigal turns his life around. Remove the mask and trust that God will surround you with other women who will speak hope, faith, encouragement not only in you but the in the son gone astray.

No mother wants to hear her son condemned by her peers. She wants to hear him lifted up in the hope of prayer. Are you willing to not only take off the mask, but to lift other struggling mothers up? Encourage mothers whose children might have to learn cause and effect the hard way – pray until her son returns home, willing to be the man God created him to be.

After all, Jesus knew the story of the prodigal son. He knew his struggles, his challenges, his failures – and He knew that the path home was paved with faith.

If you have faith that God will take care of your children, have faith enough to take off the mask. Taking off the mask is a step of faith.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)

A Mother and her Masks: the Story of the Mother of the Prodigal was first published in 2010 Sanctified Together, a monthly e-magazine for women.


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One upon a time, long ago, where blue grass grew in Main Street America, and front porch swings were a safe place to watch life go by, I packed my bags, folded up my new cobalt blue comforter with Dogwood Rose colored flowers to go out in the world and, if not meet my destiny, then hunt it down like a terrior unleashed who finds the world so big that sometimes it is hard to figure which way to go.

My comforter was there through my college career, wrapped around me as I studied, worked on projects, or just needed a comfort moment.  In a college dorm room, bedding is the primary décor statement (wall décor second).  My Cobalt blue comforter with its Dogwood Rose colored flowers symbolized my boldness – no weak, thinned out blue pastel or wall flower pink – no – I was going to shape my future to my dreams – Cobalt blue spoke strength, determination, adventure.

Three years later, I stepped further into my future.  My spirit gentled.  My new comforter was Shabby Chic White with faint slashes of tea green and misty rose.  My fading Cobalt Blue comforter, now Carolina Blue found itself folded over a chair for cuddling on the couch or naps.

Until my son was born. The blue seemed to brighten with a renewed vitality. Thrown on the floor, it provided a soft place to fall. As morning wore on, sleepiness pulling both of us, we’d wrap the blue around and fall into the snuggly Kingdom of Nap.

When he turned 2, I decorated his Big Boy Room.  He picked out a Snoopy Quilt with a blue background for his Big Boy Bed.  During nap time one afternoon, when he was just 3, he dragged his blanket into my room, setting it on my bed.  “I think you should have this blanket, Mom.  It’s so much nicer.  I’ll let you have it,” he said as he slowly inched my fading into stone washed Corn Silk blue blanket over his shoulders and backed out of the room. “I’ll just take this one since you won’t be needing it now that you have my nice Snoopy blanket.”

And there began a back and forth, a sneak and take for a few years until it just stayed in his room, wrapped around him during sleep, snuggly time, movie time, and, yes, even spend the night time.  Time faded the blanket to periwinkle.  Not all the seams were there. That blanket went with him to college, all faded and full of memories. The pink had washed to a leached out white.

One day, he brought The Girl home, the girl who would be his wife.  They set a date.  Then, one Christmas, six months before the wedding, he came home with his blanket and left it behind. The faded blue blanket just lay there. . . . .

 Until one day, my 3rd son picked it up, wrapped it around himself, and wandered off with it to snuggle into sleep, watch a movie, or read, even on overnight sleepovers – terribly faded, terribly worn, terribly loved –

(I had to wrestle it away to take a picture).

More on the journey of the blue cotton blanket: Change Comes Quietly

and The Blanket Thief Strikes Again

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Wife of my son, daughter of our family,

Today you become officially the #1 woman in in my son’s  life.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Just as your father gives you to my son today, so I give my son to you, with a glad heart and much love.

For years, I prayed that God would protect and bless the girls my boys would marry.  I prayed in faith that God would bring daughter-in-laws who had a heart for our family, our strengths and weaknesses included.

When God blesses, He blesses abundantly.  I prayed for children.  He gave me 5 sons.  I prayed for a good husband.  He sent me the best.  I prayed for my sons to be healed at various times.  They are healthy and whole.  God is faithful to His promises. He brought you, the abundant answer to prayer.

Samuel’s father, Elkanah, provides the prototype for what I consider a most wonderful husband!  It is from his relationship with Hannah that I pray my hope and faith for your marriage.

In the mighty name of Jesus I pray that my son will be the Elkanah to your Hannah.

I pray that my son favors you above all others, giving you double portions, seeking out why you cry, why you will not eat, why you are down-hearted—that he sees your genuine heart, kindness, and heart’s desires—through the hills and valleys of your life.

I pray that you value each other as Elkanah valued Hannah.  He wanted to mean more to her than 10 sons.  Sons defined the value of a woman during that time.  If she couldn’t produce sons, she had no value, no esteem in the community.  What the world says is valuable is not what is important.  Elkanah values her heart, her companionship, who she is—not her position in the community, her job, or where she comes from.  He values what’s on the inside.

I pray that each of you pour your soul out to the Lord, praying and sharing God’s word in your life with each other, that your house be full of children who bring you much joy, that your children return there to find comfort, rest and spiritual refreshment.

I pray that you put God above all the desires of your heart because then you will be blessed beyond measure.

We are so glad you’ve come!

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It’s just not Halloween without this post!
oldwomaninshoeI used to think moms with just sons were pretty scary, until I became one of those moms.
When you’re a mom with 5 sons, no matter how big, those boys gotta think you can still take them down-no matter who’s around.

You gotta be able to call their bluff.

One day, one of my sons walked through the kitchen on his way to his room buck naked after showering in my shower.  At the same time, the oldest one strolled into the kitchen in his boxers.  I’d had it. I was tired of all this male non-challent nakedness. There was a girl in the house after-all, even if she was just “Mom.”

I started un-buttoning my pants.  I said, “Well, if you can do it, I can, too.”  They high-tailed it out of the kitchen. I didn’t see a naked butt for about 6 months. I must have been pretty Scary-Mommy! (BTW, I only started unbuttoning my pants.  That’s all it took)

It gets pretty scary in the house when I do my “Mad Mad Madam Mim” immitation from The Sword and The Stone or the Lady in the Portrait from Harry Potter when she can just break a glass “Just with My Voice.” The threat to do those immitations in front of their friends pretty much makes them toe the line.

Then, I get pretty SCARY MOMMY when I create visual lectures on relationships and stuff, like “You’re a Cake” and “Hubba Bubba” and “Are you Man Enough?”  And then I share them over S’Mores and Pizza when they bring  BFFS over or I get a chance to hang around their “girl” friends at soccer games or church. It’s so scary, they almost like it.

witchcatA truly SCARY MOMMY makes sure Santa stuffs stockings for the older sons with things like Payne’s Common Sense, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America or C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. However, for every Scary Mommy high moment, there is an equal Scary Mommy low moment, like when I reviewed every Def Leppard song with my son who disagreed that every Def Leppard song is about sex.  We were trying to eliminate the sin-with-a-good-beat music choices.  All Scary Mommy had to do was raise an eyebrow.  My son conceded victory, but Scary Mommy was rather red-faced. Def Leppart no longer blared at the house.

I am probably SCARY MOMMY when I lose my temper, my keys, and when I drive (not quite all at the same time).

SCARY MOMMY loves enough to risk pride, respect, and affection in order to be the mom my son’s need me to be. SCARY MOMMY can be meaner, but SCARY MOMMY gives Volcano kisses that slobber all over their cheeks, bear hugs that can lift the biggest one of them all off the ground, and say, “I’m sorry. I really missed it” when I handle mommy-ness wrong.

SCARY MOMMY has a pretty scary sense of humor.  When one son, whom we call “Bear” got in the car after soccer practice all cold and shivering, I asked him,” What’s the saddest sight in the whole wide world?”

“I don’t know. Your cooking?” he answered. I almost forgot my joke.

“A hairless bear shivering with cold,” I answered.  Now readers, you need to visualize that before you can truly appreciate the SCARY MOMMY humor.

momboysbarn.jpgThe boys would really think I was SCARY MOMMY if they knew what I was like without God in my life giving me the strength, the courage, the inspiration, the never-give-up-ness to believe in their innate goodness when it’s on sabitacal, to believe they are walking in God’s plan for their lives when it seems like every plan has been thrown away, to believe they have generous hearts when they are tight-fisted with their brothers, and to love passionately and unconditionally even when they don’t want to love me back.  SCARY MOMMY drops to her knees in prayer when life is scarier than she is!

SCARY MOMMY? Bring it on! Sometimes I just plain scare myself!

See also Socialism or Capitalism: Trick or Treat or Halloween is. . .

Wishing you a day of celebrating family!

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03-08-2009 04;28;20PMMy grandmother, Mary Edna, taught me  about strength. One bright sunny morning, she moved from grandmother to something closer and more powerful.

The sun was pouring through the big upstairs windows at her house. Spending the night at grandmother and grandfather’s house, drinking hot chocolate for breakfast-that was the life-except that morning, grandmother accidently put coffee in my milk instead of cocoa.

“Can I live here forever?” I asked. I asked it every time. We were upstairs straightening the beds when the phone rang, you know the 1968 phone ring. Grandmother answered, handing me the phone to talk to my mom.

“Can I live here forever?” I remember asking into the phone.

My mother said, “Yes.”

Wow! Talk about getting what you wish for! It left me speechless. I remember wandering downstairs, onto the front porch, swinging. The milkman came, leaving two bottles of milk in the milk box.

Mom, my brother, and I moved in a few weeks later. Morning hot chocolates stopped. We weren’t just grandchildren anymore. We were something. . . more.

There were times when I wondered how my grandfather could love such a woman. The older I got, the more I understood. You need strength to push through tough times. You need strength to make meager times rich. You need strength to have hope.

