Thursday, November 29, 2012

The "Mommy's Shower Law"

You know how Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong?  Well, this Mommy has come to a conclusion that I'm certain moms the world over will confirm.  I like to call it the "Mommy's Shower Law."  It states that if kids will do something crazy, it is going to happen as soon as Mommy steps foot in the shower.
As mothers, we know no matter how short we keep it, whether it be as brief as washing hair and body in the same length of time it takes our spouses to get the water adjusted right, or as luxuriously long as allowing time to actually shave one leg, SOMETHING is going to happen!
I've tried to outsmart the Mommy's Shower Law with all sorts of tricks and techniques....plug the children into a movie (yep, the show is going to stall), let them play electronics (most likely the battery will go dead), sneak it while they sleep (you know a doorbell is gonna ring)....the list goes on and on.
How bad can it get, some naive reader may which I laugh, Hahahaha!!!  Let's see...maybe I should tell of the time my little sprite thought it the perfect moment to leap onto the couch, slip off, and break her arm.  Or maybe I should delve into the time scissors were discovered and a sister's hair was given the "layered" look, very short layered look.  Nah, I think I'll share with you the legendary burnt popcorn story.
Once upon a time, all of my minions were calm and in their wide-eyed zombie state entranced by their favorite cartoon.  It should have been safe to grab a quick shower, right?!  However, as the water heated, Little Bit got a sudden craving for popcorn, but since Mommy's Shower was running she knew she could heat it up in the microwave herself.  Little did she know that one extra zero added to the time of 2 minutes would cause smoke to bellow from the kitchen.  Since the emergency rule of the house is "Meet at the mailbox in case of fire," Baby Girl took off sprinting outside, leaving the front door wide open  As I am obliviously in the first step of "lather, rinse, repeat," the door bursts open to blood curdling screams of chaos.  Leaping from the shower and yanking a towel around me to accompany me on the latest adventure, I run out to find the front door wide open, the neighbors agape at what the crazy homeschoolers are up to this morning, and flames lighting up the microwave.  We all survived, the burnt black once recognizable ball of crust was thrown into the sink and the fire put out,  Baby Girl was allowed back inside the house, the cartoon was finished, and I was able to rinse out the first layer of lather.  But to this day, every wiff of popcorn or every swing of the yellow stained microwave door sends me a reminder that Mommy's Shower Law is in fact valid and true.  There is no escaping it.
So, what's the solution? I'm not sure if it will work, but I'm gonna try Baths!  :-)

And yes...that would be soda...on my her pajamas....sigh!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


After wrestling and struggling with a difficult challenge, my eldest mourned, "I just don't understand why!  Why me?!  Why this?!"  How many times have I looked to the heavens and asked these very words.  It's not a new question, but the answer is one which I constantly need reminding.

As a parent, I can tell you, I allow my children to be tried and face challenges because I know they can handle them, learn from them, and grow into a stronger person.  I know, I know...what trials does a little child have, right?!  True, they may not seem extreme or life changing...those pesky 7 times tables, that challenge of approaching a possible new friend and making conversation, putting the right shoe on the right foot.  I can see the end result coming, a smooth road just around the corner for them, but from their perspective these are HUGE.  They can call to me to help, and sometimes I run to assist because I see they truly need me, and other times I stand back, encouraging them from afar, watching them learn to succeed.

As a child of God, I question, I struggle, and I'll admit it--sometimes I flounder, questioning, "Why?!"  What trials do I face?  To me they seem extreme and life changing.  From my perspective they are HUGE.  But from His???  I call to Him for help, and sometimes He is clearly right there assisting me, and then other times where is He?  Standing back, encouraging me from afar, watching me learn to succeed?  I pray He finds us growing and that thru these "houses of mourning" we can see that these trials are here as a stepping stone to something much, much greater.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Coming out of the Quiet Closet

Silence is golden, unless you have a which case, it can be very suspicious!
When silence permeates the walls of my house, I know something mischievous is lurking behind closed doors.  In a few such moments, little man has found the food closet.  In his desperation to partake of the forbidden cookies, he sneaks into the dark closet, closes the door behind him, and (in spite of his fear of the dark) crouches in the corner and silently munches.  When caught cookie-handed, mouth full, and guilty, he's still quick to point the blame elsewhere, "My mouth did it, not me!"
What must our Father know when He hears our silence - our missed prayers, our closed Biblees, our absent meditations.  Isn't our silence an immediate indication that we are not where we are supposed to be?  that we are not doing what we should be doing? We know we're guilty.  We know that He knows.  How quickly do we come up with an excuse, or an accusation of fault on anyone else but ourselves.
I love my baby boy in spite of the frivolous errors of his ways.  I reprimand, correct, and expect better of him, but I still adore that mischievous spirit and hope to train it to work for good.  How much more so must God feel towards me?!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Affected by Affection

