Thursday, September 30, 2010

Her Gift

Her bus stop is at the end of the street. So, I stand on my porch and watch until she boards. Her sister leaves the house before the sun rises, so this daughter stands alone at the corner. I watch her every morning. I hold this feeling within me that if I keep my eye on her, without wavering, she will remain safe.

She insists on arriving at the corner far too early. She likes to stand there and wait. I plead for her to stay inside and wait, but her energy can not be contained. She skips to the bus stop.

She has discovered these light, delicate flowers that grow amongst the weeds at the corner. She gathers them and brings them to me. Every morning. She brings a few at a time, always running or skipping along the way.

I hold them in my hand. She returns again and again until she is satisfied with her gift. I know that these flowers will wilt within the hour, so I hold them gently, treasuring what she gives me.

Each child arrives in our lives bearing different gifts. Some are challenging, some are thrilling, and others are hard to see. As a mother, I try with all my soul to see the gifts they offer. Some days I can't seem to look beyond all the challenging stuff, and their gifts go unnoticed.

But then there are the moments where she brings her gift directly to me. She skips down the street and lays it in my hand. No effort required. I only have to accept the beauty she brings.

So, every morning I stand at the ready. I watch her gather her gift. I watch her run toward me. I watch, and watch and watch. The gift she gives is mine forever.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Seed

Family scripture reading is a somewhat painful event. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the whole episode feels like I'm swimming in tar and I have to pull the kids along behind me. Good times.

But then there is the remaining one percent. In those slivers of time, something good happens. The moments are rare, but they're golden when they happen.

A few nights ago, we (which is a very loose term) were reading in Alma:
"...Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in you heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed....behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say..."
At this point, I looked up to find Sam staring at me with bright eyes and a large smile. She simply stated, "I gotta get me one of those seeds. It makes your boobs grow."

Spiritual moment? Apparently it was for Sam. Todd and I laughed so hard we almost peed. I told her that if I ever find one of those seeds, I'm keeping it for myself.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Soap Box Has Me Thinking

I exploded this week. On my kids. It happens every couple weeks. This was a pinnacle in my patience and I cracked. Severely.

I've reached the point where I can't stand to ask them to do something four and five times. They don't even listen to me speak the first 3 requests. Then I scream, and they question why I am always yelling at them. Go figure.

Tuesday morning, before school, I exploded. Bad. I forcefully explained that I am the mom and this house is not a democracy. In all uncertain terms, they must listen and obey. I admit that I also took away a large amount of privileges. After I made my point, I simply stopped talking, and they were rather thrilled.

Since that moment of impact, I've tried to point out every unheard request. I stop and show them how many times I've asked them to Do. Something! They just stare at me with big eyes, like I'm an idiot (Which I am not. At least, I don't currently think I am.)

My 'Listen and Obey' soapbox has led my thoughts elsewhere. Me and my relationship with the Lord. He often asks me to 'listen and obey'. Sometimes I do. Other times I don't. And in between all those times, I do as He asks, but I whine and complain the whole way through. So, how much does that count in the obedience category?

Why can't I always bear His principle with patience, and Listen and Obey? The reasons are endless. I don't want to, it's hard, I'm sick of trying, or the all too common, I'm worn out. I feel like I've turned the tables on myself. I am now the one who stares with big, silent eyes full of questions. My desire is there. That fact never changes. It's my mind that makes me waver.

For the last couple of days, my soul seems to point out to me all those moments where He asks. Once, twice, and again. His requests feel more prominent now, they hold a brighter outline than all the other daily requests that run through my mind. I think I shall try to hold them there. To give them the weight they deserve. And hopefully, with a little patience, I can step down off my soapbox.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Those toes are so yummy. Right? I could just eat 'em.

At what age does tip-toe go out of style? Toddlers are so cute when they stand up high to reach. Why don't adults look adorable doing the same thing? It makes me wonder.

Watching my sister's twins makes me wonder about a lot of things. The most prominent of which, when did 'wondering' cease to exist in my mind? I suppose I'm still curious about a few things. Like, why do my girls pretend they don't hear me when I speak? That's about the depth of my wondering.

Toddler's minds take them everywhere. They reach to grasp at everything around them. My mind seems stuck on the ordinary. The everyday. Especially those parts that are irritating, or make me feel like a failure.

So, for today, we should all tip-toe. Take time to Reach. And Wonder. Who knows where it will lead....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Long And Short Of It

The day has unfolded to be something of a catastrophic tumbling of events. One thing has led to so many others, that I am now left unable to write full sentences. In broken fragments:

Out the door by 8:45 am. Lots. To. Do.