She could be sharp, judgmental, and an adherent to Amy Vanderbilt’s Book of Etiquette. Despite that, she made me feel beautiful on the inside. That’s what mattered most to me—that’s where I wanted to be beautiful.

I learned as I grew into a young woman the need to stand up for what I believed. If I didn’t, she could just roll right over me.

It terrified me to stand up to her. She could wield the look. Most people would just give up if she gave you the look. Deep inside, I knew I couldn’t give up. If I did, I would lose . . . .me. So I would stand up to her. . . and when there was nothing left to do, then I would just stand.

She respected that.

I learned that if I could stand up to her, I could stand up to anybody or for anything. A lot of shoe quaking is involved in the standing up to a seemingly greater than oneself. Sweaty palms, too, often followed sometimes by light-headed-ness, probably due to a lack of oxygen. Sometimes life requires moments like this, the standing-up-for-something-inside-of-ourselves moments. Moments where you can’t afford to stand down.

One day after my first son was born, we gathered in the family room, my grandmother, aunt, mom, and I. Everyone was enjoying the baby. I got up and turned the corner to the kitchen when I hit on a chair my very sensitive part of the shin, that funnybone part that when knocked just the right when in the moment of busyness has nothing funny about it, just exquisite pain.

I cursed. Then I inwardly cursed again when the family room went stone quiet. I never cursed. At least, not until I started driving, and then only when I was driving. Then I got married, and the battle increased. Then I had a baby. However, these women in my family respected how I struggled never to curse.

I had a reputation that with the split-second shin hit was about to be torn to shreds. The silence screamed condemnation. I took a deep breath, and stuck my head around the corner, ready to take the lashing. There are times where it only takes one incident to destroy one’s reputation.

Scan6_2_0039_039Everyone was looking at grandmother, the great matriarch, waiting for the verdict, the censure. My character failure would be recalled again and again. Just like the one time I opened a Christmas present early and rewrapped it. A criminal just can’t keep a secret; they have to brag. Stupid me! You’d think I had done it every Christmas.

My grandmother looked them square in the eye, and said, “My mother always said there was a time and place to curse. I believe you just found it.”

The conversation turned. Not a word was ever said about the incident again. She had secured my dignity.

I miss her every day! I used the strength she instilled in me every day. With a house full of sons to raise, they can’t ever see you sweat! Toppling into a weepy puddle is just not an option—at least not in front of them.

It is hard balancing the two, a stick that won’t be broken and a gentle hand filled with compassion. I fail often; however, I cannot afford to give up. That dog-gone strength I built from standing up to her just won’t let me.

God replaced the loss of a father with a great gift—my grandmother who taught me to be strong.

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Thanksgiving – so much more than a turkey!

There is so much more to Thanksgiving than the turkey, the football – even the family gathered around the table. Thanksgiving is about recognizing the roots from which America grew. Not just the patriotic, freedom-fighting roots – though they are as inherently necessary to recognize. It is the faith seed carried over the ocean in uncomfortable, danger-laden ships, planted in soil with hungry cold hands because of a vision of living God faith uninhibited by political agenda.

“The Lord is the Help of My Life”  – William Bradford

The first Pilgrims came to American so they could worship The God of Abraham, read The Gospel of Love and  experience the second Baptism without being drowned in a wine barrel, be burned alive boarded up in your own home, or have your entrails slowly pulled out of you in the town square as government officials attempted to turn you away from practicing your faith in the way you chose. At that time, the government determined how you practiced your faith – and if you disagreed, well, the government became disagreeable.

They came to America to be able to speak God’s name in the town square in the court house, on the public streets, in the school houses – to live and voice their belief without fear of persecution.

That faith seed would grow roots that would reach into our constitution: Article 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

(As a matter of fact, public schools were created to teach children to read so they could read the bible)

In America, these early Plymouth settlers discovered the rationing of socialism and the plenty of capitalism through the work of their own hands – not their neighbors. They broke the glass ceiling of class restriction – like the cranberries we eat on Thanksgiving that float to the top in the harvest when water rushes through the cranberry fields, so does hard work, effort, talent – all based on individual gumption – not religion, not class, not government.

“He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream”

Today, the Thanksgiving Holiday is full of irony – a House and Senate have left Washington D.C. to celebrate a holiday founded on the success of Capitalism and faith in God, yet daily they work to strip God out of the very places Pilgrims sought to freely worship their God – the city streets, the court houses, the schools – they wanted God in every part of their lives, their community, and their government.

Some leadership have gone so far today as to remove a cross from outside a base chapel in Afghanistan .  This symbol of faith and hope sustains many of our military soldiers protecting not only us but these leaders.

Just like the flag bearers of old gave the hope, the courage to fight on in difficult situations to their the military men it represented, so too does the symbol of our faith. When these flag bearers fell, so too did the fighting soldiers’ morale, hope and survival statistics. These soldiers live in casualty-real situations, putting their life on the life for an America created and built with hands seeking God.

Yet daily, these government officials attempt to strip the foundations of Capitalism and reduce Americans to the once starving, frustrated, dying, struggling Pilgrims who started out in socialism – who died in socialism – hungry and frustrated.  Until the American Spirit at Plymouth through a capitalist contract  replaced the socialist creed to break the bonds of servitude unleashing individual potential resulting in the American Dream.

While Socialism binds the hands of flourishing enterprise, smothers the seeds of creativity from which inventions spring, and suffocates the very breath of freedom, Capitalism frees the hands of enterprise, allows individual creativity the independence to invent, and  gives freedom breath to speak without recourse.

How ironic that today our government officials celebrate an event so diametrically opposed to their actions. How ironic is it that protestors are calling for a return to the socialism that brought Plymouth settler’s to their knees.

How sad that they celebrate Thanksgiving while chopping at the root of its very creation.

These people calling themselves the 99% are missing a very important factor. A missionary man preached at our church a few weeks ago. He asked, “Do you have an in-door toilet? Do you have running water? Do you have electricity?. . . .If you do, you are in the top 10% of the world.”

Yes, the 99% are in the top 10% of the world.

The top 10% because of faith in God and capitalism.

William Bradford’s biography is sitting on my desk right now.  My sons know the history of our country, but not through classroom textbooks because the full, real history of the birth of our country not taught. Because God is not allowed in the story telling in today’s public school classroom.

Today as you thank God for His blessings, as you pull your family close, spend additional time discussing the start of our country, how we became that top 10%, what enabled us to achieve clean water, medicines that heal and prevent, homes with so much comfort, electricity and internet, a washer and dryer, an abundance of food to keep and share.

And pray for those soldiers whose crosses are being pulled down, who are fighting to keep America safe, to keep America free, to keep God in America.

Graft you, your family to the deep root of faith from which America grew.

~ Written, Thanksgiving 2010
~Revised, Thanksgiving 2011
~Revised again, Thanksgiving 2012

Other related posts:

Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting Tebowing and other such Religious Behavior

Words Make a Difference

The 10 Cannots of Freedom

To Save a City

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Halloween is digging down into the costume chest and pulling out something to dress up your imagination. It is a breast plate, shield and cape, with a worn grey sword that wilts more than jabs.  It is a cowboy vest, sherriff’s badge, and a frayed cowboy hat that has seen more than its fair share of fights.  It is a bumble bee, leopard or Peter Pan.  It is a dressed up witches hat or black cat ears, black smudged nose, and painted whiskers.

It is hot chili on a frosty night, sprinkled cheese, and grilled dogs.  Worms in the pumkin patch cupcakes sloshed down with hot apple cider or hot chocolate. It is fun games that make laughter, goose bumps, and adventure.

pumpkintableIt is knocking on neighbor’s doors who brought your mama “Welcome to the neighborhod” cookies or the little red-headed girls house who has a crush on your brother.  It’s a door opening and friends spilling out of the dark dank, dreay night into the golden warmth of the Pumpkin House(which is what I called our old house because it was orange brick with black shutters). It is filling jack-o-lantern buckets with candy for your neighbor’s children who share school rooms, teachers with your children, who stop by for hot chocolate on fall afternoons.

It is laughing, teasing, savoring childhood – no presents, no pressure, no soporific lethargy. It is  fellowship, loving thy neighbor and generosity to strangers. Big and little pumpkins, Little and big. Halloween is a holiday from a too busy schedule, a moment to live joyously.

Then, after the pumpkin lights are blown out, the costumes tucked away, the candy stored out of reach, then it is time to thank God for the blessings of children, family, and fellowship, the joy of giving, laughter, and imagination, for a moment where the daily struggles dissipate in the steam of good food, respite from the world that figuratively buffetts each day.  Thank you for a moment to enjoy, refreshing myself in the gifts you have given me and the gifts given out.

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Tag-Team Chaos Results = 100 squats for every participant

You know about tag-team chaos, don’t you? First one provokes another who provokes another. Nobody stands down when the referee (me) orders the participants to stop or take it down a notch. The result? No red card! No fouls! No being thrown out of the house or car (LOL) – just squats! Beautiful form, this discipline. And I don’t have to raise a hand!

The oldest one walked away saying, “I did mine.”

One of his brothers said, “No! He didn’t do 100.”

I just looked at him and said, “Well, I don’t know. But God knows exactly how many you did. Can you live knowing God knows you lied?”

He smiled at me – yes, the teen smiled at me. And he finished his squats.

Sometimes being a mom has its. . . ahem. . . oddly sweet moments – even in tag-team chaos.

For more on squats, please visit my post, “The Discipline of Squats.”

