Yes, we know that the calendar said it was New Year’s Day, but we decided that the calendar wasn’t the boss of us. For when it’s your first chance to get all those kids together in the midst of their adventure-filled days, then you take it. You’ll open stockings because everyone knows they’re the bestest gifts anyway. And you’ll find yourself sinking deep into the respite of this season of together.
You may even find yourself enjoying a little pizza that your hubby decided to whip up for everyone. Because Christmas stockings and pizza Read More
The Christmas season is undoubtedly my absolute favorite of the year, with Thanksgiving coming in at a close second. It’s filled with traditions, vacations from the routine, the giving of gifts and time with family and friends – what’s not to love about it? And yet, this year has been a bit different in our home. Not in a bad way, but in one that calls for its own share of heart adjusting. One that demands living out these Christmas moments present in each and every way possible.
Our family’s routine typically includes being with my family or Steve’s family, seeing both is an impossibility as they’re separated by Read More
Some days it just dawns on you. Whether it’s the beginning of a full collection of hours and days, or perhaps the wrapping up of the same. Whichever side of the bounty, we’re graced with a moment of decision. It’s the choice that must be made when you’re the only one who can sign the permission slip.
October is known for all sorts of things. The most obvious being the beginning of all things pumpkin season. Unfortunately, October can also usher in a whole new slew of allergens, and according to some experts, it’s officially the beginning of cold and flu season. This little tidbit calls for stocking your under the weather survival kit.
We’re not talking about medicines and chicken soup here, more like books and ways to occupy our hands and distract our minds a bit. We can only watch so many movies and reruns after all! Here are a few of the items in my under the weather survival kit …
“Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!” For some reason this quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy has been popping into my mind a lot lately. Actually, it’s more like “Onward & Upward the learning of Sabbath”
As God is doing His work in my heart teaching me to Sabbath, He’s slowly peeling back the layers and stirring a new thing deep in my soul. There’s an awakening of sorts to the vital importance of Sabbath and soul keeping and relationship. And somewhere in the midst of it is the realization that this continuing Onward in the journey necessarily walks hand-in-hand with the moving Upward.
We were chatting and lingering a bit at our favorite local bakery. She had just passed her driver’s license test. First time. Last child. Big rite of passage in the life of a teen. And a Mama.
They strolled in on what appeared to be a date. To be fair, she did more bouncing than strolling. Her little flaxen curls bobbing up and down with each step.
She had chosen a donut. Good choice. Covered in sprinkles. More like smothered in sprinkles. She plopped down in a chair looking up at her daddy like he was the greatest of all the great Superheros. He had after all just bought her the most regal of breakfast fare.
He slid her new sprinkled treasure right in front of her. All else disappeared.
I’ve been praying for a few friends and dear boy mamas this week who are struggling as they send their little guys off to school. And as I crawled into bed a few days ago, a picture of my boy on top of a mountain popped up on my phone. Along with it came a flood of thoughts about my own little ones, most of whom are girls and all of whom are now taller than me.
And then a picture of a friend’s little guy looking so small and forlorn reminded me of my own who had a habit of hiding behind my leg when someone spoke to him. And now? Well, now that timidity is unrecognizable, partly because of my hubby’s encouragement to let our boy be a boy and grow into who he was wired to be.
Now let me just say here, there are so very many times I’ve messed it up, this Mama thing. My boy and I have had our share of tough days and hurtful words and we still have plenty of room, and prayers, for our relationship to grow stronger with each passing year. But through it all, I’m so grateful for God’s grace to help us remember the beautiful moments and to cover those that were just plain “less than” in one way or another.
So for all you Mamas of boys struggling in these first few weeks of school and for those who find yourself still waiting for your boy to return home, please know that you are being prayed for and that you are brave. And perhaps find a little encouragement in the flood of thoughts that bombarded my memory on the other side of this grand undertaking of raising boys into men …
Dear Boy Mama
Dear Boy Mama,
Yeah, it’s scary. This releasing them into this big world when we’re never quite sure they’re ready.