How long do you need to know someone to have an effect on them?  How many times do your paths need to cross to truly change someone's life?  We've lived in many places and met many people...some have set up permanent residence in our hearts in a matter of moments and changed us forever, while others have crossed our paths multiple times weekly for years and still have not crossed that line.  What is it that we say or do that matters to others?  How is it that sometimes people just "click"?

My grandmother was one of those people who could change your life just by a conversation and a hug.  She'd meet a stranger at the store, and by the end of the shopping trip walk away with a friend.  My adopted grandpa, Ralph Walker Sr., was another one who began changing my life by his simple act of giving me a hug after services one night. 

I was reminded of their open hearts when an elderly man at the store the other day, stopped me and handed me a diamond necklace (well, a "dime-and-necklace" see pic).  The small gesture led to a wonderful conversation for my kids and that will probably be with us for years to come, even if our paths never cross him again.

When I think over the people and actions that have changed my life so drastically, I realize that it was always them opening themselves and generously giving...not necessarily physical gifts, but emotional ones...words, hospitality of home and heart, actions that without a doubt demonstrated they truly cared.

It's not always easy to put yourself out there, especially for this natural introvert, but when you realize the beautiful effect you can have on someone's life by simply showing tiny affections, how can we not reach out?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Young Love

You remember the days of young love?  How all it took was a word, or a lingering look to cause your heart to skip a beat and set the beautiful tone for the rest of your day.  A note, a conversation, even a smile could make everything else in the day brighter and rose-tinted....and then the debilitating opposite of a back turned, a missed call, or a silence that could bring everything crumbling down around you.  Remember that raw emotion that tears or builds you up starting from deep within your gut?!
Today I wondered who my kids would base those feelings on, and then it hit me....a parent is a child's first love.  If you don't believe me, watch how the words from your mouth soak into them in the early hours of the morning...observe the tone change in their day by the way you converse with them over a meal...mourn the anguish in their eyes when you fail to meet their expectations or listen to them fully.
We all long for love.  If you know someone is aching for yours, why not shower them with it?  Why not give them the gift that you yourself long for?  Keep in mind how it never takes much to build each other up, it's those little things that go a long way...go make someone's day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

God said...

My son has learned a new way of trying to get things to go his way. He knows crying won't work. He's tried tantrums to no avail. So now he is resorting to religion. The other day, Eben had the desperate longing to give his monster trucks a bath. "It's okay, mom," he reassured me as he climbed up on the stool and began to turn on the faucet. "It's okay....God said." He's even tried it after a few failures. Attempting to pacify my disappointment, he smiles up at me, "It's alright, mom. God said it's alright."

Although I'm certain Eben is not communing with the Almighty on such matters, as Josephine saucer-eyed joked, "Um, what if our little brother really did talk to God?!" But his little voice has caused me to reflect on how many justifications I make, using my own reasoning, calming myself with what I think God would want for me. Do I do this when I look at His text, bringing my own feeble presuppositions and interpretation? Or how about when I make decisions assuming I know what is best?

Is it just me, or is it terribly difficult to muffle our own desperate yearnings and trust Him to show the best way?! What if I really, Truly NEED to put those trucks in the water??? May God give me the peace to quiet my own think so's, and learn to "be still and know" that He is God (Psm. 46:10).

The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
From where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
(Psm. 33)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Sleep of a Child

Each night before I go to bed, I tiptoe into my children's rooms. Their peaceful demeanor, quiet baby faces, and slow steady breathing gives me a serenity and calm before closing my eyes for the night. If they wake in the middle of the night, all they need do is call, and I will come to help, offering what relief I can. I'm not saying I run up the stairs with a joyful heart, because frankly that big bad duck trying to bite them in their dream seems a ludicrous reason to interrupt my sleep. But I do actively listen to them, pray with them, and try to silent their fears. I'm thankful that I can give them this, because I know it is not a constant for children the world over.

