Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

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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Rule #2: Unconditional Love is like invisible ink. While the invisible ink is made visible by heat, another chemical or ultraviolet light, unconditional love is made visible by uncomfortable situations resulting in pain, disappointment, anger from another’s behavior. So how do you know when you love unconditionally? When you are uncomfortable, don’t really want to, aren’t feeling it, but choose to love anyway – then you are loving unconditionally.

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A friend

crafted my son

these cool

faux paper fingers

(5th grade cool)

But cool faux fingers




thumb war


What Cool  things are distracting you

from achieving

God’s call

on your life

Because everybody has a call

something wonderful

God planned

for your life

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9)

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the heart is mine” (Exodus 19:5)

“For you are an holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a peculiar people to himself, above all the nations that are on the earth.” (Deut. 14:2)

If cool is not getting you anywhere, try peculiar!




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Before Christmas, I bought a new quilt for my bed. Depending on my mood, it can be found either folded over the foot of the bed atop a white coverlet like the one in the picture. Right now my white coverlet is folded away in the closet. Regardless of which blanket is the main blanket, my original quilt – one about 11 years old, is not far away – either folded over the foot of my bed or on my settee.

The old quilt has history.  Snugglebuggles when all the boys would end up in our room, the biggest one wrapped in the Blue Cotton Blanket on the floor, and, depending on who wandered in during the night, one or all of the other 4. Climbing under the Green Cotton Blanket was synonymous with comfort, warmth, giggles, good-night books, a safe haven during a blustery thunderstorm, funny sounds in the night, a healing cocoon when sickness struck – and mom.

I guess they spent nine months in me – and the closest they could get to mama after those nine months was being wrapped up in the Green Cotton Blanket.

I’ve knitted blankets they love, bought little boy bedroom blankets, and Nanny quilted blankets for each son.  But none are filled with the Green Cotton Blanket Magic.

The surest sign they are growing up is when they stop wandering in for snuggles under the Green Cotton Blanket.  That is as it should be.  However, they’ve never tried to steal it. . . until a few weeks ago. Why should I be surprised, though?  One son stole the Blue Cotton Blanket; apparently, it is in the genes.

There, so innocently, folded over my bed, just waiting to be used – The Green Cotton Blanket.

The littlest guy, pictured below all snuggled up in blankets in his carrier, was he headed for a life of blanket theft even then?  In the background, you can see the green cotton blanket. Was the pull of the blanket just too much?  And he broke? Temptation is they name. . . Green Cotton Blanket?

Those same words from almost 22 years ago, the same facial expressions, just a different little boy, the littlest boy.  As his fingertips pulled at the blanket, he flashed a guilty smile full of bravado, “I’ll just take this.  You don’t really need it.”

“But what about if I take a nap? I’ll still need it?”

“How ’bout I get it at night, and you can have it in the daytime?” he countered as he darted out of the room, his body shielding me from the Green Cotton Blanket – as though I were the threat.

I stood there amused because the situation was so familiar to my heart.  And so bemused because I was out another blanket – one I really like snuggling with for myself.  We went back and forth for a few days.  He would trot to the bathroom; I would sneak in to steal it back. But I knew it was a lost cause. Because when you get too old to snuggle with mama, well, you really still do want to but you’re just too old, so the next best thing is the snuggle blanket. It is not a total snuggle-free zone yet, but I see the writing on the wall! Or the message in the blanket.

I just somehow feel like I’ve lost more than a Green Cotton Blanket!

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Unconditional Love ≠ Door Mat

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The “Blue Cotton Blanket” has been traveling lately. You can find it over at Sanctified Together’s April edition of “Life is a Vapor” (click here to visit).  Since I wrote about the blue cotton blanket, I have been trying to find the one picture of it from when it went to college with me. My sweet mom dug into the picture box and pulled it out for me to share with you. You can now see how truly loved is the blue cotton blanket. It traveled with me to a soccer tournament this weekend. It kept the chill from the rain under an umbrella, it covered my son while he slept,  and, on the long ride home, he used it as a pillow against the window. It is on his bed again.

The Blue Cotton Blanket

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).


It never stays folded or alone long.

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Bore is a 4 letter word at our house.  It started out years ago, in graduate school, when I was a Teaching Assistant who taught composition classes. All TAs took a how-to-teach-composition class.  My students were already pummeling me with this quality-work killing frame of mind, “This topic is boring.”

I asked our mentor, “What do you say when they complain the topic is boring?”

He said something lofty like, “Boredom is a state of mind.”

Through the years I have blue-cottton-ified that definition: “To say I am bored is to say I am too dumb to make it interesting.”

My cheeky freshman has been saying for year, “Mama, I’m bored.  I’m just too dumb to make it interesting.”

At least my definition made it through 2 sons before it became satirized. None of my college students dared that; however, I was not their mama.

When my boys let the word “bore” slip out, sigh, we have a discussion. Really, they are saying they have nothing interesting to do. That is when they have 3 choices:

  • Sit and stew in their nothing-interesting-to-do-ness, but do it where their suffering affects only them.
  • Reach down inside and pull out their God-given creativity and ingenuity to create an interesting (albeit law-abiding) moment.  This is a problem-solving skill that needs to be developed – the ability to look from without to within and create action.
  • Grab a book and set off on an adventure.

Even my cheeky boy ultimately wonders off to create an interesting moment.  After all, it is his life.  He needs to learn to create an interesting life. His mama cannot do it forever!

If Tolkien had not climbed out of boredom into thoughtful creativity, we would have had no Lord of the Rings. If C.S. Lewis had not chosen active creativity over boredom, we would be without The Chronicles of Narnia.  Without Christopher Columbus, how long before the world would be considered round? Or our Founding Fathers, without imagination, could they have thought a free nation into existence?

Without imagination, could we have a cure for Polio or be able to fight infections with antibiotics?

If the world were bored, would we have lights to turn on, the All American Burger, the Ford Mustang, Starbucks, refrigerators, chipolte sauce, heart and lung replacements?

Boredom is the weed that chokes out flowering imagination!

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