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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letting Go

God has been asking me a few times this summer to let go.  It’s all in His hands, and I need to trust in Him.  Tomorrow is another one of those tests as I send my baby girl to kindergarten.  I know she’s ready.  I know she’s smart, kind and a good friend.  She will flourish.  She’s excited and ready to ride the school bus like a big girl.  Yet her mother is the one struggling with this new adventure.

Those with children can relate to that moment when they go off to school for the first time.  It’s a big moment.  You are entrusting their young mind and body to others who you may or may not know that well. You have faith that their intentions are to take good care of your child, get them to school, help them learn, eat, develop relationships and then get home to you safely every day of the week. 

To me that requires the hand of God.  Not because I don’t have the faith in the school or the bus drivers -  because I do.  I pray for all our teachers, our education staff and the transportation staff.  That they may find their faith and trust in God and love our children as much as possible.  I say it this way, as I can’t imagine anyone could love Grace as much as I do.  I pray for the peace that passes all understanding for all of the parents, as we let go tomorrow and send our babies to a new world.  May they learn wonderful, exciting new things.  May their heartbreaks be minimal, but lessons learned be strong and long-lived.

Our summer has been full of heartbreak, anticipation, and disappointment.  As resilient as children are…I am not.  May this new season of our lives open new excitement and less anxiety.  May I never reflect my nerves or worry on to Grace’s young open heart.

Letting go this year has meant so many different things, when I first thought of writing this piece.  It meant letting go of my Grandmother, the thought of losing a dear friend and the idea that my sister–in-law, recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, might be forever changed.  It meant the possibility of letting go of a dream promotion.  And it meant letting go of my baby as she became a big girl riding a school bus to a giant new world.

Now I see letting go as opportunity.  Letting go of what life is behind and pressing on to the good things that God has in front of us. That’s what He wants us to see, right?  These are exciting days!  She’s going to make new friends she may have for life!  Learn new things she will teach me!  It’s going to be wonderful to hear all about her days every night.  I can’t wait to let go of her hand tomorrow so I can give her a big hug at the end of the day and hear all about it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blessed are the Peacemakers

My daughter Grace is a character, she’s sweet, thoughtful, sassy and smart.  She loves to run, dance and use her vivid imagination.  She teaches me so much all the time and God uses her to resolve conflict, strife and bring a smile to my face all day long.  I’m smiling right now!  Her influence is powerful.  When she was little she would tell us that Jesus was in her heart and God is in her belly.  That makes perfect sense to me now.  She innately loves the Lord without question.  God gave her an old soul and I know He has big plans for her.  It is our job, Dennis and I, as her parents to give her the proper upbringing to see those big plans through.  I pray that we do a good job raising her right, but I rely heavily on my faith and the Lord to see that through.  So far I think we’re doing pretty okay!  She is kind to everyone she meets and has an unstoppable energy.  She’s also a superhero nut.  She loves all things superheroes, even claiming that right now her boyfriend is Robin, but Batman keeps cancelling their wedding.  She is a character!  Dennis is just glad that her boyfriend is imaginary!

When the subject of bullying came up I wasn’t surprised that my daughter would be an advocate for anyone, especially her friends.  One day she told me, out of the blue, that if anyone said anything mean to her friends, she would look them square in the eye and defend them so hard their hair would fly back letting her powerful words command it.  She would tell them in her bold, determined, yet somehow still tenderhearted voice, “These are my friends and you don’t get to pick on them!  We are always kind to our friends!” 

Can’t you just see it?  Grace leaned in… looking someone dead in the eye and watching their hair fly back as she speaks God’s truth straight from her tiny mouth.  Something right from a superhero cartoon, right? That’s my girl!  I’m not advocating violence or challenging a bully, but I am proud that my daughter would give a voice to someone who may need a hand.  We all should do more of this.  Pay more attention to our friends and the needs of others then boldly take a step of faith and respond.  I believe peace can be boldly executed.  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Count your Blessings

Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget to be thankful.  It constantly amazes me that I can go through my day and not realize how much I am blessed.  From my morning time with God to the evening snuggles with my little girl before bed, I can just plug through my day and not notice how special and lucky I am. 