A novel I read made a reference to children of America appearing to be utterly at peace in their sleep. They don't twist themselves into a ball or stuff themselves beneath a cabinet. They do not sleep with open eyes the way other children are forced to learn. Our children stretch out long and wide, dreaming of sugarplums while waiting for handouts from the tooth fairy. The thought has stuck with me, as I see mine all sprawled out on their beds in various positions. I'm thankful they have a feeling of safety and security.

Nights are intended to be a time of rest and quiet. Yet often mine are filled with wrestling and stirrings of the heart--- counting the tasks needing completion, planning a strategy to accomplish, evaluating and reviewing the day's events and how I handled them. I'm certain these concerns I ponder are petty in the grand scheme of things, but still in those quiet dark hours they loom over me. There is a comfort offered to me though, if only I would call out and trust, lay down those burdens and fall back into the sleep of a child. What a gift to be loved and be safe!

"You, O Lord, are a shield about me...I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me....I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me." (taken from Psalms 3)

"Ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent...and put your trust in the Lord...In peace, I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (taken from Psm. 4)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So, I'm driving from San Antonio, TX back to Abilene, TX. It's dark. I'm tired. There are NO cars on these long deserted miles and miles of interstate. I listen to my tunes, but after seeing those dashes of paint on the road for hours, my thoughts are gonna go. You know my mind can't ever go blank for long.

Who on earth dedicated their lives to putting down this asphalt? Who spent countless hours measuring, sweating, and paving this road just to leave it there for someone else to use? They don't even get to sit on the sidelines, waving, and taking credit for all of the use it gets from complete strangers. They poured themselves into it, then vanished, never to be thanked, never to be acknowledged. Hopefully, they know that it was a very good deed they did, and that they changed lives.

How many other silent heroes have gone on before us? Making sacrifices, pouring their lives into us, without us even realizing? I'm sure we cannot even begin to count. Some did it with their money, some with their power and prestige, and some with their bare hands and hearts.

Christ came to this earth for such a short time. He poured Himself into His mission. Look at the influence He had. Look at the constant change in millions and millions of lives even after He left centuries ago. He wasn't rich, He didn't change the world with His money. He changed it with His behavior, His words, and His love.

As a mom, I'd like to think that's what I'm doing (No, not being Jesus:-). I'm pouring myself, my time, my sweat, my tears and joys into these kids. Many souls will run into my children throughout their lives and not know the efforts I have poured into them. Often they themselves will not even remember the times it broke me to stick with a punishment I'd given, or the millions of "Ew's" and "Ah's" I'd gasped at their stories, or even the relentless serving of meals and laundry. But I'm not doing it for the thank you's. I'm not doing it for acknowledgement. I'm hoping they'll grow up to influence others for good, that they will change lives for the better, that through them I will have left a legacy that stretches out there like that highway, always of use to others, always a constant, always a light in this world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hands, Feet, and Hearts

Each night our routine includes family prayers. As all of us do, our kids have regular phrases they include in their prayers. For example, there is the infamous, "Please help us not to get the stomach BUG" which led to Eben's fears of "Big Bugs" getting him at night. But Thessy's prayers are always an enigma to me; she fills them with such random comments. I never know where she is going with hers, what she will include, or how long it will carry on. Every night it is a surprise and beautiful treat. She prays for her Great Papa, who misses her Great Grandma. She prays for her aunt who misses her frog who died over a year ago. The other night, she thanked God, with long pauses between, "Thank you for our hands....our feet....and our hearts." At first, it seemed so random and even unusual of a mix. But it's played over and over again in my head. In those three simple things, she covered our what, where, why, who, and how.
Hands are the what we do, our actions. Feet are the where we go, where we choose to be and surround ourselves with. Hearts are why we do what we do, what we feel, what we think, who we are!
As I sit there nightly wondering if I should limit the length of her prayers, counting the minutes ticking by, may my hands fold in respect, my feet calm in letting her talk, and may my heart look inward and praise the One who has blessed me so richly with precious hidden messages.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friendship in spite of it all