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About 11 years ago, my son, the Fire and the Power of the Holy Spirit, survived a cord-prolapse, crash c-section.  The last thing I heard before they knocked me out was, “I don’t have a heart beat.” Coming to, I was terrified – would my son be dead or alive.  Laying on my side in intense pain, with my eyes closed, I heard my father in law talking to someone, teasing about my snoring.  Then I heard those precious sounds only a newborn makes.  I knew everything was o.k.

Today, my father in law is in a hospice facility.  He’s snoring a lot. I wish I could say something to make everything o.k. However, that’s his gift, not mine.

My sons are part of an amazing group of young men: 12 grandsons who adore their papaw. Coming up behind them is a group of great-grandchildren who are in the Candy-and-Coke Store Fan Club group.  It’s a pretty special, select group. The benefits?  Unconditional love, hugs, trips to the Candy and Coke Store, front-row fans at any activity, a front door always open, a sit-down-let’s talk about life attitude, and tremendous generosity of spirit – like a vacation a few years ago when my husband and I -very out of shape tried to play tennis with him.  Three days of grueling play left us hobbling.  We were so grateful when he cried off due to a sore muscle, but I bet he just knew we couldn’t take it any more.

The birth of my second son found papaw hand-cuffed to anything, oh, about the level of couch legs, bench legs, table legs.  After about 48 hours, he probably wished he’d never bought those hand-cuffs for the new big brother.  However, he just loved making those boys smile.

I remember one of my nephews crying when he was about 4 years old.  He’d spent the weekend at Nanny and Papaws.  He hugged so tight to Papaw when  it was time to leave, sobbing into his shoulder. He’s feeling the same way today, and he’s all grown up.

We’ve prayed for healing. Daily. My boys have seen each other healed through prayer, so they faithfully joined in. 

The other day, the littlest one asked what was wrong with Papaw.  I guess he realized this wasn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill cold or flu.  I explained cancer: “You know when you watch Star Wars and the bad guys send drones into the land they want to take over?  Well, the bad guy is cancer, and they go into parts of the body, kind of like a planet in the universe.  When they take that over, they go to other parts of the body – like other planets.”

Being the Star Wars fan, he understood.

Last week, though, I had to move into phase two.  Phase 1 – you pray for healing.  Phase 2 – when you realize God has other plans – going-home plans. Then, it’s time to help that person go to the other side – cross over into heaven.

Peter Marshall, the famous United States chaplain, made even more famous in the movie, “A Man Named Peter,” describes dying the following way: “It’s like going to sleep in your mother’s bed and waking up the next morning only to find yourself in your own bed.”

Every person who lives for Jesus spends their entire life traveling to the gates of heaven.  Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton explain it perfectly, “When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears.”

Of course, the getting there can be kind of tough. . . on everybody.  We all want one more hug, one more joke, one more political debate, one more chance to say how much he meant to us.  But then, he always knew we loved him.  Telling him would just embarrass him.  He always said, “Words mean NOTHIN’.  Your actions are shouting so loud I can’t hear your words.” I guess he and Obama could have had a debate on “Words… just Words.”

The little guys and I were talking about what Papaw’d do in heaven.  Yep, play tennis. Yep, hug those babies he didn’t get to hug down here. He’ll walk with that Papaw-spring in his step. He won’t debate politics, though. We decided that there wouldn’t be political debate in heaven. But I can see him grabbing an orange or an apple and peeling, just like I’ve seen him do a thousand times.

I remember my oldest son’s middle school basketball coach was arrested for smoking marijuana on some backwoods backroad.  He really like this coach and tried to give him an ethics break, “His mom died.  He was just coping with his grief.”

I just looked him straight in the eye and said, “I hope that when it’s my time to go to heaven, that you will celebrate my life instead of going to some backwoods backroad and drowning your sorrows in drugs.”

Crossing over is an odd time – it’s kind of like blue cheese and honey. The sweet and the pungent – but when mixed together, it’s just right.  Now is the time of great loss, but also the celebration of a life well lived and well-loved. The sweet and the pungent!

Some dear friends from when we lived here before bought the Candy and Coke Store a few years back.  They called Nanny the other day and told her, “If Papaw can’t come to the Candy and Coke Store, the Candy and Coke store will come to him.”

I bet Heaven feels like Papaw taking you to the Candy and Coke Store.

Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton did an excellent job singing about what it’s like when we get where we’re going.  It’s great to sing about our own little selves going. It’s just tough when the life of the party, the heart of the family, the world’s greatest father in law, dad, husband and Papaw head there before we get to.

I wish he wasn’t leaving the party so early!

When I Get Where I’m Going

by Melvern Rutherford Ii, George G. Iii Teren


When I get where I’m going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I’m gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I’ll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Don’t cry for me down here.

I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he’ll match me step for step,
and I’ll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I’ll hug his neck.


So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can’t answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I’m going,
and I see my Maker’s face.
I’ll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I’m going.
Yeah when I get where I’m going.

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momboysbarnRaising Boys to Men has moments of glory and moments of unabashed obscurity.

For some reason, God put the mama (and Dad) in charge of filling these boys with humbleness, loyalty, honesty, courage, a hard-work ethic,  resourcefulness and caring-ness – and independence without sassing, breaking the rules, or not telling us where they are going. Like any big job, there are stages – and as a mom, each of these stages has particular job requirements, benefits, and challenges.

The newest stages to each of us individually usually require an adjustment period.  It has been the same with the last stage with my oldest son who recently married. However, an insightful post from the blogahood has helped me with that adjustment. Let me start from the beginning, so you can get a feel for the last great challenge in the relationships with our sons. As Mamas of these boys to men, our relationships go through various stages, but one things stays the same – prayer.

Survival Mom – Face it, for the first 3.5 years of their life, our sons cannot survive without us.  We feed them, change them, potty train, teach them how to walk, to talk – all the basic fundamentals.  Our reward?  Great big slurpy kisses, hugs, and unconditional adoration.  Survival mommy rules the world and prays that God show her how to rule his little world.  Prayers for healing, strength, insight, patience, solutions, and, oh, that God places a hedge of protection around his future and that this future wife have a heart for us – all while our future DILs are still in diapers!

Rock Star Mom – ages 3.5 to 7 – They love us, adore us, and want to marry us. Life without mom? Unimaginable. We create art projects, find books to inspire, set play dates to develop friendships, and teach them to swim, swing a bat, throw a football, play an instrument, sing songs, and to love Jesus. Full-time,  instructor-mommies training our little guys for the next step of independence though they so desperately do not want to leave us. Separated from mom? Appalling!  Huge Tears! Wailing! They want their mama! And their mama prays for guidance, for their life, for their struggles, for healing, for solutions, that they succeed in school, make good friends, embrace honesty,  for good character (in each of us), and, yep, for their future wife.

Fading Star Mom – 7 to 12 – That mom-son love is still there, but it comes and goes, like watching a star on cloudy night.  The pull to independence starts, realization that mom is not perfect – and maybe a little uncool – leads to testing, questioning, and developing their own tastes, likes, and dislikes.  They go into school without looking back, or trying not to look back.  However, they still love mom-son time.  They love it when you make hot chocolate on a snowy sledding day!  They’ll still snuggle, cuddle up while you read a roaring good book, and tell you absolutely everything that happened at school.  However, they really love hanging out with Dad now. It’s an equal-love world developing in the house. They want to pick their own books to read, which movies to see, and don’t wake you up in the middle of the night to climb in bed with you. And we pray – for Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall down, for wisedom, discernment in how to handle the bully in the bathroom, honest, self-discipline for spelling words,  insight, favor with God, solutions for challenges, and, yes, for their wife.

Underground Foundation  Mom – 13 to 19 – Stealth support – that is how I define it. The quest for independence steps up, but tricycle-style independence becomes the mainstay. We finance it, we attend it, we transport it, support it – Sports, music, extra-curricular activities – here they come. My husband and I have sold pork butts, stood with athletic teams outside Wal-Mart to raise money for the entire team, pancake breakfasts, sat through music practices, lessons, and recitals.  We let them drive our cars (I need therapy after this), learn how to cook, choose friends, develop a social calendar, when and how to say, “NO,” all the while reminding them to find God throughout the day.

We drove them home from soccer games where they seethed anger at their performance (whether they won or lost). We helped them pick their tux out for prom. We helped cook beautiful dinners for two proms where we along with other parents served  the attendees and then sat down to eat after they left. I stayed up all night on Project Graduation working so my son had a great night, a safe night. We reigned in poor choices, encouraged good choices – and prayed – for safety, wisdom, laborers to come across their paths to bring them closer to God, insight into God’s calling on their lives – and for their future wives.

Occasional Mom – 19 to 22 –  At least, that is how it seems on the outside with the  Independence-with-Training wheels stage.  Off to college, off to find their future and take it. Success or failure, it is all up to them, but at least they have a soft place to fall – home – and a mom and dad who are there to lift up, encourage, and pray – for good choices, insight into their future, a good work ethic, Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall – and, yes, their future wives.

Confused Mom – Post-College – All independent, out in the world (but hopefully not of the world), seeking and finding their wife, building a life of their own, as it should be.  The book, I’ll love you forever, “I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, you’re mommy I’ll be” – is so true – however, I do not think my daughter-in-law would appreciate me climbing in through her window every night, rocking my son,and singing that line to him.  I think it would freak her out.  It is a book that has so much potential, but really misses it there in an “Everybody-Loves-Raymond-kind-of-way.” There’s more to this mothering-job than climbing in his window at night when your son is all grown up.

There are times I felt like Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings when she says, “I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”

So what was my Role? What was my mommy-job in this phase?  Mommy-ness doesn’t just stop because  they get married.

Then, last week, I read Lidj’s post “Alabaster Jar,”  from Crown of Glory where she wrote:

  “As a mother, I am called to be the “family remembrancer,”

the one who remembers,

the one who points out the signposts.

