Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Teens’

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!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The first week of May always leaves me homesick for my growing-up home.
horse4cYou can take the girl out of Louisville but you cannot take Louisville at of the girl!. It is Derby week – and Derby Week has a double special place in my heart. Yeah – it is about balloon races, boat races, and, of course, horse races. But most important for me is a time of family.

You see, we always celebrated my grandfather’s birthday on Derby Day – which meant a house full of family, lots of laughter and people of all ages spilling out all the doors, from the front porch entrance to the backyard, blooming with grandfather’s white azaleas, white and pink dogwood trees, honeysuckle. He built a make-shift tree house for us in the Rain tree. In the very back of the yard were 3 pine trees he planted. The middle pine tree was my favorite hide-away – I could climb it and read – and no one would bother me.

Derby morning, our house was a hive of activity. I would be sent up the street to cut fresh mint from Aunt Joyce’s yard for the Mint Julips. There would be dips and chips – not something we had often in the routine of regular living. And, there would be a little bowl full of  newspaper cutting slips with the horses names. Put a dollar in and draw a horse name out – I was so excited the year my horse, Majestic Prince, won – and I so wanted to draw his name. It was a lucky day – yes, I will say, it was a lucky day lined with blessing!

When we got older and my grandfather passed away, it was less festive, but still celebrated. One special year, the summer I got married, before my junior year in college, my grandmother invited my friends for dinner after spending a day at the in-field at Churchill Downs. The day was beautiful, until the skies literally poured rain on us as we were leaving. But my grandmother – well, she was amazing. All bedraggled from the rain – about ten of us, were seated at her dining room table, on her needle-point-covered chairs, and served a meal fit for anyone on Million’s Row – Leg of Lamb with her homemade mint sauce and homemade chili sauce plus all the fixin’s. I don’t remember the dessert.  I know there was one – there was always a dessert, Caramel Cake or the Chocolate Celebration Cake, sometimes Charlotte Russe!

The laughter that night was memorable, especially over the lamb. One of my sweet friends loves animals and just couldn’t quite bring herself to take a bite of that used-to-be fluffy little lamb. She made a valiant effort, but every time she tried to take a bit, everyone “baa-ed.” She gracefully gave up.

My grandmother, who in high school wanted me to pick my friends from some other place – and we battled about that – leaned over and whispered, “You have such good friends.”

People come from around the world to watch the Kentucky Derby – and to them it’s just a race. When you have roots in the blue grass, though, the Kentucky Derby is so much more than the big hats, mint juleps and fast horses.

The Four Horses of Maturity

racetrack2cc
There is a race within each of my sons – I call it The Four Horses of Maturity participating in the Race of Life – more specifically, the most important race of an individual’s life. The Four Horses of Maturity are named Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual.

When the gates open, Physical Maturity bolts, a thrilling surge for the lead, over-powering muscle, yet without caution, without strategy to pace, without limit recognition.

After an anxious route to the starting gate, Emotional Maturity gains, passing a spent Physical Maturity, nipping it on the flank as it moves to pass. Emotions raging, uncontrolled, Emotional Maturity behaves erratically. Emotional Maturity explodes forward without reason. Hard to handle, easily spooked, seemingly confused about being ahead, possibly thinking the race won, unsure of what to do. . . .

greyhorseUntil Intellectual Maturity edges up, having executed a fairly smooth trip to move into the lead. Reason reigns, using logic and reason to keep Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity in check, not allowing them a chance to gain. Intellectual Maturity blocks the advancement of Spiritual Maturity.

Down the stretch they come, Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity trying to regain, bumping Intellectual maturity in the turn. But Spiritual Maturity, after swerving out a bit toward the first turn, continues along the outside, rallies when sharply roused on the second turn to make a way between Physical and Emotional Maturity. Physical Maturity suddenly lost momentum.

Intellectual Maturity continues along the inside in a brilliant move to take over the lead on the stretch turn, rallies gamely and gives way grudgingly as Spiritual Maturity finds a way, pulling from within amazing feats to find an opening on the inside, slips past, making a stirring dash to the finish line, winning with confidence.

Read Full Post »

barefeet

Mothering lays bare my soul, all raw and real to these arms, legs and toes with a soul born skin-bare. Life bare they grew, loved and wrapped little arms around my neck, unconditional trust to grow who God created them to be, some days barely graceful, some days barely adequate – and the memory of the imperfection bared is no longer than a sleep.

