Saturday, August 7, 2010

Acorns & Oaks

Yes, I've been out of the blogosphere for awhile...but it's not because I haven't thought about it! Excuses, excuses, I know...

I've actually found myself heading up the women's ministry team at church and we are in the final stages of launching a blog for our women's ministry - Notice I said we are in the final stages...plan is to launch next week, but you know how plans go...check it out when you get a chance - God really stirred our hearts and gave us a vision for a place where the women of the Church can be real, not cookie-cutter. Where it is ok to be in process instead of having it all together. Where we can go beyond just being a "polite" church body into being an authentic church body.

So on to my sweet A&W moment. Yesterday, I was home from work (summer schedule has me off every Friday, woo hoo!)...had big plans to paint A's room...we are in the middle of a room re-do for her 9th birthday later this month. BUT, decided I needed a nap before I tackled that project.

The kids and I had visited the library a few weeks ago and picked up a few books that have just I picked one up and said "Let's read this one together..." So they climbed up into my bed and away we read. It's a Max Lucado children's book - "The Oak Inside the Acorn". I had never seen it before so thought we'd check it out. Little did I know it would turn out to be a very unforgettable moment...

So the book is all about this acorn who, as he grows, has to leave his momma oak tree and go out on his own and become this giant oak, and he does and he holds swings and tree houses and all this good stuff...great story. So sweet...but when we finished reading the story, I looked at my kids. W is crying, silent tears running down his face, his giant gorgeous eyes all red. I'm serious, folks. These are real, my heart hurts tears....

"W! What's wrong?", I asked.

"Momma, that story is so sad!!! It made me cry."

"What part made you cry, baby?"

"The baby acorn had to leave his momma!!! That is so scary!"

In the book, the momma oak tree tells baby acorn over and over again "There is a giant oak inside of you. Just be the tree God made you to be." So I tell W - yes, he had to leave his momma, but that's what God made him to do, to become the giant tree he was supposed to...this was not helping W's hurting heart at all...

He says "I don't want to ever leave you, momma."

"W, you will have to someday in order to become the great man of God that I know God has created you to be...but it's not today. It's not next week. You have a long time until you have to leave..."

A is listening intently to all of this, very concerned about her little brother...hugging him, loving on him. So I seize the opportunity to lighten the mood...

"Besides, A will have to leave before you do...and that means we'll have 2 whole years just us while she's out becoming the tree she is supposed to be!"

That got a smile...what he didn't know is he had totally made my heart smile.

Man, how I love that boy...the boy who will one day be a man who will have to leave me because there is a giant oak inside of him and he needs to become the tree God made him to be.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And here we go....

I've been mentally preparing myself to have "the talk" with A for several months now....ok, a year. Ever since we were driving down the road talking about winter turning to spring and what our favorite things about that are and A says "it's when the grass turns green, the flowers start coming out, and all the animals start breeding..." A is quite the little science geek and she sees things through that science-filter most of the time....

So, I've researched, talked to people, and read books. Talked to Dear Hubby to get our game plan... tried to psyche myself up, tried to figure out how much to share and how much can wait...I've prayed. Yes. I've prayed. Ok, God...don't let me sound like an idiot, ok? Don't let me scar her for life! And could you just send me a nice little sign when the time is right? That would be nice... My mom never attempted to give me "the talk" until I was 22 years old and engaged to be married. I have nothing to go by here, people. Don't make fun of my need to be overly prepared.

Then, a few weeks ago, AGAIN driving in the car to take W to taekwondo, A&W start talking about babies...and ask me to tell them again how A used to get the hiccups all the time when she was in my tummy and how W used to stick his booty out or kick me in the ribs. Good times, good times...they love hearing stories about themselves in-utero.

A's thought process got to rolling and she stops for a second and says "Mom - how DOES the baby get in there?"

Me: "Well, A...."

A interrupts: "I know God does it, Mom...I mean, HOW does he do it?" Dang...she shot me down before I even had a chance to use the God card.

Did I tell her? No...I didn't think it was appropriate in front of my 6 year old son (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) I used a stall tactic...she persisted for a few minutes but eventually got distracted and forgot.

Was that my moment? God, you forgot the sign to give me time to warm up! What if I pull a muscle or something? Besides, I wanted to cover some general girlie information about her reproductive system first! Lay the know. Dang... did I mess up?

This weekend, I got to lay some started out as a discussion about B.O. and deodorant...then we progressed to other changes as you get older - bras, mostly (she told me there were 3 girls in her class who wore bras - this is 3rd grade, people!) - and then a whole explanation of ovaries and fallopian tubes and uterus. We ended up talking about periods and even took a kotex pad apart to see how it works.

A never got weirded out or wide-eyed on me...she took it like a true little scientist. She asked good questions, she asked me when will it happen to her....But she never asked me what it takes for an egg to become a baby. And I didn't volunteer.