I am also the gatekeeper,

 the watchman who stands guard,

 the priest who intercedes,

and who holds the cup of God’s healing oil.

May I be found faithful”(Crown of Beauty, 35-37))

I am no longer Confused Mom. My role is two-fold.  Foremost, it is about prayer.  It was all along – Intercessory prayer, vigilant prayer, healing prayer. Secondly, my role is to witness – to remember, to tell the stories of how God moved in our family, protected us, healed us, gave us life, sustenance,  of God’s faithfulness to His promises – and still does! As Lidj prayed, “May I be found faithful.” My role for the son who has grown up and moved out?  Prayer Mom who tells stories – I can do that! I will so have this stage down by the time by youngest one gets married!  Thanks Lidj!

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We’re still waiting here for my first granddaughter to arrive. She’s fashionably late – and being late made me think, which made me nostalgic. My boys don’t ask me to sing to them anymore – but they still want me to come into their rooms at bedtime, ask questions about their day and listen – an evolution of The Magical Sleepytime Hour – where I learn about lunch, each teacher, the bully in the bathroom or the trading of a Powerade for a rib sandwich, Big and little things, Little and big.

“I can’t go to sleep,” said the littlest of them all. 

“Try counting sheep,” I suggested.  He and his brother giggled all over their beds while counting sheep, eyes wide open. “With your eyes closed.” Mass giggles again. I turned off the light.

“I can’t go to sleep,” the littlest one said again, his voice carrying down the hallway.

“Close your eyes.  Sleep will come,” I answered.

“Not working,” he peeped up about 2 seconds later.

“You have to keep your eyes closed for about 20 minutes,” I countered, sighing, amused – knowing that when the littlest one out grew sleepytime antics there was not going to be anyone following up from behind to take his place.

“My eyes are burning,” he whined, flinging himself all over the bed.  “I can’t close my eyes.  It makes my eyes burn.”

Have you ever tried to reason with a little guy?  Any aged little guy?  You cannot persuade them to admit their eyes are not burning.  “Not possible,” is how my little guy would explain it.

I walked down the hallway into their room. “Do you need me to snuggle with you?”

“Me, too, mom,” the older one eagerly invited. 

I gave the older one, after a big hug, the following instructions, “Close your eyes.  Imagine all the different ways you can score a soccer ball.” He settled in.

I climbed into bed with the littlest one of them all. “Do you need me to snuggle with you?” I asked, expecting a sassy negative.

“Yes,” he said, immediately making room, snuggling up against.  It kind of reminded me of Theodore in The Chipmunks.  It also reminded me of how wonderful it is to be simply needed.

I started singing. We had not had bedtime snuggly sings in a long time.  Singing to a “Demand Performance Crowd” is the only way to do it!  They think my voice is wonderful – or most likely, they like my songs the best. There are a lot of Blue Cotton Originals – but they don’t induce sleep.  They needed to go to sleep.  It was a school night.

We Started out with Veggie Tales: “Know that where ever you are, it is never too far.  Just think of me and I’ll be with you.”

I then moved to “This old man” with more a jazzy melody than what I grew up with.  It turned into a duet.

I then launched into “Ten in The Bed.” It is one my father-in-law used to sing to my oldest son.  We found the book, which has such great pictures that we launched freed us to use our own names.  All the brothers fell out of bed last night, all their best friends fell out while getting a lesson in the various ways falling out sounds, “Dink, Splash, Crash, Skuttlebump, Kerthump” with great sound effects, too.

The boys were back to laughing uproariously.

I started singing “Holy and Anointed One” by John Barnett

“Jesus, Jesus,
Risen and exalted One,
Your name is like
honey on my lips,
Your Spirit like
water to my soul,
Your word is a lamp
unto my feet,
Jesus I love
You, I love you”

The little guy snuggled, my arm under his head.  His eyes closed.  No burning.  No sleeplessness.  He just needed his mama to help him wind down and let the day go.

A Demand Performance – you bet! I’ll be there every time!

Sadly, sleepytime ears are more discerning than wake up ears. The next morning, before 7 a.m., all the boys were bundled in the car.  Snow was falling.  The sun was not awake yet.  We were going to feed Papaw’s cows.  While my older son got out to go feed, I belted away, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow” to much moaning, complaining, and demands to “Stop! Stop! Stop!”

I didn’t – because I know that deep down inside, they really wanted me to keep on singing!

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For You, Little Child

You who find happiness in a teddybear,

You with your innocent and curious stare.

For you. . . .

Well, that’s how my oldest son’s first Christmas poem I wrote started 23 years ago. The Thomas the Train has been packed away, along with the Knights jousting on horses with its castle walls. GI Joe’s have faded into I-don’t-know-where land while the 2nd and 3rd sons talk of joining the military. My 9 year old is in a gift-tween stage – Santa’s scratching his head over him. The junior is a gift-tween, too. I’m scratching my head, too!

However, Let me share what Santa’s bringing Joyful – I’m so excited. We saw the movie last year, “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” a 1941 movie about a farmer who sells his soul to the devil and Daniel Webster, a leading American Statesman in the early 1800s defends him to save his soul. Webster agrees to an “American judge and and American jury” but crafty Mr. Scratch calls forth a jury of the damned – historically fascinating. A great story about selling out noble ideals out of greed and fear and redemption. He has been asking me since then for the book. Well, Santa is bringing the play(never been a book or short story) and the movie.

Can a 14 year old still believe in Santa? He questioned it last year – yes, just last year. I just gave him the stare and said evenly, “As long as you believe in Santa, Santa brings you gifts.” Sadly, 13-year-olds are a bit obtuse, and I had to repeat it a few times, focusing the stare more intensely each time. I told him that if he look it up in my grandmother’s dictionary, he would find Santa, “A person who gives.” Then I repeated the code: “As long as you believe in Santa, Santa brings you gifts.” I still get gifts from Santa – my mom delivers them every year! Apparently, Santa has not learned of my change of address yet!

Santa also told me that Joyful should get a book of Daniel Webster’s speeches – HHhhhhmmmmm – more fun and more fun!

The Fire and Power of the H.S. (Holy Spirit) pointed out earlier this year in a discussion of Christmas Wish Lists: “If you just ask for 2 things you really want, then you get everything you ask for.” 

This will be my first Christmas without my firstborn, Perceiver of Truth. Something Christmasy is missing. He has written the letters to Santa for years, calling all the boys together to record their wishes, thanking for last year’s gifts.  Faithful just doesn’t have the same touch – imagine Scrooge before “the change.” Appalled sighs waft through the van when Christmas music comes on. I keep trying to shake off the “Bah Humbug’s” – but I have not given up. Perceiver of Truth is really going to miss the annual Christmas Nerf Gun Family Battle.  Santa always stuffs stockings with Nerf Guns and ammo.  You gotta be here to collect that one!

My mantle is decorated. “The Man who Came to Dinner,” “The Bishop’s Wife,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “The Polar Express,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nativity” are lined up for a snuggle night of Hot Chocolate.

Maybe I need to whip up some of my Uncle Luther’s homemade eggnog – that should kick some spirit into me!

Tonight the little guys and I pulled out “The Jesse Tree Devotional” – an advent book another website recommended – if it was you, please leave a note and I’ll link to your site – thanks so much. We sat down, and they loved it. One read the bible passage and the other the devotional in the book.  And the questions they asked, “Did God have a mom?” or “If everyone was killed in the flood, does that mean we’re all related?”

HHHHmmmm Christ = Christmas Spirit!   Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee – Christ in Christmas makes Christmas meaningful.  Each Christmas brings change – the sound of the Christmas Bells on my Grandmother’s door, the faces of my children on Christmas morning, the types of gifts, the people around the table, and the decorations – all that changes.  Christ in Christmas does not change. That’s where Joy to the World,

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

(traditional English Carol, pre 1823)

“God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray;
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came.
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding,
In tempest, storm, and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed babe to find:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this infant lay
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy. “

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So many Christmas songs are scriptural – at a time when most Christians could not read or have access to a bible, a Christmas song imprinted the story of Jesus on the heart of its singers. How many children know where Jesus was born because of “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem”(1868) or “We Three Kings of Orient Are”(1857)  and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”(15th century). Maybe that is why some Christmas songs uplift and the essence of the joyful spirit lingers – like Belgium Chocolates – pure, rich, true – because the spirit of praise and worship pours from our mouths in great joy. 

Many of my favorite songs stem from the majest, power, mystery, and gentleness of the birth of our Lord.  However, other favorites stem from childhood memories of home, Christmas, and the magic in a child’s belief – the intense savoring of a feeling or image in a song.

Some of My Favorite Christmas Songs are listed below:

1)”Angels We Have Heard on High,” My Christmas, Andrea Bocelli (added boon is “Adeste Fidelis” and “God Bless Us Everyone” from “A Christmas Carol”).  I first discovered Bocelli  in The Mystery of Love presented by Victoria Secrete.  I would waltz my son to sleep at night listening to his music in his little cd player. Magical! His song “Angels We Have Heard on High” allows me a glimpse of the power, majesty, and utter beauty of the music surrounding our Lord on his heavenly throne. I just stop, mesmerized and awed.  When we saw “A Christmas Carol” my crew was booking out of the theatre and I just lingered, listening to “God Bless Us Everyone.”

2) “Ding Dong Merrily on High,”(circa.1500′)s Roger Whitteaker. Bells peel in an everyman song, where everyone has the range to chime in heartily with, “Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!.” While Bocelli is for listening, this is for joining in!