Imperfect me laid bare to little toes and legs that grow up into teen toes and legs with little tolerance, little forgiveness for a barely good-enough mom who misses it, missteps the daily dance with those toes and legs. And I am bared, in this teen reveal, the true brokenness of imperfect me. In the bareness of the reveal these legs and toes remember past the daily sleeps, remember and dress imperfect me in my own gracelessness.

The bare necessity of a mother’s life? It’s not the coffee, the hugs, the candles lit that symbolize hope for a peaceful moment. Not, it is hope and faith that here I am bare, alone, judged by these legs and toes – that they will one day take their soul fingers and peel away the imperfect memories, laying bare to the startling unconditional, hope-filled love that never gave up on either of us.

Once I got beyond the thought of how my boys used to, pre-10 unabashedly walk bare-naked through the house without any inhibitions  – well, such is a boys-only house – I realized that bare is a word that should come with “forgiveness required.”

While we can dress up our bareness when we leave the house –  but home and these boys and my husband and I – home is real, where we are all laid bare. It’s where tempers like a teapot give off steam. It’s where comfort is available like blankets folded, waiting to wrap around. It is a place where unexpected humor shows itself. It’s where daily wounds get tended and exacerbated. As a mother, it’s the place where I am more harshly judged than anywhere else.

Home is a bare-it all place where God is the foundation and forgiveness, faith and love frame it, cannot stand without it. When you enter or leave, please take some love and forgiveness with you.

 

Read Full Post »

“I’m gonna punch you,” the teen tells his younger brothers – whether it is their silly songs, their loud talking, or actions designed to provoke. I’m not really worried about the “I’m-gonna-punch-you” threat.

That’s brothers building boundaries, uncomfortably building boundaries (for post on Types of Brotherly Physical Contact, click here) – and, often, code for “I need quiet time”  – brothers communicate holisticly with an arsenal of choices: humor, story telling, warnings, helping, encouraging, praying, directions, messages, and back-off words.

In school, though – in school it’s different.

“I was thisclose to punching someone today,” I’ve heard all of my boys say. The provacation is usually someone disrupting class, someone bullying another classmate, possibly bullying them. The girl in me, that God put there to nurture, to comfort, to hug – it rebels against those words, those actions.

Don’t get me wrong – if someone ever punch my son, I’d want them to defend themselves. Sometimes I think that if the good-guys could defend, there’d be fewer discipline problems in school – but, the good-guys get suspended for defending themselves these days.

When my sons say, “I was thisclose to punching someone,” I realize they have reached the end of their rope, their buttons are being pushed, their boundaries overrun – or, maybe, someone sitting behind them tapped a pencil to a staccato beat during an entire class.

Frustration, though, is really no reason for punching.

We drove, this teen and I, to pick up his brothers. “I was thisclose to punching someone” – and I remembered a youth who wanted to hurt another son ( click here to read: Unoffical Day of Prayer to Stop School Violence), threatened to stab him in the back and kill him. At first, I wanted law-and-order justice – until God whispered what he really needed: someone praying for him.

Looking at the road in front of us, I told this son what I thought was really going on:

“The urge to punch someone is really a call from God to pray the person you want to punch – except that call has been hijacked by the devil.”

He wasn’t buying it . . . but I was.

But if I say it over and over again, he might one day live it and believe it.

56) pinking rotary cutters

57) a mother-in-law who has open-heartedly and with grace helped me cut out the pieces for my very first quilt – helped and taught, handling with dexterity and acceptance the way I learn new things.
58) blue polka dots on white cotton material
59) material with a vintage feel, prints mixing yellow, pinks, and blues
60) courage that pushed me from the safety of ignorance into the midst of a color challenge to finally make my blue cotton quilt

61) I’ve read all the Jane Austen Books, the Bronte sisters books, seen all the I Love Lucy’s – but the realization I haven’t read, seen or done all – starting my quilt showed me that – and seeing the movie the movie “Love Letters” with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton, and holding grandbaby girl.
62) Walking up 3 concrete steps, walking toward restoration, choosing to leave behind a broken moment, refusing to let that brokenness break anything more than a moment.
63) the dinner blessing that included, “and bless the hands that prepared our dinner.”
64) My oldest son giving father words to his new daughter, kissing her before handing her over to his wife.
65) A little crease in baby girl’s cheek, between her nose and mouth
66) My husband, holding baby girl for the first time,
67) telling his son a story filled with laughter – baby girl furrowing her brow at the new sound before falling asleep in this new Papaw’s arms, her Papaw.