I'm holding out for summer....I don't want to deal with parents calling me because my daughter is the one who told the whole class about the birds & the bees.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes girls try WAY too hard....

It's been awhile since I posted any W-isms. Man, I don't know why because that kid gives me more material than I could ever use. He finds a way every single day to make me laugh.

Here's one from earlier this week, however, which makes me wonder whether I should think it is hilarious or whether I need to have a talk with some mommas....

I pick A&W up from SOON as he gets in the car, W says:

"Momma, I think there's a girl who likes me at school...actually, I think there may be TWO girls who like me...."

Here I am, just smiling away, thinking to myself - awww...of course they do! You are handsome, awesome, and amazing!

But, ever curious as to how his little mind works, I ask:
"What makes you think that, W?"

W says "Well, Annie tells me I'm cute all day long and follows me around..."

Ok, I think - sounds pretty obvious that she likes him. "What about the other one?"

"Katie? Oh, this one is the one I'm not sure about....she plays with my hair. Does that mean she likes me, Momma?"

WHOA!!! Hold up! Playing with his hair? Ummm, that's a little forward, isn't it? What do these mommas teach them? I actually almost lost it...I had to hold in my laugh. And W kept talking.

"And at lunch today, I sat down at my table...and then Katie came and sat on one side of me and Annie sat on the other side and made a W year, Annie is moving to another school, so she should be off my back. Now all I have to do is get rid of Katie."

Well, guess we are going to talk about the fine art of flirting WAY earlier than I ever anticipated. W just shouldn't be so darn adorable, I guess. :)

*Note: Names were changed to protect the identity of the little harlots..oops, I mean flirt-meisters.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A little light reading...

"A" wrote these poems back in the fall...I've kept them on my desk at work because they make me smile every time I think about them...tried to scan them in but having issues...I'll come back and add the meantime, I've typed them out for your reading pleasure:

to mom and dad
I huddle underneath you
in the fall. I sway high
above you in the spring.
I turn greener in the
summer. In the winter
I'm covered by snow.

*This one is pretty deep to a commentary on her life. When she's young, she huddles under her parents, then comes a time in life when she sways high above us (bratty teenager perhaps?), then she becomes more productive (greener) and then is covered by snow in her old age. :)

to: dad
I sit on the
ground all
day and night
with nothing to do
but watch life
pass by.

* All I could do is laugh when I read this and make fun of Dear Hubby

to: mom
I sway in the wind and
grow tall and thin
also give homes to many

* And then I read mine...what the heck? I like the growing tall and thin part, but not sure what to make of swaying in the wind or giving home to many insects. Is she making a commentary on my housekeeping habits? :) Now I've changed my mind - no deep metaphorical meaning - they are just about rocks and grass. Period. I hope.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tough Lesson on Light

As my fam is getting ready for our annual LighttheNight festivities this weekend, I was thinking back through the year about times when I have been so proud of A&W for being that Light...for bringing Jesus into their everyday lives and interactions with people...

One of W's was very recent. At my regular parent-teacher conference, his teacher tells me that she recently witnessed a whole little theological discussion between my W and two of his classmates that he sits between. One of his classmates is a little girl from Russia and one is a little boy from a family with Muslim background. I kind of knew something was up because W had told me one day that the little girl sitting next to him didn't believe God made us. Anyway, his teacher reported to me that she was waiting for them to ask her a question because she cannot initiate any sort of religious conversation but if they ask her, then she can talk about it with them. However, they never asked her a question. The three of them just talked about God and about Jesus and about their beliefs...and W knew what he believed and explained it to them very well. Way to go, son!


When I thought about A and the notion of "light" - a different aspect of "light" came to mind. One where she learned a tough lesson and I almost had a nervous breakdown. A went to church camp for the first time this summer - it was a Friday through Sunday camp - with other kids from church and our children's minister, Ms. Lesa. She had such an amazing time and came home very excited and on fire for Jesus...but as the days and weeks went by, I started noticing she was not sleeping well, she had dark circles under her eyes, she was really snippy and overly emotional and getting into way more trouble than usual. I knew something was brewing beneath the surface. I started worrying about her health - wondering if a dr.'s appointment was in order.

Well, one day, I ask her about what's going on with her...her eyes get as big as saucers and she freaks out. I try to talk to her, to tell her that it's ok, that there is nothing she can't tell me and that I want to help her. She vehemently shakes her head and seals her lips. I ask questions - are you feeling ok? Does your head hurt? Did someone hurt your feelings? She starts to cry. She pulls me close and tells me she can't say it in front of anyone else.