They’re sure, sometimes. Other times, not so much.
As hard as it is … we let them go. Their first big day could be heading off to kindergarten, or it could be more like our oldest whose first day of “real school” included car keys and college textbooks.
At some point, they’ll toss the phrase “I was born ready, Mom” or some other cheesy cliche over their shoulder as they head out the door as if to prove their readiness to both themselves and you all in one fell swoop. You might as well know they very well may be trembling inside a bit too, but seeing you believe in them helps them to do the same.
Either way, we let them go and quickly find that when they return they’re full of stories. Some comforting, others not at all and sprinkled throughout there may even be a tear or two. You’ll listen to their stories and wipe the hurt from their eyes as needed. Then they’ll tell of newfound friendships, those also falling into the same categories of comforting, not so comforting and those capable of bringing a fresh flow of tears.
Laced throughout are a few stories about new things they’re learning and suddenly you see a deeper passion ignited in their eyes than had been there before.
Then they grow. And they grow. Typically a good 6 inches in some random summer when we looked away for a mere moment. And suddenly we find ourselves looking up at them in conversation instead of the other way around.
And the shoes and adventures seem to grow one right alongside the other. All the while their voice is deepening and their personality is emerging with greater confidence than ever before. And prayerfully some of those encouraging friendships of days gone by have grown deeper with each passing year.
Before we know it they’re heading off on some grand adventure to do daring things of which we would never approve were we standing there beside them. Nothing illegal or immoral mind you, just daring and bold. Definitely bolder than we feel watching our hearts waltz right out the door to conquer the world, or maybe just their little corner of it.
They’ll send pictures. Maybe not lots and lots of them, they are boys after all, but they’ll send the coolest of their collection. You’ll gasp at how close they are to the edge of safety and, from where you sit, sanity.
Yet you’ll beam because deep down in the very depths of your soul you know they were made for this. They were formed for this scaling of mountains and this swinging from trees.
You’ll hear, more than once mind you, “Love you, Mom!” just before some daring feat or grown-up decision. And you’ll want to look away for a split second just hoping it to all turns out okay. Somehow you know this “Love you, Mom!” is a veiled request for affirmation of some sort because we’re all wired to need such things from those whose opinions matter.
They’ll drag in a good kind of exhausted from the adventure of it all. And you’ll hear more stories. Oh the stories, and more pictures if you’re lucky, but mostly you’ll see the light in their eyes from the sheer excitement of it all.
And you’ll just smile as you listen and soak it all in. Every sight, sound, smell and touch of them and who they’ve become. And then you’ll smile even deeper knowing that this learning to let go is the greatest gift we can give these young men of ours.
The freedom to scale the scary mountains that lie before them. If not for scaling them, how could they ever be ready to move them in the days ahead? And who’s to say it’s not precisely that for which they were created?
It’s our gift to them, this letting them go, season by season. And thankfully it comes bit by bit, for our hearts could never handle this letting go all at once.
And their gift to us? It’s the coming home. It’s a way of saying “Love you, Mom!” for letting them go in the first place. For believing in them enough to unclutch our hands for them to fly. For being the voice in their head cheering them on. For a Mama’s hug, because there’s just nothing quite like it, and perhaps a batch of their favorite cookies too.
So smile deeply, Mama. Yes, your lip may quiver. That’s okay. As you well know, this being brave often happens in the face of fear, not the absence of it. You’re brave enough to give one of the greatest gifts you possess. And those always seem to come with more sacrifice than we believe we have to offer.
For without this letting go for them to soar there would be no glorious homecoming now would there?