68) a grocery store green pepper and summertime canned tomatoes in soup.
69) a blue ottoman beside a son’s bed that allows me to lean comfortably and listen during bedtime conversation.
70) “Did you count your freckles today? Did you come home with 10 toes? What’s it like without the bully in the bathroom” –serious and silly questions to fill my question-quota my son demands at bedtime.
71) not having the boys rack up squats on the way to church on Sunday
72) a phone call about a job interview on Friday- Yeah!
73) my soldier son calling me in mistake: “Sorry, mom – I didn’t mean to call” he said. “Never tell your mom you didn’t mean to call – just say, “Love you , Mom,” I laughed. “Love you, mom,” he said.
74) sitting, knitting with a group of women at Sweet Sallie’s Bakery and coffee shop, with a sugar-free caramel macchioato, sharing a morning, knitting words and making friends.
75) going places, like the World Foods shop, ordering 2 Rueben sandwiches and a lb of pancetta, the owner, friends with my DIL’s family, asking about sweet baby girl and  saying nice words about my son who had come in earlier to pick up lunch for he and his sweet wife. Community roots digging deep – relationships grow from knowing, knowing, and knowing, loving like the Father loves.
76) the wind, though it tormented me tonight, wouldn’t let me cook my steaks on the grill, rib-eye steaks that I’d been saving for a celebration moment, when life’s ordinary sweetness was the celebration – and I turned to the wind and said, “God, can you turn it off for 5 minutes. It’s blowing out my grill.” In retrospect,  I sounded like one of my sons tattling on another son. The wind, it kept blowing – and the steaks, they kept not cooking. Stove-top steaks don’t do rib-eye steaks justice – but God has been wanting me to learn to jump tracks lately, to soften for His changes without breaking – and the wind, well, it tossled my hair, blew out the burners like a Crosby and Hope absurd scene, and I chose joy instead of pouting because I did not get my way. Plans blown amuck is how it could have ended. My plans were for blessing – so I focused on blessing instead of grilled steaks.
77) clouds that fall from the sky, cocooning my home – and me. Driving home from school, up the hill into the mists,  like the world is left behind and it is just us, a cottage in the clouds.
78) My little guy helping me carry the tall Kitchen Christmas Tree to the basement where we discovered it fit perfectly between the rafters so we wouldn’t have to hang it horizontally from the ceiling.
79) My little guy coming up behind me, as I’m typing this, sitting on the couch. He wraps his arms around my neck, saying, “Hug” – and I stop and savor!

Read Full Post »

As we drove through town, just the two of us, me and my third son, a junior, we talked – about new friends and old friends. The early morning coolness blew though the windows, my hair tickling my cheeks. Sans little brothers, the quiet was perfect soil to grow meaningful words. Those words grew without coaxing – one of those true moments.

“They called me Jesus,” he said, this son who has a joy-of-the-Lord spirit, talking about his friends from where we lived the last 2 years. “‘Cause I always wore sandals.”

And because he believed when they didn’t.

My older boys love sandals – even in the cold months. Chacos are their favorite, usually hand-me-down Chacos from the oldest son, Old Navy flip-flops will do in a pinch.

“Most of them were atheists. One was a Jew. I still pray for them. I pray they’ll be saved.”

Despite their unbelief – He told them about that belief anyway, in words and actions, in their presence and in prayer.

We talked a little more, our talk winding around. I’m not sure where these next words came out of in that conversation, where I was listening more than talking.

“Yeah. I fell away for a time,” and as that sunk into my heart, he said, “But I came back.”

He saw I wanted to say something, and he interrupted, “I came back, mom. We don’t need to talk about it.”

Both he and his brother fell away for a time, after Papaw died. After our minister stood Hospice Compassion Care room and prayed for a miracle, a miracle for this man who was dying with cancer, who had played tennis just 2 months ago, this man adored by 12 grandsons.

I just wanted to reach over, grab his neck and hug the stuffing out of my son. If I tried, he’d just say, “10 and 2, Mom. 10 and 2,” reminders to keep my hands on the steering wheel. He’s always reminding me ’cause I’m either talking with my hands or trying to tickle a rib in the passenger seat.