At this point, my mom-o-meter is going wild and I'm quite concerned. We go into my room, close the door, and get in my bed and snuggle up. She's visibly upset and struggling, I can see her chest about to explode...she's almost hyperventilating. I'm praying to myself because I was more than just a little freaked out. I could SEE and SENSE a battle going on inside of her. At this point, God gives me enough discernment to realize that it's spiritual, not physical. She cannot bring herself to talk at all, so I start asking questions again.

"A, did something happen to you?" She shakes her head no.
"A, did someone hurt you?" She shakes her head no again. I'm confused.
"Well, A, what's going on, sweet girl? There's not anything you can't tell me. Nothing is going to change how I love you, you know that, right?" She looks at me sideways because she can't bring herself to make full eye contact, with tears in her eyes.
"Mom, I did something bad." Okay..... So guilt is the culprit. Whew. Got it.
"A, did you hurt someone?" She shakes her head yes.
"When did this happen?" She tells me "at church camp..."

At that point, I was slightly relieved. I mean, how bad could it be at church camp? I hadn't heard any reports about it from our children's minister. Then I remembered church camp when I was growing up...dang. It might be bad.

She continues to visibly struggle with talking to me...but I finally get out of her that she took a picture of something she shouldn't have. We had sent her a disposable camera to capture some memories of church camp...but hadn't gotten around to downloading them yet. Now I was slightly worried. Did she take a picture of someone taking a shower or something? My imagination starts running wild.

Finally, it spills out of her...and when it did, it was just like she was throwing up. It just came spewing out and it hurt...but afterwards, she started feeling much better.

She took a picture of Ms. Lesa's fully-clothed behind when she bent over to pick something up.... Ms. Lesa never knew it....And it's been eating her up ever since.

While I had to REALLY struggle to keep it together and not laugh, I grabbed at the chance to make it a teachable we talked about how sin can just eat us up inside when we try to hide it, we are keeping it in the dark and it grows bigger and uglier and starts to rot, but when we confess it and bring it out into the light, God can begin to heal it and he can put people in our life who can love us through it and it doesn't look as scary in the light. And God will use what we've been through to mold us and shape us and bring us closer to him - to give us a story of healing to help others when they are hurting. And we talked about maybe needing to confess to Ms. Lesa and ask forgiveness, too.

And after her big confession, I went into the next room with Dear Hubby (after getting A's permission to share her story with her daddy) and laughed so hard that I cried as I tried to explain it to him...

As I reflect back on A's experience with "light" this past year, though, I'm reminded not only of God's sense of humor but also of God's goodness - that He gave me an opportunity to share in this with my daughter...because since that time, A has brought it up several times and tells me again and again how God's light can wash away our sins and makes us feel brand new...and how hiding secrets in the dark can hurt us...and she always ends it with "And I know, Momma, because, I've felt it...remember? You know....don't make me say it."

And A has given me permission to share her "story" so that others can see how a little "light" can go a long ways...

Monday, October 26, 2009


As my daughter, A, gets older, I find myself asking myself some tough "SELF - are you doing your very best to create a relationship with your daughter where she feels the freedom to grow into who God made her to be?" or "SELF: are you creating an environment where she feels like she has to measure up to some impossible standard that her mother has created?"

See, I have this "thing"...I set extremely high standards for myself - generally too high. If I can't do something perfect, I'd just rather not even try. When I was in college, going through my phase of figuring out everything wrong about my childhood and how my parents had screwed me up, I wanted to attribute that to my mother...I wanted to somehow blame her for making me feel like I had to be perfect. It wasn't until I had a daughter myself that I had to re-think my thought process.

See, I do believe that parents make mistakes...and that all parents will screw up their kids in one way or another, no matter how hard we may try to do things perfectly (we just need to try to mitigate the damages as much as possible, folks!)...but as I attempt to parent a daughter in a time when it's just flat-out scary to be raising an almost "tween", I can see what a very thin line it is between teaching your daughter about responsibility and about creating this atmosphere of perfectionism. I'd say my mom & dad did a pretty good job on the responsibility side of that...but I struggle with perfectionism.

As of late, I've been hyping myself up to start opening up doors of communication with her NOW (at age 8) about boys and relationships and yes, sex. I've been looking for opportunities to set the stage for later. Been doing my research, reading some great books on the subject..but one general theme has been that you teach your kids responsibility and respect from a VERY young age so that when they enter their tween and teen years, their attitude about their bodies and about sex INCLUDES this idea of responsibility and respect.

As I read this, I thought "YES!!!! We are doing something right!" I have been obsessed with teaching my kids about responsibility since they were old enough to walk...picking up after themselves, clearing their place at the table, loading their own dishes into the dishwasher, helping with supper, putting things in their proper places, having their assigned chores, doing homework before they go out to play. Oh, believe me, we fail on a daily basis in some form or fashion, but we talk about it and we try. The one place I have yet to get it thru their heads that "I'm not a maid, I'm a mom" is in their bathroom, but I digress....