Last night I couldn't wait for my busy bodied ball of energy to go to bed so I could relax.  Game after game and silly song after silly song I pushed on through them all.  In the back of my mind I was thinking, please Lord, let her be sleepy.  Finally a half hour after her normal bedtime, she was curled up in my lap watching Superheroes.  That's when it hit me.  My sweet girl is so much more than a wild streak to be followed and taught lessons to; she can teach me sometimes, to cut loose and be silly.  I shouldn't rush those few moments we get before bed, I should be enjoying them...not counting down the clock. 

She was curled up in my lap entangled in her daddy's arm all at the same time.  For those few minutes I had my family all snuggled up next to me, when I remembered that this time will not last forever.  Soon she will not want to snuggle or maybe even be in the same room with me.  How quickly silly songs turn into homework filled nights and time with her friends.  I need to savor these days, when my parents are close and my daughter is young.  This time will not last forever and I don't want to miss any of it.

Every moment we live is an opportunity to be grateful.  We are put on this earth with a purpose and if we aren't living up to that purpose than what are we living for?  Whatever it is you are doing in your life, I urge you to find a way to enjoy it.  If there isn't a way to feel blessed about your position in life, then I kindly suggest that you make changes.  There is too much good still out in this world and too much that God needs us to do for us to spend our days unhappy. 

Many speak of the negativity in the world, few change it.  May we all be ones who see fit to change the world we live in to make it a better place.  Enjoy your work, give more freely, love more openly, rejoice in all of God's blessings.  We are only here for a short time, why not make the most of it?

As for me, I will be signing off, there's a little girl that needs me to play with her. :-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Adventures To Be Had

Some of you may know that I’m working on a children’s book series, Ella Jean the Jelly Bean Queen.  In this series, the main character is a young adventurer who finds herself tempted, caught in various mishaps and trials in this crazy little world she found through a doorway just down the hall from her laundry room.  She has a thing for jelly beans and her own unique sense of style.  I’ll share more about our friend later.  But it occurred to me that I used to be like Ella Jean, dreaming up different story lines and predicaments.  I would find myself entrapped in storylines and difficult situations where I had to either get myself out of or heaven forbid…be rescued by a handsome prince or two.  My youth revolved around imaginary situations and dreams of who I would be or what I would do.  I can tell you that I spent a good part of my childhood dreaming of being an astronaut. True story.  I remember dreaming and even filling out applications to Space Camp.  The idea of going through the training that a real astronaut went through sounded thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.  The stars and space were always something that intrigued me…maybe it was the unknown, the idea of unexplored territory.  Maybe it was the adventure.  Something about adventure has always excited me.  I would lie in the grass looking up at the sky plotting my next escapade.  The closet was my rocket ship filled with blankets and books.  I would spend hours in the backyard and the woods behind my house pretending all kinds of different escapades.  As I sit here writing this I’m grinning ear to ear remembering running across the open field and diving into the woods and hiding behind the big rock quickly so no one would see me.  Climbing in the old apple tree and swinging across the laundry line as if hot lava were below.  My smile grows wider as I recall my daughter just last week was using the couch cushions to jump over the hot lava and get to the other side of the ravine.  It amazes me how 30 some years later the same great adventures never change.  We complain about technology and how the world has changed, yet the simple things are still there.  The mind of a child deep at its core is still the same.  The adventures might change slightly but dreams are still an adventure.  Life should still be an adventure.  That’s what Ella Jean is all about to me.  In a sense I am Ella Jean and so is Grace, my five year old daughter.  The beauty of it is that so is my girlfriend’s six year old son, Anderson.  So is another girlfriend’s twelve year old daughter, Anna.  They are all Ella Jean.  In some ways we all hold that adventurous spirit deep within.  We have dreams that make us smile; things that make us want to keep pushing towards another day.  Goals that make us get out of bed in the morning.  When you read Ella Jean the Jelly Bean Queen, and you will (the author says smiling) you will feel parts of yourself light up like a child and you will also remember truths that you told yourself to remember, and morals you promised yourself, perhaps your loved ones and God you’d live by.  I hope it brings you closer to the truths you want to remember about yourself.  I hope it helps children of every age and background find who they want to be and what adventures they want to have.  So they can read the book or have it read to them and then set it down and have their own adventures.  My prayer is that we all remember that there are adventures still to be had and hot lava to be jumped, we just need to find it.