Shop at Walmart. Car won't start. Same car that got a new battery LAST WEEK.

Ask my sister to come jump start my car.

I don't want anyone to park next to me, so I stand there. In the parking lot. It's hot. It's humid. Once I realize I'm sweating inside my bra, I lose all sense of normal thought.

Car jumped, still won't start. Call a tow truck and wait FOR AN HOUR!

The fun keeps growing. Amidst our looks of desperation, a darling older man stops to help us. He tells us all about the 4 raccoons he just caught in his yard.

Tow truck man deposits van at the mechanic.

Then, the most horrific event of the day occurs-- I miss my haircut appointment. I know, I know. It's too sad to even write.

Mr. Mechanic calls to tell me I have to take my van to the Honda dealer. Soon.

The girls trickle home off the bus. We ALL load into my sister's car (2 adults, 5 kids).

We escort my van to the dealer. In. rush. hour. traffic.

With. Starving. Fighting. Kids.

Now I'm home. I reflect on the awesomeness of the day. And a tear squeezes out of my right eye. Am I laughing or crying? I think both.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Group Project

Why do school projects always become a parent-focused activity? Maybe teachers just want parents to spend more time with their children. Because working on projects, the night before they are due, always brings out the love.

Last night, Sam, I mean Todd, had to build a race car powered by a balloon. Here's the kicker- she couldn't use any normal race car parts. Everything had to be common items, preferably those that can be recycled.

When Sam first explained the project to me, she reached the word 'build', and my mind immediately shut off. I looked at her with by big, blue eyes and said my favorite mom words, "talk to your dad". She did. He built, she helped. Or maybe she built, he helped. I just stayed on the side lines looking pretty and offering words of encouragement.

She took her homemade race car to school today. If she wins, I'm totally taking credit.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cheese On A Sunday

A momentary calm in the chaos called Sunday.
"Say cheese."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wipe Away

I'm a glass half-empty kind of person. Well, actually, I'm probably more of a glass a third empty-with a slow leek, kind of person. But, whenever I'm with this girl, my glass feels completely full. Riley just makes me happy. It's just the effect she has on people.

The other day, I uncovered a secret. This girl likes her some baby wipes. Somehow, I had accidentally put her on the floor next to an open package. Once she discovered that she could pull them out, she was mesmerized. And because I'm the aunt, I let her do whatever she wants.

This was a full package when she started. I let her pull ALL of them out. By the time my sister showed up, she thought that Riley was sitting in a huge pile of kleenex. I waited for an hour before I told her she would need to buy more wipes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Simile

Setting: Last night. The car-fixer store. The waiting room.

Characters: Me and the 2 youngest. They're the ones who have no earthly idea how to get their homework done without my constant vigilance. For the love of all that's holy, this time of day is so painful, even my teeth hurt.

Plot: We wait for a new car battery to be installed. We use the time to do the 2nd graders homework, and to study for the 6th graders Literary Elements test.

Conflict: The 2nd grader has no concept of handwriting. I make her erase her work 3 different times and write it over. By the third attempt, she is writhing on the floor and moaning that her "teacher taught her to write her 'a' to look like a 'u'!" In between these outbursts, I review the literary elements with the 6th grader for the fifth time. She continues to look at me and say, "Um, I have no idea what that means." I start to consider beating my head against a nearby tire.

Simile: I repeat the definition AGAIN-- A comparison using 'like' or 'as'. Let me give you an example: "Doing homework with your children is like pulling out your eyelashes. Slowly."

Resolution: A nanny.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Cheerleader

She runs. And she loves it. I like sitting. Like, a lot. It produces less sweat. Sitting is an indoor sport. But running is outside. In 100% humidity. I stand in the shade and watch her and realize she must really love running to endure the Texas elements.

This is cross country season. That just means longer distance to run in the heat. Oh, and you get to wear cuter shoes with spikes on the bottom. I think I could consider running, just for the perky footwear.

From the start of the race, my eyes never leave her. I watch her around every turn and I squint to keep track of her through the distant trees. Half way through, I know she is tired, and I find myself racing to various sections of the trail to cheer her on. In the final stretch, I notice her sisters running along side the path, keeping up with her and yelling words of encouragement. The sight makes my heart heavy with joy.

The longer I watch, the more I learn. Doesn't life feel like a race? Grueling, tiring and lots of hard work? And every runner needs a cheerleader. I am her's. At times, I watch from afar. Letting her work at it on her own. At other times, I stand as close as I can get and I scream so she can hear my voice above all the others. I reassure her that she. can. do. this.