That falling away – I remember fearing when I was little falling away. How can you be 8 or 10 or 16 or 25 – and think, “Is there enough good stuff in me to be faithful to God for a life-time?” Remember how forever it took just to get to Christmas each year?

At 19, I battled faithfulness. I had prayed for someone since I was a little girl, that God would lift her out of her struggles. I had a tantrum and ignored God for awhile. But He kept whispering to me, gently calling me – and one day I heard, “I placed the opportunities. It was up to her to use them.” I saw the truth, and turned back, wondering if I could be as faithful to God as He was to me. If I could live a lifetime of faithfulness.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Let me be long-lived, Oh Lord, like the palm tree and the cedar in Lebanon. And like the Cedar, let me grow to my full potential, and like a cedar chest, let me keep away things that would eat at what is within me, keeping me whole and full, full of things of You.

They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
Let my faith roots be deeply buried in your house, Oh Lord. Let me bear hardships in faith, brave challenges without letting go, believe in the evidence of things not seen. Let me not just endure but thrive, grow, riotously blossom, reseed, and grow in your courts.

They still bear fruit in old age
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
Let me show my children how to grow old, loving you Lord. Let my faith stories declare your faithfulness, your enduring love, your mighty strength. Let your Holy Spirit pull up into me, like water pulls up in a tree, replenishing the sap of my faith – and, at the right time, the healthy time, let it spill from inside out, these stories telling of your faithfullness, your love.

he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:12-15).
You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. You are not a God who abuses, not a power-hungry God who wants us to dance for your amusement like a marionette on a string, but a noble, worthy God who loves unconditionally, who is better than I can imagine, who wants us to love you because we want to. I might shake. I might fall in a heap at your feet. But you do not. And when all the pieces of me crumble on You my rock, you breathe life back into me like you did to the dry bones in the valley(Ezekial 37) – and I will stand again, strong, tall, enduring, like the Cedars of Lebanon.

If the LORD had not been my help,
   my soul would soon have lived in the land of  silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
   your steadfast love, O LORD,  held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
   your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:17-19)

Thank you, Father. You knew I would struggle. You knew it would take me a long time to understand that your kind of Faith is indeed a lifetime faith, an enduring faith. Thank you for not only catching me when I fall, but thank you for catching my sons when they fall. Thank you for being more enduring, more faithful, more understanding than we are. Thank you for replenishing my spirit, my faith, me with YOU. Thank you for moments in the car with my son when I see an enduring faith growing in him, a heart to call your children who don’t know they can be your children to you, who knew you enough to walk back to you when his heart hurt and he didn’t understand. The more I walk this life with you Father, the more I understand love and the more I love you real, Father. Thank you for giving me time to grow your kind of love inside me!

Read Full Post »

There is a race within each of my sons – I call it The Four Horses of  Maturity participating in the Race of Life – more specifically, the most important race of an individual’s life. The Four Horses of  Maturity are named Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual.

When the gates open, Physical Maturity bolts, a thrilling surge for the lead, over-powering muscle, yet without caution, without strategy to pace, without limit recognition.

After an anxious route to the starting gate, Emotional Maturity gains, passing a spent Physical Maturity, nipping it on the flank as it moves to pass. Emotions raging, uncontrolled, Emotional Maturity behaves erratically.  Emotional Maturity explodes forward without reason. Hard to handle, easily spooked, seemingly confused about being ahead, possibly thinking the race won, unsure of what to do. . . .

Until Intellectual Maturity edges up, having executed a fairly smooth trip to move into the lead. Reason reigns, using logic and reason to keep Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity in check, not allowing them a chance to gain. Intellectual Maturity blocks the advancement of Spiritual Maturity.

Down the stretch they come, Emotional Maturity and Physical Maturity trying to regain, bumping Intellectual maturity in the turn. But Spiritual Maturity, after swerving out a bit toward the first turn, continues along the outside, rallies when sharply roused on the second turn to make a way between Physical and Emotional Maturity. Physical Maturity suddenly lost momentum.

Intellectual Maturity continues along the inside in a brilliant move to take over the lead on the stretch turn, rallies gamely and gives way grudgingly as Spiritual Maturity finds a way, pulling from within amazing feats to find an opening on the inside, slips past, making a stirring dash to the finish line, winning with confidence.

Read Full Post »