To those of you who are new around here, Welcome!! I’m honored that you’ve taken time out of your day to hang out with us and I pray you find some encouragement in this space. You’ll typically find posts three days each week. This week is not typical. It’s been more of a “Just keepin’ it real up in here” week. And since authenticity is highly treasured, let’s get real here …
Here’s a taste of the last week in our world …
… lofty blogging goals and the most well-received post ever here at SoMuchMoore
… followed by 4 migraines in a matter of 7 days
… cooked dinner and sat down to eat dinner together as a family – maybe three times in those days only 1 of which I really prepared
… made the bed – a grand total of twice in those days
… forgot to feed the dog – one or two days, good thing the kids remembered
It’s pretty amazing that I accomplished all of this in just one short week, right? #momgoals #welcometomyworld
One of this life’s underlying themes that I embrace more with each passing year is redemption. Whether it’s a beat up old piece of furniture or unwanted fabric in the form of an unfortunate garment or a rough day that begs for a do-over – we all have more of these than we care to deal with.
The thing about redemption is that all the ick, unwanted and unexpected has to come first. You can’t redeem something that’s already perfect. That doesn’t even make sense, does it?
Just keepin’ it real up in here!
We all seem to be striving for perfect of some sort. And sometimes we have to wonder why. Why do we strive for perfect when the lack of struggle makes it void of depth and lustre? It’s the imperfect, the unplanned, the just plain rough weeks that help us appreciate the mediocre and even amazing ones.
When I was at the Haven Conference a few weeks ago, the phrase “In His time” popped into my head several times. This space here has been prayed over and has come with a good bit of diligence and time. But in the end, it has very little to do with my perfect planning or execution of said plan. It has so much more to do with God’s timing and plan than my own lofty “perfect” ideas.
Every once in awhile, He gives me one of these “just keeping it real up in here” weeks, maybe as a way to help me remember what this is all about in the first place. It affords some space to step back, because there really isn’t another choice, and it affords some time to stop and listen for His plan.
So this week, it seems that’s exactly what the plan is. Waiting and listening. And maybe editing a few pictures from our week in Birmingham this summer, because that doesn’t really require advanced, or even mediocre, thinking skills. And maybe there’ll be another nap or two.
Then tomorrow? Well, tomorrow’s a new day and we get to start over and see what the day holds. Hopefully a family meal and a full dog bowl for the doodle. And maybe a freshly made bed too! Maybe…
So tell me, how do you talk yourself through these “just keepin’ it real up in here” weeks? I for one could use all the advice I can get, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one, right?!
This scene caught my eye the other night as I was driving home.
Rain had poured down much of the afternoon leaving the horse farms bathed in the glow of the setting sun.
Just past this was a section of busted up fence and the once-green tree that had crushed it in a previous squall.
And then there was this scene …
The sunbathed beauty that came in the wake of the storm had left the countryside glowing a bright green and the flowers bursting with blooms and life.
Isaiah 43:18-19 immediately came to mind.
It felt a bit like a rainbow moment. A sort of promise that even in the wake of a terribly strong storm, God can bring tremendous beauty. He can bring such healing and light that it’s almost brilliantly blinding.
I don’t know about you, but there are moments and seasons in the past few years that have felt like the worst of storms in my world.
You may be counted among those facing rising waters in the south or raging fires in the west or your own more private storms and battles.
May you find encouragement in knowing that God’s desire is for redemption. May you find Him doing a new thing right smack in the middle of where a mere moment before you only saw destruction and devastation.
May you see this new thing even today and see His healing more clearly in the light of a new day.
Seven years ago today Dad, Andy, Sarah and I gathered around Mama, hugged on her and prayed before she was wheeled into surgery to repair her heart. She requested that Andy play “Give me Jesus” on his phone and that’s how we spent our last few moments with her.
Jesus did heal her heart that day, not in the way we would have desired, but in a different way. Our hearts hurt desperately, but slowly and surely he’s been healing them with each passing day.
I’m so grateful for how Mama gave me Jesus, in a way I could understand and know Him, as a child, as a young woman as a wife and mother.
I’m even more grateful that this gift He gave me is eternal.