I am her cheerleader, and He is mine. I know He is there, standing on the side lines watching. Ever mindful. Sometimes He even adjusts the course without my consent. But His goal is to lead me to the finish line. And my goal is to follow the path. At the moments I want to quit, His voice rises above all others. You. Can. Do. This.

I cheer for her and He cheers for me. And her, as well. We run together. We match our strides. We finish as One.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Insider Information

Todd has worked in the medical field for-ev-a. Because of that, he has worked with his fair share of nurses, technicians, etc. These people have the best stories ever. I totally majored in the wrong field.

Some of my all time favorites are those he hears from the ultrasound techs. They know the nitty gritty. All those crazy people I see shopping at Walmart? They're also getting ultrasounds. And you can't BELIEVE the stories that have caused them to end up there. I live for these stories. Sad, but true.

This week, a woman Todd works with had a meeting at Baylor. This place teaches doctor stuff. It's a college of medicine. I can't even imagine the good stories lurking in the corners of that place. Anywho, Todd's coworker is waiting for the elevator. It arrives, the chime sounds, and the doors open. And, guess what's inside? A cow. On a gurney. Did you catch that part? A. Cow. On. A. Gurney!

Apparently the Baylor cow had just had a heart transplant. Yup. I'm serious. So what does this woman do? She gets on the elevator. With. The. Cow! The technician escorting the bovine simply tells her, "Sorry, the animal elevator is broken." The doors close and she rode in silence, with a cow that had just emerged from surgery. You simply can't make this stuff up. It's too awesome.

After this story was related, Todd only had one question for this woman. "So, was the cow laying on it's back, with it's feet straight up in the air? Or, on it's side with it's legs hanging over the gurney?"

My life is so darn dull. Moo.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010




Happy Birthday to this amazing young woman. I love you with all my heart.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How We Labored This Day

For this holiday, we celebrated (2 days early) this almost 14 yr. old girl. Serious labor. I have one word for you-- teenagers. Lots and lots of teenagers. I comforted myself with large amounts of cake.

Here she is trapped in the flying ticket booth. I looked at this tiny confined space and silently wished for this booth to appear in my family room. There are days where it would be extremely handy.

Why, oh why, do they giggle so much? And it's so loud. Especially when they are grouped together. The more teenage girls you add, the louder it becomes. It's a phenomenon.

Tomorrow I shall rest from my labors and soak up the silence. Until then, I'll eat more cake.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

They Continue To Surprise Me

You would think that I was beyond being surprised. I guess I'm not, because I continue to be amazed at the crap my kids do in public.

When I realized Addie was taking far too long in the bathroom during church, I went to extract her. I opened the door to find two girls staring at the stalls with eyes wide and mouths hanging open. I immediately looked at them and asked, "What'd she do?" Once they recovered from their shock, they replied, "she climbed on top of the bathroom stall."

I removed my child from the bathroom and did my best to pretend we are a normal family for the remaining church services. I doubt anyone was convinced.

Once we arrived home, and I forced Addie to sit still long enough to write these sentences and I asked her how she climbed to the stop of the stall to begin with. "I climbed up using those bars that are in there." I have no idea what she is even talking about, nor do I care to verify her answer.

What child, wearing a dress, during church, decides to climb over the top of the bathroom stall?! Apparently, mine. I stand all amazed. Again.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Found Love At Open House

Yesterday was one of those crazy schedule days. Lots of things squeezed into a small amount of time. By the end of the day, I was rushed to make dinner. I was rushed to get everyone fed. I was rushed out the door to get to the junior high for Open House. I rushed to make sure that two children's schedules and classes were covered.

But then I found myself in Kellie's Language Arts class. The teacher explained that all the kids had written a poem centered on an emotion of their choosing. I searched the wall and located her all familiar hand writing.

Her words stopped me. I found myself squinting my eyes to try and stare at them harder, soaking them through me. I read them again and again. Each time through imprinted it's Love deep in my heart.

So much of parenting is hard work without any applause. Ever. A majority of my time is spent realizing I'm doing it wrong. Those thoughts only solidify every time I open my mouth to yell, scold or question.

Parenting rewards seem to appear in the smallest of moments. Sometimes they are few and far between. Maybe that's what makes them so magical. These moments, these small glimpses in time, are truly the reason we can keep on parenting through all the other yucky stuff.

I did not expect to find Love at Open House. I was far too rushed to get through it all, just like I am with most things. But love found a way to hold me still. It looked straight at me long enough to show me it's truth.

Love is Red. And now it lives in my heart.