Growing up, we moved a lot. Used to, I believed it a disadvantage. How could I make friends if I was moving away and having to start over again and again? What was the point? Why pour myself into a friendship if it's only going to be severed by distance? What I didn't realize back then is that a true friendship never ends; it melds and reshapes to fit. Yes, the time together may grow to be less or become difficult to manage, but it continues none the less. It shapes and touches you forever. Often we don't even realize the significance and influence of a friend until they are no longer right there with us. I was reminded by my daughter of this, "Looking back, I know they were my best friends."
I'm thankful to live in an age where I can pick up the phone, hear a voice, read a text, compose an email, even converse on a screen and be reconnected right away with a heart hundreds of miles away.
Beware, I'm about to get deep: we walk around this life passing face after face, heart after heart. What is it that causes us to pause at a certain individual, open the door, share, and allow an opportunity for friendship to bloom? How do all those pieces fall into place at a certain time in life to work for good? Can we say it depends on mood? circumstances? accidents? providence? Whatever the reason, when it works, it's a beautiful thing!
Tonight, I'm thanking my Best Friend, the One who already knows my thoughts and heart. Through thick and thin, through all parts of this country, He's listened and stuck regardless of my neglect or fickleness. No need for technology, or a scheduled time, He listens constantly and has blessed me richly. Life without friendship, especially His, would be so empty. The Lord knows I'm not always the easiest person to be friends with, and I often am not all I should be in a friendship - But He has blessed me richly in friendships, in spite of myself and for that I am truly thankful.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Inevitable

Parents' eyes see the obviousness of cause and effect. Like a scary movie, with intense music crescendoing to an inevitable and obvious outcome:
If Daughter carries around a pocket knife, laying it here and there and everywhere - it will be left behind in a store, on a counter, and remembered later.
If Son wrestles with a sick friend, laughing and growling in each others' faces - a runny-nose and week's worth of sickness will incur.
If Daughter sets brand new, super full cup of hot chocolate on the very edge of the table outside on a windy day - it will blow over, covering the table, the chair, and random blown over boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
If one does not hold on tight to the swing - one will fall off (view video here)

If only they'd listen, trust, and accept - SO many accidents, ailments, and catastrophes could be prevented. Escape would have been provided if they'd acted in faith on the belief that "Mother Knows Best." But isn't life a learning process and wisdom developed by the provision of experiences? We allow our kids to exert their free will in things...knowing that pains may come. We protect where we can to keep them safe, but also let them fall with the expectation that they'll decide better next time. The inevitable will come, they will act on their own! We have to hope that we've provided enough foundation they can handle decisions...with a reminder that all they have to do is ask, and we will be there to help.

Our Father, who know all, sees the obvious cause and effects in our lives. He knows if we have evil companions, our good morals will corrode. He knows if we build our "house on the sand," it won't just settle a little, but "great will be the fall." If only we'd listen, trust, and accept - SO many accidents, ailments, and catastrophes could be prevented. Escape would have been provided if we'd acted in faith on the belief that "Father Knows Best." He spouts out these warnings and hopes we listen. Yet, He provides us with the free will to decide for ourselves. He gave us enough foundation that we can handle future decisions...with a reminder that all we have to do is ask, and He will be there to help.

Perhaps this week I will trust He knows the Inevitable and listen better to my Parent's advice. And perhaps my kids will follow in their mother's footsteps....or perhaps we'll have another week of lost pocket knives, runny-noses, sticky feet, and scuffed knees. Hmmmm...I'll hope for the former.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

3, 2, 1, Action

Thessaly has become quite the drama queen in our family. I've mentioned before how her moods are either absolute adorable sweetness or the scariest incredible hulk you've ever seen. Well, as she grows up, she is taming her "gift". As a result, we're finding her a constant source of entertainment. If she's in the right mood, you can get her to do impressions from movies or voices she's heard. Even her Spanish teacher boasts that Thessaly is a natural linguist who can immediately pick up an accent. Here's a sampling of our little actress:
Thessaly's Impressions

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Parable of the Hidden Diaper

You have heard it said "a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump" but I say unto you, "one little disposable diaper in the laundry will beadeth the whole load...and not just that load, but to the second and third generation (or in this case, load) as well."

We've all experienced the occasional missed item that accidentally finds it's way into the washing it a hidden tissue, a crayon, a pen, a giant strip of fiber glass, or whatever. The result is usually not pleasant. Today what was supposed to be a quick load of laundry, turned into a mess of massive magnitude. It seems a stray diaper's liquid absorbent beads and shredded paper spread in every crease of every clothing item, covering every crevice of the washing machine holes ( know the little ones all along the inner sides that look like little innocent miniscule dots) and then covered the floor of the laundry room as the garments were gently (or perhaps a tad violently) shaken out.