3) “Sing We Now of Christmas/O come O Come Emmanuel,” Michael W. Smith (12th century for O Come O Come Emmanuel) – For years I have bemoaned the fact that there just are not any new Christmas songs that demand to be included in my Christmas Celebrations. Were all the good ones written before I was born – and then inspiration dried up?  Michael W. Smith rescues my faith with this spectacularly Christmas spirited 21st Century remix. 

3) “Silver Bells,”(1950) Kate Smith – This is where you find out that I am old as dirt.  When I was 4 years old, I sat in my basement beside the record player, constantly moving the needle to the beginning of this song.  I am sure my mother heard it well over 100 times that day. Pre-Mall era, my mother would take me on the city bus down town to marble exterior department stores, mile high glass windows that sparkled with lights to shop – and Christmas shop – “City Sides Walks, Busy Side Walks dressed in a holiday style” sparkled in my mind – with men in red ringing bells on every street corner.

4) “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth,”(1977), Bing Crosy and David Bowie – Though I do not know what buttered rum tasks like, I think Bing Crosy’s voice must be smooth like buttered rum!  “Little Drummer Boy” just by itself is a favorite, but when you add David Bowie’s amazing voice and message of “Peace on Earth” it provides a dichotomy that adds a beautiful layer to the song’s presentation.

5) “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” The Nutcracker,” 1891- Sometimes words just are not needed – and sometimes you need something wordless! This fits the bill perfectly!

6) “Mary’s Boy Child Jesus Christ”, Harry Belafonte, 1956

7) Charlie Brown Christmas – This is the way to my husband’s heart!  He LOVES the music.  We used it on the wedding video I made for my son’s rehearsal dinner (it covered when he was little).  For my husband, Christmas is not Christmas without this show or music! Since he loves, I love it along with him!

8) “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians) Time Life  – Soloists, Glee Club Singers, Orchestra – A definite let’s-decorate-the-tree song – and the best way to hear The Night Before Christmas!





9) Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, Lena Horn, Time Life – Nobody sings about snow better than Bing Crosy and Lena Horn. This is one song that follows me into the snowy season of January and February.  However, my sons were appalled when I popped it in last January while it was snowing.  It’s also a great song that less than sterling singers like me can belt out anywhere (lyrics are tremendously easy!).

10) Away in a Manger(1885), Gene Autrey, Time Life – Away in the Manger – a song unto it self – celebrating Christ’s birth and my children’s bedtime lullaby! Last, but definitely not least!

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Simply Saturday

The Snow Trees Have Come!

Holy Spirit Rain Down on Me

in Snowflakes

so that I might better see

your Holy presence

when my eyes are blinded

and my spirit weary

when I am too numb to feel,

may your presence linger

like snow on trees


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No bows around here!  No headbands in pinks and polka dots or glittery bling.  However, there is one must-have accessory – Hats. 

Big Hats 

That they grow into 

Party Hats

 A Cool Cat in the Hat

Do You Like My Hat?

The Boy in the Hat does not Care

Hats for Snow 

And in the Cold

Ear Warming Hats

Cowboy Hats

Christmas Morning Hats




Happier in Hats than in Scarves!

Mom in a Hat (I got knitty with it!)

 Goggle Man Hat


 My Boys Love Hats


My oldest son for Christmas would love a Stetson Firenze Hat. My littlest guy and I had been tooling around the new town while his other brother was at archery practice.  We went in this dapper store and found a delightful variety of mens hats!  He was so excited.  He wanted to get his biggest brother one, and one for him, too.  I checked out the price – $49.95.  HHHmmmmm, I could swing that.  A few weeks later, my lovely DIL visited for Thanksgiving.  We measured my sons head, packed up the two little guys and went to do a little Christmas shopping. 

The trouble these two men went to to pack this hat – amazing,I thought.  What service!  “$132.00,” the sales clerk said.  My DIL and I stared blankly at him, and then at each other – assessingly. I countered, “$49.95.”  He pulled a price out from within the hate.  I swallowed – a lot of pride. “We’ll have to think about that,” I said.  My little guys were crushed.  We all felt this way:

And I bet my oldest son is having a flashback: 

Isn’t it fortunate that Hats are NOT the reason for the season?


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I asked my son, Faithful, a few years back what type of scarf he wanted me to knit.  He looked through a book and chose the hardest one because he wanted me to work hard for him.  Those of you with 14 year olds, maybe not your first son, but your second, might find them challenging, fraught with difficulty for both mother and son. It’s a stage, but some 14 year olds are like emotional fireworks while others are sparklers.  Still, either way, it is a tough time. 

While I knit this scarf, I noticed that working it was just as frustrating as being with my 14-year-old at times – the humor sustained me. My love for my son kept me unwavering in my doggish attempt to finish the scarf in time for Christmas.  I must admit, he secretly loves it, though he would never admit it.  I often find it neatly folded all by itself – which he does not do with his other clothes. 

I boasted in the interim (between then and now) that I needed to write “Ode to the Sock Scarf:  how like a 14-year-old you are.”  I thought now was the perfect time to tackle that task – and after researching the Ode – I must say, it is up there with the sock scarf, though not as time-consuming (as you may be able to tell).  The first two stanzas are constructed 75% according to structure.  The last stanza is not – because motherhood is often fluent, unstructured in our attempts to meet challenges and think out of the box.

If you notice, there is a prayer mixed in – because when I knit knitty things for special people, I always pray for them.

Ode to the Sock Scarf

How Like a 14-Year-Old You Are


“A sock scarf, I want you to work hard for me”

The fourteen year old teen cleverly decided

Bravado brimming, carelessly deciding to torment his mommy

His ploy she saw but never chided the invited

“What scarf shall I craft you – I’ve made for your 4 brothers

But not yet you? –  A quality time love langauge gift  designed

To wrap a hug about my son, a colorful, warm mother

gift from a mother’s heart that loves blind

loves even 14-year-old grumpiness wrapped in nails arguing anything,

struggling, frustrating, trying to wriggle out of the cocoon and spread wings


The scarf I started, tube first, heels and toes last

The tube, so easy, so simple, like little boy 2,4, 6, and 8

36 stitches divided evenly over 3 double point needles, so quickly past

Careful not to twist stitches, knit and pearl consistent, not trusting to fate

Grafting waste for heels, a holding place, almost ready, not quite

For grown up product able to fulfill the design created for

Decrease, increase, slip, slip knit, drop a stitch, not loose, not tight, 

Count, knit, pearl, discovering a dropped stitch, heaving a great sight over this labor

Shaping this scarf of my heart, unraveling, backing out, re-knitting boldly

Constantly questioning, “Am I doing this right?”

Waste yarn pulled out, time to knit the heels, the heels so 14-years-old

My job so close to completeness – yet the hardest part


Slip stitches from one needle to another, right side facing

Knit one, pray for Godly friends;
knit two, pray for a heart that seeks Godly things;
pearl 3 his choices

Slip, Slip Stitch God planned his days before he was born

Increase his awareness of truth, decrease rebellion,

Slip Slip stitch, undo discontent
Knit two together for Faith

Pick up and knit 1 stitch between, knit, pearl, pray

2 rows at end of needle – graft stitches together

Grafting his heart to our Lord’s heart

Wrestling, frustration, repeat,
lost stitches searched

For, found and fixed, unravel, re-stitch, knit and pearl

Weaving prayers through tube, heal, and toe

Knitting in faith directions true, hoping in the end product,

Loving through the heel of 14 years old, crushed all but for faith

That God’s promises reign true, sore fingers, worn mind,

Questioning my actions, trying so hard to create

What the directions promised, the plan, wholeness and strength

Blindly working, knitting Faith, Hope and Love
I complete this Sock Scarf so like my 14-year-old

Permission granted from 14-year-old to use picture!

The Sock Scarf.  Scarves, a Knitter’s dozen. Published by XRX Books.

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Simply Saturday

Promise Journal

 I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes,

they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.

And I will do whatever you ask for in my name,

so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. 

If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it” John 14:12-14

 Wow!  Whatever I ask for in Jesus name—there has to be a catch?  Right?  Or we would all be rich as kings on the beach in the south of France—who would want the Bahamas if they could have the south of France?

  • What you ask has to line up with what God promises.  If you do not know what God promises, you do not know what’s available.  What does God promise?  Remember that song “Make Me Glad”?  “You are my shield, my strength, my portion, deliver, my shelter, strong tower, my ever present help in time of need?”
    • Prosperity
    • Healing
    • Protection
    • Strength
    • Family
    • Encouragement
    • Help
    • More

 If you do not know what God wants to do for you, how can you ask God to do it for you and have FAITH and HOPE that it will be done?  God’s words are not only an instruction manual for how He works, but they are also a love letter to His children.  Maybe you are missing out on what he has planned for you because you have not opened his “e-mails.”

Dear Father, I thank you for everything you have done for me.  I thank you for what you’re going to do for me.  I thank you that today my body will be stronger, my mind will be shaper, and that not only will I be blessed by my family, but I will be a blessing to them, too.  I pray that today I will let somebody know about the love of Jesus Christ either through words or actions.  I thank you for answer my prayer because Jesus said you would—it lines up with your promises for it is in His name I pray.

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Christmas is creeping up, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I started thinking about what I am thankful for. 

You might have heard the song, “What if Jesus comes back today,” but what if Jesus had not come yet today?

Imagine – only going to temple once a year to pray and say, “God, help me. . . . God, heal my son. . . .God, send mentor’s across his path to open his eyes to Your Truth. . .God, I am scared. . .God, can you hold me because I feel like crying right now and I don’t think anyone else can understand except you. . .God, forgive me – I really missed it today. . .