Are we doing something right or are we contributing to issues with perfectionism?

On a typical day, I find myself getting on to A alot more than I would like - to come pick up her shoes she left right smack in the middle of the kitchen floor, to pick up her homework folder and put it in her backpack, to come either finish or clean up some random art project she started and then left out on the table, to bring me back my hairbrush that she borrowed, to put things away rather than just shoving them all under her bed...I have written before how A has this little GT kid personality that is SO outside of the box, and I know it. I know it's part of who she is - that when she is done thinking about something, she moves's almost like she's scatterbrained, but she's not. Hard to explain.

My struggle is where is the line between teaching her responsibility and creating an environment where she thinks she has to be perfect? At what point am I putting up walls between us that's going to come back to bite me later? Am I making her feel like she's less than perfect? I'm sure I am...but is that a good thing or a bad thing? (I mean, "nobody's perfect" is good to know, right? Hannah Montana says so.) I want her to know that I'm the person who will ALWAYS be there for her, that will always be in her corner. I want her to feel comfortable talking to me when she makes mistakes, and yet, at the same time, I'm the person who is having to POINT OUT her mistakes right now, which does not go very far in making her want to TELL me when she messes up. Get my point?

And to top it all off, W is generally a very responsible 6 year old. He's the kid who always puts his shoes right by the front door so he can find them when he needs them. I don't have to get on to him as much as I do A because he just naturally likes order. He puts his homework folder back in his backpack as soon as he is done. I'm not saying he's perfect - he's not. But in any given day, I'd say I have to address these kinds of issues with A at least five times more than I do with W. Wouldn't it be unfair to expect W to do some things and NOT expect the same from A? And how does the whole idea of A being a girl and the self-esteem issues girls deal with play into all of this?

I am so not ready for a 'tween.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Here it is not even Halloween yet and I'm stressing about Christmas. I made the mistake of writing down all of the presents I have to buy (with good intentions of getting a head start on my Christmas shopping and looking for bargains!) and, while I was at it, I decided to see how much money this was going to set me back so I'd have an idea of how much I'd need to save each month towards this goal.

Big mistake, HUGE. (can anyone name that movie? Come on, CB..we only watched it like a thousand times in college)

Now I'm officially stressing.

Here's the deal - there are some gifts I LOVE to give. I mean, I spend alot of time thinking it through and picking just the right ones and then I just get giddy over watching them open them. Then there are those gifts I just feel obligated to buy because "it's what we've always done" and it's tradition and if I didn't buy those gifts, then the message I'm sending is I don't care about that particular person. Not true, but that's what is perceived. So, year in and year out, I give out of guilt.

Yesterday, I was helping my elementary Sunday school class with their memory verse from last week so they could pick a prize from the prize bucket. The memory verse was 2 Corinthians 9:7

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (NIV)

As my little 1st and 2nd graders are trying to pronounce "reluctantly" - it came out more sounding like re-luck-ant-bee - I stopped and asked if anyone knew what "not reluctantly or under compulsion" takers. So I tried putting it in the language a 6 or 7 year old would here's what came out of my mouth:

"Reluctantly is like you are saying "awww...I guess I'll give if I have to..I don't really want to, but I guess I'll do it anyways." (complete with whiny voice and slouching shoulders)

"Compulsion is like someone holds a gun at you and tells you that you have to give - so you do it but you do it because someone else makes you, not because you want to."

My Sunday school kids nodded their heads and gave a cheer for giving with a cheerful heart...and then we moved on to this week's lesson...

But I have been thinking non-stop about what I was supposed to be teaching them since yesterday. And then I did the whole Christmas list thing...and now I find myself again face to face with one of the demons I fight in my life constantly - GUILT. Guilt has been the topic God has been throwing at me for the last 6 months or so....and here it raises its ugly head yet again. Am I giving gifts out of guilt? Am I doing it reluctantly or under compulsion by some perceived notion in my head or from society? The thing is, I dearly love all of the people on my Christmas list (if you happen to be on it and reading this, that's the truth!!!) but I have been giving gifts out of guilt. I want to be free from guilt. Believe me, it affects me in every area of my life, not just Christmas lists.

I don't want Christmas to be that time of year when I turn into "Scrooge" because I resent the cost or the time it takes to give.

I want to give with great gusto and with a cheer rising out of my heart.

I want to be free from Christmas guilt and all guilt forever.

And I want my kids to really get what Christmas is about.

So - anyone with ideas, the floor is now open. Do I ask God for an attitude adjustment and to show me how to give with a cheerful heart? Do I make some major changes to my holiday shopping list? I need to find the right balance for me and my family while still navigating the treacherous waters of extended family traditions - the last thing I want to do is hurt someone's feelings.