This little accident reminded me of another little incident that recently occurred in our house. The kids saw a cute little video of a Gummy Bear dancing around singing about his delicious gummy self. Innocent enough, right? WRONG! For perhaps 1.5 seconds this gummy bear shakes his little gummy bottom, which of course merits a fit of laughter from my kids. How could 1.5 seconds of fanny-wagging hurt, you ask? Well, being that it brought such hysterics from the bear, imagine a little two year old boy wagging his tail at you. Hilarious!!! Yes, but then this spreads to the adorable four year old who resides here, who takes it a step further by raising her skirt. I won't even tell you where that led a certain six year old, whom by now you know loves to push the limits. Before you know it, my house is daily filled with derriere shaking and potty comments to go with it. NOT acceptable!

So I'm here to remind you....Beware the leaven or diaper or gummy bear that sneaks in unaware. It may go undetected at first, but the repercussions will ripple their way through everything!!!

Oh My Wood!

Each stage of child development is fascinating to me. It intrigues me to witness a little person go from only saying "mama" to a full fledged sentence. It amazes me how a toddler can switch from whining to alert you of his needs, to putting the thought into words and expressing it with precision.

As most of you know, Eben was a late talker. By the age of two, he was only using a handful of words. Looking back, I can see many reasons for this...he has mind readers for sisters who never let him go long without already knowing and providing what he was lacking, he couldn't get a word in edgewise because well, he has three older sisters, and I'm convinced that he knew the words..could say the words...and in his stubborn will, decided not to.

Now, he's a yapper! He'll tell you exactly what he wants. He'll ask you a million and one questions to figure something out. He'll even use his newly discovered super powers of manners with a smile to convince you to do his bidding. It's delightful. The whole family is thrilled and constantly sharing the adorable things he says.

But with anything learned, he's watched and listened to each of us and adopted our words, habits, and manners as his own. I'd like to tell you that because we are always on our best behavior his little mouth is pristine. I'd like to tell you he is quoting scripture and saying things like "Mommy, I adore you. Let me do that for you." However, we do live in a real world and we, believe it or not, are not always perfect.

My latest cringe is when I heard him shouting upstairs at the top of his lungs, "Get out of my Woom!" then followed it up with a smiling "pweese!" Adorable, yes, but oh so rude! Perhaps I should focus my attention on the fact that he does use his polite words.

Some of our favorites are his raw excitement, when something delights him, he claps with a "yeah-hoo!" or gasps in amazement, "Oh My Wood!!" One of our favorites is "Come on, guys! Let's go....see, me happy!" convinced that if he is happy and smiling the world will follow willingly. Oh, and the newest taunt after anything mischievous that he does, which is one of his favorite past times, is "Nanny, nanny, poo, poo!" followed with his adorable laugh, then covering his grinning mouth acting shocked saying, "Oops! Me say bad words!"

All of this rambling is to say this...monkey see, monkey do! The words that I say, the attitude I reflect, the manner in which I conduct myself is constantly and without fail mirrored back to me. It is no wonder that we are commanded to speak His words and meditate on His sayings, posting them on our walls, even carrying them around our necks...just as my kids soak up my words, I soak up those I hear and am surrounded by. May I remember as I walk through this day, that I am the light they are witnessing. His words are my words and thus their words.

Little brother is great at reminding me, especially when he pulls this cuteness..."Come on, mom! Talk to me! Me like Mommy!" What an honor!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twisted, Tangled, and Knotted Together

I am a person who longs to be organized. I want to have a routine. I want to have a method to each madness that comes with daily life. I want to know exactly where I put down my keys and see exactly six pairs of shoes neatly lined by the door (instead of the spilling over basket of hundreds). The key word in all of these things is "want." Although I have tried every which way and back to bring sanity to chaos, I finally admit it ain't happening!!

The other day in our backyard the kids and I became fascinated with this tree. There were literally hundreds of birds popping out of every nook and cranny. Somehow all of these branches, twigs, and vines (or whatever you want to call them) had interwoven in the most bizarre assortment of chaos. You couldn't follow one branch for very long before it was twisted and knotted and lost in the masses. Yet, the beautiful thing was that somehow each and every one of those individual pieces were working together to form one big mighty shape of a tree.

Although I haven't backed up enough to see the complete outlying shape of my chaos, I'm pretty sure it's working it's way into looking like a family. The calendar may have us running a million different directions. The laundry and dishes may be overflowing or only partly done. The kids might have picked out totally mismatched outfits and not even had their hair brushed. BUT each morning I wake up to kisses and cuddles. Each day when the fights are dispersed, I hear laughter and conversation. Every night I hear prayers of thanksgiving and innocent nuggets of wisdom. And I stand in awe that God has seen fit to help little unorganized me weave all these strands into something indescribably blessed.