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Shame on You

Worry, shame, suffering, depression, regret…sucky emotions that I try to avoid in my life at all costs. 

A Wise old woman was talking to a girl and said,

“There are two wolves always fighting inside me.

One is filled with anger, hate, jealousy, shame, and lies.

The other wolf is filled with love, joy, truth, and peace.

This battle rages inside of you and all people.”

 

The girl thought for a moment and asked,

“Which wolf will win?”

 

The Wise old woman answered,

“The one you feed.” 

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Piggy Bank Love

I loved my piggy bank. When I was 6 years old, I would pull the plastic plug out of her belly and dump the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters out onto my bed. Next, I would sort the coins into piles. Then I would organize the piles into smaller groups of 100 cents. I felt rich. 

As a 12-year-old, my mom would give me spending money for our yearly family vacation. During the week-long camping trip at Jellystone Campground, I had the opportunity to go mini-golfing and to spend my money on treats and souvenirs. It felt so powerful to have the choice to buy as much ice cream as I wanted–or not. I would walk around the camp store every day admiring the mugs, keychains, and refrigerator magnets. I could buy any of these things. But I didn’t.  Instead, I always counted my leftover money at the end of the week and added it to my piggy bank. I felt rich. Continue reading

The Bucket List: Fill, Empty, and Repeat

I’ve always believed in goals, dreams, and bucket lists. But that doesn’t mean that they are easy for me.

Back in college, I spent the summer of 1985 in Washington DC at a church Youth Leadership Training Conference. Everyone worked full-time and attended activities and training in the evenings and on weekends. 

During one of the first trainings, we were encouraged to have daily “quiet time” when we were supposed to read the Bible and pray. One of the goals of this activity was to gain clarity on our life goals.

Unfortunately, God did not reach his gaze down and bestow this wisdom upon me.

I knew that I wanted to finish my degree, get married, and have 13 children. This sounded pretty godly and was approved–as long as I looked to and depended upon my future husband as my head and leader.

Yeah. Right. Continue reading

The Hardest Choices

Life is full of change, challenges, and choices. School, college, what am I going to be when I grow up, finding a life partner, divorce, infertility, adoption, work drama, relationship drama, health drama… the list goes on.

greatest challengeMost challenges come and we muddle through to the best of our ability. We don’t see the challenge of a health scare coming, but we rally our resources to research and battle the event.

Our kids challenge us with choices and behaviors that we tackle on a regular basis. We talk to their teachers and go on long car rides and try to talk some sense in an effort to guide a nearly adult teen to make “good” decisions.

But the hardest challenges are those we choose. No medical diagnosis or call from the police to knock us back on our heels and force change. The challenge that I’ve struggled with over the years has always been “What am I going to be when I grow up? Continue reading

Turn it OFF!!

*Screen time is time spent watching TV, using the computer, and cell phone. 

*Research shows that the average household has more televisions than people and has them on for more than 8 hours per day.

*Adults average about 8.5 hours of screen time per day.

*Aim for no more than 2 hours of screen time per day outside of work.

Image from Shel Silverstein’s poem “Jimmy Jet and His TV Set

Back in the early 2000s, we would sponsor something called “TV turn-off” at the school where I taught. We would encourage families to commit to one week where households wouldn’t turn on their TVs. Probably 20% of the families participated or tried to anyway.

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On Children

How much influence do we really have over our children?

Aubrey and I were at Texas Roadhouse with four other mom-daughter couples. We were talking about random topics when the subject of birth stories came up. Aubrey and I quietly listened to everyone’s stories.

I don’t even know the exact time she was born in the early hours of July 27, 2009. Continue reading

Easter and Moldy Money

I remember Easter as being disappointing when I was young. My focus wasn’t on family or food. Jesus wasn’t the primary reason for this season. It was mostly just another opportunity for presents. 

I’d get sidewalk chalk or a skateboard and a jump rope…but would be unable to play with these toys because there was always snow on the ground. Once, I got a cute little sleeveless sundress that I would freeze my ass off when I wore it to church. One year I wore a wide-brimmed white Easter hat. I’m actually not sure if I wore it or not, but it had its own drawer for years afterward–never worn again.

When I was a bit older, we would always have breakfast after Easter service at church.

The tradition of decorating hardboiled eggs began when I was a child and continues now with my children. The smell of vinegar at any time of the year brings me right back to this activity with my Grandma Is. Now we go to my mother-in-law’s house to craft our beauties. As we cover the table with newspaper and pour vinegar into coffee cups–the memories come flooding back.  Continue reading

Snakes, and Piggies, and Dragons…Oh, My

It was spring, 1971. I was in First Grade. We actually had a long enough lunchtime that students could go home mid-day to eat before returning for afternoon classes.

On this sunny, noontime, I was crossing the mowed lot adjacent to our home. Walking through the low-cut weeks, I saw a couple of little garter snakes slithering away from my feet. I quickly grabbed one in each hand and brought them home. Going into the house through the garage, I saw a big cardboard box sitting on the garbage cans. A perfect spot to save my snakes for later! Continue reading

Sister…I’m Going West!

It was a beautiful spring afternoon in 1975. My 5-year-old sister, Michelle, and I trekked across the freshly plowed field towards the rock hill on the edge of our grandparent’s acreage. A warm wind was blowing and we stood together on the top of the hill. Without much thought, I began walking down the “backside”. For some reason, Michelle asked me where I was going.

“West”, I answered. “I’m going west!” I repeated. Continue reading

Family–Not “If” but “When”

I’ve always known I wanted a family. When I was in elementary school, I was committed to adoption. At the age of 10, I didn’t want to contribute to world overpopulation.

As college students involved in an evangelical, fundamentalist church, my fiance (Tom) and I discussed–and were excited–about the idea of 13 children! This idea also served to traumatize both sets of our parents.8754457

Then, as a young married couple, we decided to divorce because I continued to be committed to the prospect of raising a child/children. However, my husband’s feelings had changed. He enjoyed and believed a more carefree life that focused on music was more in-line with his needs.

Craig and I

When I met Craig, I shared with him on our first date that I wanted a family–but it wouldn’t be easy. He was game for pursuing infertility work or adoption from the very beginning.

You see, I had actively begun trying to get pregnant after 5 years of marriage with my first husband. It was 1992. Like so many couples, we just assumed it would happen quickly when the decision was made. Continue reading