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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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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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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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.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

sweeter

and thank you, God,

for this contented time

of spiritual, emotional, and physical

refreshing

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scbcaleb2The ACLU and timid school administrators keep trying to squash prayer in school.

My oldest son came home from second grade afraid that his teacher would know that he was “praying in his head” and he would be punished because prayer was not allowed in school.  A mother-son discussion ensued.  Years later, he told me about a pre-class discussion among his peers (respected football players, basketball players, and, of course, soccer players).  Before class started, they debated the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Yes, I had a mom-moment, seeing a seed bloom. A lot of these young men became Young Life Leaders in college, ministering to high school students.  Wow!  Seed harvested?

Last year, my little guy came home concerned about one of his BFFs.  The class bully was picking on him.  His friend had missed school because of the sitution.  Sometimes his friend cried.  My little guy came home and said, “I prayed for Joshua today.”  He had prayed for someone he cared about who had a need! Another mom moment. A seed planted was sprouting.

A few days ago, my little guy came home from school.  We had our daily discussion about lunch, school, and what the little boy who causes trouble did that day.

“When I was in the bathroom, I prayed for him,” he answered. He had prayed for someone that had a need, not because he was a BFF. Rather, this was someone who made the day tougher sometimes.  Another mom moment! That sprouting seed grew another inch.

christian-caleb-and-gator-2

My little guy says he wants to grow up to be like The Biggest Brother of Them All. I would say he is on his way.

As long as parents pray with their children at home, in the van, on the playground, the soccer field, or any place for any need, there will be prayer in school. Don’t just pray, though.  Discuss who needs prayer besides ourselves and our immediate family members.  On the way to school, one son leads The Lords Prayer, another leads the Psalm 23. Then I pray, “Dear Lord, I pray that today we let someone know about the love of Jesus either through our words or actions.”

Prayer in school?  It  is going on in student’s heads, at the flag pole, during the moment of silence when students bravely lead The Lord’s Prayer, and, apparently, in the bathrooms. Our children can make a difference one prayer at a time.

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For the last 20 years, when traveled home to visit family, we passed this house. It is like an old friend you sitting on a porch as you go into town. We watch for each other, greet each other and pass on by. I have seen it in various stages of seasonal dress, warm moods, stormy moods, desolate moods. I always wonder about its heart, about what kind of love lived in there.

What do you see, when you look at this house?

Do you see

this?

houseinfield4

Sometimes, I see Loss

At othertimes, Unsustainable Change,

Isolation

Left-behindness

Not what I asked for

Maybe Life without God

or

do you see

this?

houseinfield1

 Hope of Home Sweet Home

memories

that swirled

within those walls

Laughter wafting out the windows

 opportunity for Shelter

to put down roots

to build a life

out of

abandonment

brokendownness

Opportunity

Restoration

Security

New Life all around

Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Each picture, the same house, one symbolizing hopelessness and confusion, the other hope.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)

Which House are You Living in?

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prayer_1 I am forgoing Simply Saturday this week to promote Monday as a day of Prayer to Stop Violence in our Schools. A few years ago, when my one son was threatened at school, I dealt with this issue.  A fellow student showed him a knife and said he was going to stab him in the back and kill him with it the next week.

This student missed school often, disappeared for weeks at a time, and eventually, after an altercation,was put in a foster home.  Every time this student came back into the classroom, my son’s grades went down.  The administration recommended that he have a witness with him at all times, at the bathroom, on the way to soccer practice, in the hallways.    I know what you’re thinking, but let’s follow my point for the moment.

One Spring afternoon, I sat on my porch, probably grading papers, and thinking about this issue.  This boy thought my son had it all. He was 6 ft. tall in the 7th grade.  He was popular, but he didn’t realize it.  Like any child he had his own issues.  This boy didn’t realize that everyday when my son came home, we scooped his emotional self up and helped put him back together. 

I realized that this young man’s spirit cried out for what my son had, parents who cared enough to help him put himself together, loved him through the good, the bad, and the ugly to help him become the man God created him to be.

By 7th grade, you cannot schedule a play date.  If you have smaller children, you cannot risk a dangerous person coming into their environment.  I sat there, the mother in me, grieving for this young man who needed a mom who would fight for him.

This young man needed Jesus Christ in his life.  Yet, how do you say to a boy who doesn’t know the love of a Father, God, come meet my Father?  How do you encourage someone to become a Christian, give their life to The Father, when maybe their father beats them or abandoned them?  The book, To Tell the Truth, by Will Metzger discusses this same issue.  So many youth today are not raised hearing the language of God, instrucuted in the Godly principles of God, introduced to the nature of this awesomely loving God.  We have to start from scratch.  From a very first introduction, one stranger to another.

As I sat there, on my porch, I realized this boy, almost a man, did not have a mama who prayed for him. Probably few people ever did.  I started praying for this young man. I say young man because according to Judeo-Christian values, 13 is the age of accountability, where one becomes responsible for the condition of their souls.  I think that is pretty manly.

Yesterday, when a school brawl resulted in a student being critically stabbed, I realized that even though we had moved to another state, back to my husband’s hometown, that violence in school is not just an isolated incident, but crosses district lines, county lines, and state lines.

To end or greatly reduce violence in our schools, we need to reach hurting, hopeless, and spiritually hungry students  to give them a hope that God in a covenant relationship provides abundantly. Hope stiffles the urge to lash out.  Hope sees positive solutions. Hope may results in the aggressive defensive use of force, but it is never the offensive use of force. Hope brings light to dark places.

I pray that eyes will be opened, ears will hear

and hearts will be changed

that God will send laborers

into the hallways, the lunchrooms, the classrooms

who either by word or example

plant the seed of hope

through the Love of Jesus Christ

who is our hope

Our youth need to find the one true hope in a loving God who knows their needs, knows their hurts and fears, knows their dreams.  They need to be introduced to the God who promises the following to His children:  “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands,

  • I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crop and the trees of the field their fruit. 
  • Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting,
  • and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
  •  I will grant peace in the land,
  • and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid.
  •  I will remove savage beasts from the land,
  • and the sword will not pass through your country. 
  • Your will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you.
  •  Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
  •  I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers,
  •  and I will keep my covenant with you.
  •  You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you have to move it out to make room for the new.
  •  I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.
  •  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people”(Leviticus 26:1-12).

Please join me Monday in prayer to stop violience in our schools by praying that the seeds of hope are planted in their lives.

 

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