Imagine – saving it all up – all that need bundled up only to be released once a year.  Buy the spotless lamb and offer it at the temple for sacrifice – just to be able to cover your sin so God could gaze upon your need once a year, hear you, and comfort you.  

No emergency room pleas, “Dear Father, save my son.”

No twilight drops to the knees, “Dear Father, help my son be the man you created him to be”

No huddles in the closet when everything is overwhelming, “Dear Father, lift me up, hold me, comfort me”

Only yearly visits to the temple to say, “Father, help me.”

And that is only if you were a biological apple on Abraham’s family tree.

I would have been a gentile. A gentile did not even have the one-year temple visit with God.  Gentiles were unclean.  Gentiles were not in the family.

No hope! No help! No Mercy! Nothing!

Just waiting, waiting for God to send His son who would be the permanent living sacrifice to forever, once and for all cover my sin so that God would not turn away in disgust at the filth of my soul – Because of Jesus sacrifice – the sacrifice with a life-time warrently replacing the lamb whose blood apparently secured a 1 year warranty – God looks upon me, watches me, never takes His eye off me or my children

He is beside my sons on the soccer field, on the playgroun, at school, at a friend’s house , as long as they’ll have Him there

He was in the delivery room when the doctor said, “I don’t have a heartbeat,” and He held my son in the palm of His hand until he was born, health and hole with APGARs of 9

He heard my please for a faithful husband who would love  and value me, and sent my husband to me

He heard the prayes of a little girl in the back yard on a Spring day, calling out to Him, to please love her and never abandon her

He heard the prayers of a mother who son was tormented by stomach pain for 5 years and sent a laborer with the name of a doctor who took that pain away

and a mother’s prayer for her sons’ wives

prayers for children, friends, family, strangers

 for fear, for deliverance, for pain, for confusion, prayers for forgiveness

prayers in my van, at my kitchen sink, in a grocery store, the laundry room, lots of prayers in my van

asking prayers, praise prayers,

forgiving prayers,

and thanking prayers



all because

God sent His son

Thank you, God

from your daughter, adopted into the family of Abraham, because Jesus said so!



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Simply Saturday

A day where you might find yourself without anything to say

And you do not need to



These are the days my sons dream about – when their mom has absolutely





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Some of my sons dream of being a soccer professional or a football player. One wanted to be a garbage man. Another wanted to be a bladesmith crafting authentic reproduction swords. Military dreams, entrepreneurship dreams, maybe a drummer in a band.

My little guy, he dreams of being an artist.  He came home the other day, bummed out about his dream.  “Some kids in my class draw better than me.  Maybe I need to pick something else to be.”

This little guy has been living his dream since he could walk. He creates story art all the time.  He snags his dad to build furniture with leftover wood from home projects: wooden beds (think seven dwarf size), tables and little bench chairs.  He lamented that he had outgrown them the other day.

I bought a bag of fuzzy pom poms.  He made dozens of fuzzy people.  We had an entire fuzzy community! He gave a box of them to his cousin for his birthday.  His cousin took them everywhere.

Scissors and paper call him to come make art of them. And he does.

I have boxes of art, pictures he drew of me and dad full of I love yous.  I found art on the door to my bedroom the other day. Have you ever felt like you lived in a factor? An art factory?

I walked into the garage a couple of weeks to discover a teepee made of slates from an unused bed.

My artist felt like giving up because someone drew better.

Maybe he would grow up and open an ice cream store, he said.  Yes, an ice cream store with a wafer cone on top. It would have his favorite ice cream from The Marble Slab.  Yes, maybe that is what he would do. I boarded that ice-cream truck dream!  Who wouldn’t want to have a son who had an ice cream store!

But we also talked about the different kinds of artists: industrial artists, wood craftsmen, potters, cartoonists, architects, and so many more. Then we talked about how to increase his skill level.  This summer we bought some great books on how to draw lots of things, but they cannot help if they are not opened.

He is at an interesting stage in his life right now.  He is standing on the edge, trying to muster up the energy, the desire, the want to jump to the next level. Sometimes my boys go through a stage where they stagnate, burrow into laziness and discontent.  He has been discontent lately, feeling like he is not smart enough or talented enough. The realization dreams require work, actual effort do not mean that you are not smart enough or talented enough.  God gives giftings.  Those giftings take you only so far.  Work ethic is needed to reach the goal. He just did not want to work hard. Dreams, after all, just magically appear out of a heart’s desire, right?

Until this week, when the sleeping lion stirred from dreaming, waking up.  He’s working hard now, reading, drawing, mathematics. Success, confidence, work ethic are blooming like a warm spring after a cold, dark winter.

He brought out the scissors today along with the colored paper.

In a few years, he is going to be in c ollege, standing on the edge of the nest beside me, trying to muster up the courage to jump and fly. I felt that way with my oldest. It was time to take that next jump.  If he would not jump, I would have given a helpful push.  I did not have to push – he jumped and soared.

Right now my little guy is ready to take the next step.  He is trying to take his dreams to the next level. I can figuratively hold his hand and help him to that next level. I will savor that opportunity for a short time longer. In a few years, he will not need that hand.  He will jump and soar, all on his own. 

When he grows up, I want him to live his dreams, instilled in him by a mighty God.  However, all dreams take hard work – and that takes choice. As a mom, it is so exciting to see the gifts and the dreams with the human resource character that God placed in him unfold. What tremendous relief to know that God knows all His needs – and does not keep solutions a secret, but lets me know what my little guy needs.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be”(Psalm 139: 14-16)

Years ago, when I was 6, I wanted to be a writer.  It took hard work, determination in the face of adversity – and choice. I chose to pursue my dream. I will encourage each of my sons to pursue their dreams, too!  Is it not amazing that God created our hearts, our toes, all those little blood vessels, finger nails, even, noise hair along with our souls, and then gave us the tone or our voices, individual laughter, and sneezes. And then he placed a dream in us that would lead us to what He created us to be – not a dream to torment and bring unhappiness, but one that brings joy! My God is utterly amazing – and I never realized just how utterly amazing until I had children.

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.Simply Saturday

I love fairy tales about princesses.  They go through tough times but they still behave like a princess, with gentleness, nobleness, and strength. Though a princess may appear to be abandoned and suffer at the hands of others, the princess has a hero looking for her, someone strong enough to lift her out of her ugliness and put her back where she belongs, in the position of a beloved princess.

This is not a fairy tale, though.  I am a princess – I am the daughter of The King! How amazing is that!  I did not grasp that until I was 37 years old.  Do you realize what being the daughter of The King entails? Think about it.  Walk it out during your day, in your dealings with other people.  If you are a child of God, you are a princess!

 “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward”(Gensis 15:1)

A princess need never be afraid when her Father is the King!

 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations; Your name will be  Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.  I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you And your descendants after you for The generations to come, to Be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God”(Genesis 17:4-8).

My earthly father might have walked out on me, but I was adopted into Abraham’s family because of Jesus Christ.  That means this is my history, too! God promises to Abraham are promises to me, all because of Jesus!

 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And whoever curses you I will curse; And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”(Genesis 12:2-3)

 I am a BLESSING!  Do you hear that – a BLESSING! – and guess what, my Father will take care of those who mess with me! He will Champion His child, his princess!

 I always wondered how Jesus could love me as much as He loved Peter, James, and John.  I would say, “Sure he does,” but that is not how I felt inside.  I wanted Jesus to love me like that, but I still wondered,”Oh, I’m not good enough or special enough for that.” When you do not have an earthly father who thinks you are special are a blessing, are worth championing, who thinks you beautiful (every girl should have a father who thinks she’s beautiful), it is difficult to imagine that God would. 

 Then one day I understood:  I am a daughter of the King.  Imagine being a daughter of the King—how people treat you, how you are provided for, how you are valued and loved.

Never let anyone take away your inheritance, your heritage, your place in the family, in the kingdom!

You are a Princess

A daughter of The King

Walk it!

Think it!

Be it!

All the way down to the tiptoes of your soul!

Dear Father, Thank you for loving me as much as you loved Peter, James, John, and Abraham.  Thank you for being my God.  Thank you for sending Jesus so I could be a daughter of the King.  It is in your son’s name that I thank you and take my rightful place as a favored child in the family of God



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Come join me with my friends, my BFFS, my peeps that I left behind in The Promised Land when I moved out of state.  We created a blog, The Friendship Table, where we can still share recipes for a friendship dinner – the next closest thing to being there. Friends are such gifts from God! 

Here is my desert contribution:

Tres Leche Cake
Evaporated, condensed, and whole milk are combined in this cake for just the right amount of sweetness. Make the cake up to three days in advance and refrigerate it. It’s traditionally served chilled and topped with whipped cream but is also delicious with chopped pineapple.
Unsalted butter, room temperature, for baking dish
100_26296 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can(12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold whites into yolks until almost combined. Gently fold in flour (do not overmix).
Spread batter in prepared dish. Bake until golden and pulling away from sides of dish, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a small knife, scrape skin from top of cake; discard. Cool cake 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the three milks; pour evenly over cake. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
To serve, prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream with sugar to soft peaks. Chill cake and cut into squares; serve topped with whipped cream.

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When I am old, I will smoke a pipe with vanilla tobacco.  By the time I am 85 years old, smoking a pipe of vanilla tobacco will not negatively affect my health.  I will be too old to negatively influence my children, and my great grand children will remember me.  There will be, I am sure, many things I will not want to do, but I think the hardest thing will be to resist the urge to speak to my children, my grandchildren, and my great grand children in Disney Language (Disneyese).

So that when my son says, “Mom, I was thinking . . . .”

I will not answer, “A dangerous past time, I’m sure”(Beauty and the Beast).

Nor will I respond to misplaced temper with, “…and most of all…Control your temper”(Beauty andthe Beast)

When somone askes me who the older gentleman is with my 10th grandson’s wife, I will not say, “The crazy old coot is belle’s father” (Beauty and the Beast).

No matter how temping, when my great grand-sons are whining about pulling some weeds, I will not say, like Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, “A fine bunch of water lilies you turned out to be.”

Nor will I on any occasion sing to my sons, my grandsons, and my great grandsons about what kind of man they need to be:

“[men] BE A MAN
We must be swift as a coursing river
[men] BE A MAN
With all the force of a great typhoon
[men] BE A MAN
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon”(Mulan) -This one is going to be a hard one to resist!

Neither will I encourage the eating of lettuces:  romaines, butterheads, radicchio, arugula or endive by saying, “Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat”(Bambi).

And when my 2 year old great grand-daughter jabbers to me, in a language I cannot understand, I will not say, “Look, you’re really cute, but I can’t understand what you’re saying” (Finding Nemo).

Despite their good intentions, when my children try to wake me up at 5 a.m. to take me to the beach with them, I will not sound like Madam Mim, “I  hate sunshine! I hate horrible, wholesome sunshine! I hate it! I hate it! I hate, hate, hate!” and pull the covers back over my head (The Sword and the Stone).

Nor will I ask the tiny child rummaging through my candy box, “Who are You?” Catepillar from Alice in Wonderland (because I will know all their names).

And when that tiny child eats my last favorite piece of candy, I will not shout or even whisper, “Off with their heads,”(Alice in Wonderland).

When I ask my 4 year old great grandaughter what her name is because I am so old and have so many new names to remember, when she just stares mutely, terrified of the little old lady smoking a pipe with vanilla tobacco, I will not impertintly answer,”At least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then” (Alice in Wonderland).

I will not wish strangers, “A Very Happy Unbirthday”(Alice in Wonderland), and when my son tells me the doctor has ordered me to never eat ice cream again, I will not answer, “Never say Never whatever you do”(An American Tail).

When they asked, “What’s for dinner Great Grannydoodle?” I will not answser, “Kidney of a horse, liver of a cat, filling up the sausages with this and that” (00ps–Les Miserable, but it is one of my most favorite lines).

If my sons dared to ask, just because they are in their 50s and think they are old enough, “Why did you do it, Mom” when I visit and eat all their ice cream at 2 a.m.  I will not say, “I’d like to make one thing quite clear: I never explain anything”(Mary Poppins).

When they fuss at me for having too much fun wrestling and pinning  down the grandchildren and great grandchildren or jumping on the trampoline, I will not say, “Why do you have to spoil it? We have fun! I taught you to fly and to fight”(Peter Pan).
And when one of the little ones comes in, fussing that someone is not sharing, no matter how tempting, I will not say, “All you need is trust and a little bit of pixie dust” and then sprinkle glitter or baby powder on her hair.  No, I will not do that.
Nor will I call all these children, big and small “Bilge Rats” for beating me at chess and checkers(Peter Pan).
No, I think when I am Old and Smoke a Pipe with Vanilla Tobacco, I will want to hold their tiny hands, or hug them close if they will let me (you know how children are), and I will say, “Let me pray a blessing prayer with you.” Or maybe I will tell them stories about how Jesus loved their parents, and grandparents, cousins – and how God answered prayers and loved unconditionally, faithfully.  And, maybe, I will explain about being a son or daughter of the King – and what that means in His Kingdom!
Yes, I think that is what I will do!

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.Simply Saturday

The older I get, the more challenges I face raising my sons, I am continually amazed at the unconditional depth and breadth of the love God placed in me to not hold grudges, never give up, to hope in Faith, and to love when you do not feel like it, the desire to reach down to the tip-toes of your soul and pull love out because sometimes feeling love is hard. Finding it is a choice.

My little guys feel love right now. I used think love was just feeling love. I know better now. How awesome when the two collide. On the days when you just do nt feel the love does not mean it is not there. There is a God-designed nobleness in knowing love, choosing love, no condition love!

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superior scribbler awardHow many times do you do something wonderful, and your children, whom you think sparkle like the moon and stars, do not appreciate your Sparkleness?  Sometimes that attitude can dull your sparkle, though it is not supposed to.  I guess that is the humanness within.

Zeemaid from In the Mommy Trenches, sent me this wonderful award that definitely shined up my inner Sparkly.

The Rules for this one are:

* Each Superior Scribbler I name today must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
* Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
*Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visitThis Post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

heartfeltShirley at A Mom After God’s Own Heart sent me The Heartfelt Blog Award.  It is such a blessing to be able to share what is in our hearts whether it is just telling a story because it makes you laugh – and telling it just once at home just is not enough! OR maybe it is a crusade against injustice or frustration at valueless marketing in our stores that encroach on your values or just needing someone to say, “I know how you feel.”  To be the Heartfelt Award is about one person’s ideas resounding in some positive, encouraging way in another’s heart.

  The Rules for the Heartfelt  Blog Award are:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.

2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.

3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.

5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award

So without further delay, here are my nine picks for the Heartfelt Award:

DaffycommentsawardAnd then the amazing RedHead Riter bestowed upoon me the My Comments Rock Awards because it is not just about taking.  A good neighbor always gives, too.  When we were making our move, I bemoaned my “Peeps” – Yes, I said Peeps.  You do realize that if you use the slang of youth, they will stop using that slang.  I am on a quest – but I digress – I bemoaned the loss of my “Peeps” – My Kroger Peeps, my Wal-mart Peeps, my coffee shop peeps at Cafe Dolche and Poets, Sweet Sallies Yum Homemade cakes and cupcakes – people I have done business with for 18 years, seen me drag my boys through the check out aisle, brought in for a cup of JoeMy sons  where I’d ask how they were and mean it.  And they’d stop and talk about their lives, too.  My sons (all 5 are in agreement on this) and my husband laughed and said it wouldn’t be long before I made friends.  They swear I knew everyone, so it never phases them when I found out information and said, “I have my sources.” However, making friends is hard work.  It means risking rejection by extending friendliness.  We do that with our comments.  We can either give cruise-through comments or really sit down and have a dialogue.  Yes, I am interested in what you have to say.  I was never to appalled in my life when my journalism teacher in college was talking about cliches, saying, “People don’t really want to know how you are.  They just ask.”  This Award, to me, symbolizes what a blogahood needs to be healthy.

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We moved into a new neighborhood in August, 3 days after school started. We unloaded 18 years of life in another state, 4 boys more than when we left.  Tough was an understatement .  No neighbors showed up on our doorstep with cookies or a pie.  No matter how many boxes I dug into, not a single friend was found to be pulled out.

However, one thing that did not change in the move was the world of women’s blogging. Women stopped by to say hi, to encourage, and, gee, some even brought awards.  I could not eat them of course, but encouragement heartens the soul, does it not?

I want to thank some of these encouragers whose friendship, encouragement, and prayers made me feel less lonely as I began to re-build my family’s life in a new community.


Thanks Frugal Vicki from Frugal Mom Knows Best. She sent me the Heartfelt Award.  She had this to say about the award:

“This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

These are women who would be welcome at my Thanksgiving Table! These women last summer so encouraged this new mom on the block of the blogahood.  What a dinner we would have with such women of faith, determination, and conviction- and the most amazing thing – these women, even if they would disagree, would do it so nicely!


Buckaroo Mama at Mamahood, Among Other Things didn’t bring any pie to my house, but she did award me the Honest Scrap Award.  All you moms out there know that we do not often get encouragement within the household (I’m talking our children,not our spouses)  for the honest of our values and ideas and implementing those ideas.  This award sweetened my day, along with my Orange Dolce tea! This award is for those women who stand up for what they believe in. Some show it with words, some with art!

Here are the rules that go along with the “Honest Scrap Award”:

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

Now I am supposed to tell you 10 honest things about myself

  • My eyes are green.  My husband tried to persuade me they were blue when we first started going out.
  • One of the happiest days of my life was when my 4th son’s eyes turned green.  I know what the world felt like when movies discovered color!
  • My sons have proof that I am not perfect when I am behind the wheel of a car.
  • My favorite color is blue
  • My favorite ice cream is Marble Slab Deep Dark Chocolate with Lemon Custard.
  • My favorite Birthday cake was made by my dad’s mom-Strawberry Cake.  I finally got the recipe for it a few years ago.
  • I always wanted children with red hair, like my husband had when he was little. 
  • Chocolate Truffles and Majeskas are my favorite Christmas Candy.  I’ll share the recipes with you in December.
  • I hated pizza when I was little.  The fam had to buy me a hamburger while they went to Pizza Hut.  I certainly cannot get mad at my littlest son because he hates pizza now and wants a hamburger instead.
  • I do not like scary movie!

Lastly, I want to thank Tracy at Light House Academy and The Home School Post.  She did not bring a cake to my blog door, but she did sparkle up my header, by getting rid of the fisherman and the odd boat, and brightening the scenery. She is a beautiful example of the generosity I have discovered in this community.

Today’s theme goes with my Simply Saturday theme of Generosity of Spirit 

“God puts things in our hearts, and whispers, “Pass it on.”  Of course, sometimes He has to shout, but we pass it on. I have been so blessed by so many wonderful women who have passed on a ”God” message that was spiritual water to my thirsting soul.

That message gets passed on, maybe through words, maybe through actions to my children, family, peers, acquaintences, maybe the cashier at a store.  It might not be a sermon, but maybe it’s a smile, a pat on the back, a hug, a word of encouragement,  just showing interest, making eye contact, a reaching into someone’s life that needs to be reached. The ripple effect of “Pass it on” – just think about it.”

Thank each of you for blessing me!

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Simply Saturday

God puts things in our hearts, and whispers, “Pass it on.”  Of course, sometimes He has to shout, but we pass it on. I have been so blessed by so many wonderful women who have passed on a “God” message that was spiritual water to my thirsting soul.

That message gets passed on, maybe through words, maybe through actions to my children, family, peers, acquaintences, maybe the cashier at a store.  It might not be a sermon, but maybe it’s a smile, a pat on the back, a hug, a word of encouragement,  just showing interest, making eye contact, a reaching into someone’s life that needs to be reached. The ripple effect of “Pass it on” – just think about it.

The other day, Jenn from  jpreziosi sent me something from her collage site.  A few words that I had written in Capitalism or Socialism: Trick or Treat were passed on and Jenn did something beautiful with it, maybe passing it on further, maybe encouraging a generosity of spirit. She made it more than what it was. That is what “passing it on does” – make things more than what they were.

generosity of spirit

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10-25-2009 06;08;41PMTrick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Give me Something Good to Eat

Every topic provides a teachable moment about God and, often, politics. Halloween is no different.

Last year, before the election, I was driving my boys somewhere-we are always going somewhere, and we were talking, discussing the difference between presidential candidates.

I explained how our capitalistic country was born out of the failure of socialism. William Bradford, author of Plymouth Plantation led a group of people to settle in America. Their settlement charter required them to form a socialist society. All results of work would be equally shared among their group. The first year was an utter failure. Healthy young men did not work. Why? Because they knew they would get their equal share of the pie whether they worked or not, as the charter stated. Suffering resulted, and, sadly, the ones who worked hard to provide for those who did not work suffered equally. The colony revised their charter the second year into a capitalistic charter: what you made you kept to sell, barter, trade. The colony flourished. Those lazy young men worked when there was profit/rewards to be had.

“Capitalism allows you to keep what you earn and choose where to spend it; socialism “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”(Marx), meaning that it doesn’t matter how much you work or how good you are, the government will take away your earnings to give to fill other peoples’ needs.”

10-25-2009 06;03;09PMMy sons looked at me blankly. Hmmmmm, apparently, I needed to put this into the U-14 venacular.” Passing houses with pumpkins filling door ways, black cat flags, and other ghoulish festivities, I pulled an idea out of the figurative candy basket of my brain.

I assessed my boys through the rear-view mirror.

“What’s your favorite part about Halloween,” I asked.

“Candy,” chimed the unhesitatant chorus.

“What if the Jones wouldn’t allow their children to go Trick or Treating because they didn’t believe in it? The Thompsons were just too lazy? The Smith’s too sick? What would you do when you got home and Dad said you had to give 2/3 of your candy to those families? How would you feel?”

“Not going to happen!” my then 8th grader answered bluntly.

The two younger ones looked appalled, even disgusted.

benI countered my 8th grader, “But he is your Dad, you have to do what he says. Just like the president is the president-you have to do what he says, too. Socialism is like your dad telling you you must share, whether you want to or not. Socialism is when the leader of your country decides how many other people you have to give your hard-earned halloween candy to.”

“Some people don’t believe in trick or treating, some just don’t want to, some people maybe just can’t for real reasons. Despite the reason why others do not have Halloween candy, you cannot call it giving when the government takes it away and chooses who to give your stuff to.”

My 4th grader said, “Well, if they were sick, I’d share.”

“In a Capitalist society, you go out, work hard, and determine what to do with your earnings. The moral choice is yours to make with giving. That is what makes it moral,” I answered. “There’s nobleness and goodness in giving when you make the choice to give-that is capitalism, and that’s why we’re known as the most giving country in the world. There is no moral giving without choice. There is no generosity of spirit without choice.”

Halloween is a sweet-tooth example of the capitalist system thriving in our country. I bet your children share without being told to, or barter the results of their hard work.

Socialism or Capitalism–what’s the real trick or treat?

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Wal-Mart and Kroger cannot seem to keep verbal porn covered up on their check-out aisles.  Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazine continually run sexually explicit titles on their covers with sexually explicit material inside.  With everything from what to do with the male anatomy to sex positions (pictures available inside magazine), these magazine covers leave little to the imagination.

I am trying to raise  4 sons (one is already out of the next) to be Godly young men who see more than sex in a young woman. I do not want a grocery store undermining that.  I do not want to have to explain to my 10 year old concepts that are not appropriate.  Aren’t there “R” rated laws about what a minor can and cannot see?

We just moved to a new town.  Our old hometown struggled to keep these magazines under a sleeve in the check-out aisles.  However, after a few weeks, they would be uncovered again, prominently displayed in the aisle where anyone under 18 years of age could read.  Everytime I asked, Wal-Mart would respond that they couldn’t control their vendors.  They had a contract.

Now, if I let someone rent space I owned to make money, I would think that I could control what they did with that rental space.  Besides, what would Sam Walton, creator of the FAMILY FRIENDLY Wal-Mart chain say about those pornographic titles on display where families, with children in tow, paid their bills?  After all, what do you think kids, teens, and parents are doing while they’re waiting in those long lines?

One Wal-Mart manager explained that they have considered creating family-value aisles. A store that promotes family values on the outside, but limits those values to a few aisles on the inside? How disappointing! Promoting verbal porn to make a few extra bucks while thumbing your nose at the majority of your customers!

I think it is akin to spitting on those families and their values while taking their money.

When I complained at one smaller store, the manager said, “Well, now, your sons are going to hear about it in the boys’ bathroom.  How can you stop that?”

Well, I took my 5 growing sons + 2 adult household grocery bill to another store.

I understand I have choices.  I have choices about which bookstore, coffee shop, or clothing store I support.  If I don’t like a display or a political position, I can chose another venue-I do not have to spend my money at their check out aisle because these are not necessities.

However, food is a necessity.  In order for me to purchase that necessity, I must go through their check-out aisles.  I do not have a choice. 

It used to be that the customer provided the financial support to businesses.  Most owners knew their customers, knew their values, and worked hard to respect the people that were patrons to their businesses.  I think customers still do provide the financial support to the investors of Wal-Mart and Kroger. I certainly wish they would cater to the salt–of-the-earth family values that keep them in business. 

Today, I went into Wal-Mart.  Cosmopolitan’s verbal porn was displayed at the check-out aisle.  I went to turn it around.  On the back was a picture of a goup topless men and women. I couldn’t turn it either way to make this asile family-friendly.  Cosmo had trumped me. The manager had never heard of sleaves.  “Sleaves? For Cosmo?” she querried.  I showed her the picture on the back and then turned for her to read the verbal porn on the front.  “Oh, I’ll speak to the managers about that.”

Really? I don’t think so.

I was thinking that if Disney would change The Pirates of The Carribean ride over 4 complaints, 4 measly complaints, that maybe, just maybe Wal-Mart, Kroger, and whatever grocery store you keep in business might sit up and listen if bloggers called to complain.

Join me in a crusade to put some family values back in the check-out aisle: create Porn-free aisles!

Wal-mart: 1-800-Wal-Mart

Kroger: 1-866-221-414

Please add your store in the comment area and I will put it up here.

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.Simply Saturday

All week long, I have been wanting to share a funny story, an incident to laugh about. After the serious posts of the last few weeks, I thought, “I need to lighten this up.”  However, as much as I try, God has not let a funny story walk through my door, be pulled up from the memories stacked within, or just dog-gone hoped for. 

I’m not depressed or sad, no, not even mad.  Of course, as a mom, that could pop up at any moment, just like that funny moment that I’ve been waiting for.  My little guy did decide that he’d better not dress up dad in a racoon costume and put him outside because he was snoring too loud inside.  The little guy decided that the bears might eat his dad, and he didn’t want that to happen. 

Content is what I feel.  Rare contentment.  Like how the warm cup feels on your cold hands at a soccer game in 52 degrees and the steam warms your nose. 

The tallest one of them all came off the soccer field plastered in mud.  He had a good night.  He needed a good night and, despite the mud and drizzle, he was everything he and I know he is. His jersey is still soaking.

The joyful one, he’s been struggling with the move, missing the familiar.  He had some friends over yesterday. His roots into the community grew a little more.  My mother-spirit sighed relief.

The two little guys went to the grandparents today to play with their cousins.  Something like that hasn’t been an option for 18 years.  We were too far away.  My sweeter-than-ice-cream mother-in-law made curtains for the boys’ rooms today.  How blessed am I!

I have a job I love that allows me to work from home.  No more grading college student essays.  No more college students who don’t want to be there, don’t want to do the work, don’t want to get an insufficient grade for doing nothing.  I do miss the students who love to learn, but I so love my new job. 

I am in a place God brought me.  I didn’t want to come.  I miss where I’ve been.  Yet, I am content, quietly content, a sitting-with-a-cup-of-coffee-and-my-world-is-at-peace-contentment.

“He who dwells in the shelter of The Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91)

As most of you mothers know, that contentment rarely lasts as long as that cup of coffee, but I will feel that moment, that sustaining moment through the toe-to-toe battles, the moments where you cannot emotionally flinch, the disappointment, the brotherly bickering, the no-matter-how-hard-I-try-I-cannot-make-everyone-happy times,and my constantly disappearing Dr. Pepper bottle. 

For now, I’m going to curl up in a quilt of contentment, breath it in, savor it, and rest in it.

Thank you, God, for the funny moments,

the heart moments, the proud moments,

thank you for carrying me through the hard moments

 that make

all the other moments

so much


and thank you, God,

for this contented time

of spiritual, emotional, and physical


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