In Celebration of Average

It’s the end of the school year and with that comes the obligatory bombardment of social media pictures and post about all genius children receiving every award under the sun. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating their accolades because I know first hand how hard they work to achieve them, I can’t help but wonder about the average kids.

I’m not advocating for them to be awarded. Don’t even get me started on the give every kid an award society we have become. No. Just no. What I am getting at is as a parent to kids who fall all over the spectrum when it comes to academic success, I often find myself comparing my kids. I also get that it is totally my issues to deal with it. However, I don’t think I am the only one.

I often wonder why more parents don’t publicly celebrate the fact that their kid worked their butt off to get a straight C’s. As I sit here brainstorming about the reasons why, I realized I’m part of the problem. I’m quick to post that picture of my kid getting an award or making a great play at the plate but I’m all crickets otherwise.

At the end of this school year all of our kids were promoted to the next grade without any hoopla or us attending a single special ceremony.

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My 13-year-old daughter Karisa, received her first B this year. The truth is after the first semester she was disappointed in herself. As parents we could have either helped her understand it was not the end of the world and if she was truly doing her best it was okay or we could have aided in her disappointment. She tried so hard but a B was the best she could do. I am more proud of that B than I am the rest of the A’s that came easy to her. She finished 8th grade with a 3.83 GPA and a high school credit.

My 11-year-old son Kaiden was lucky to pass 5th grade. Okay not really but it felt that way. 5th grade is hard, Yo! This is our third bout with it and it makes me cringe that we have we will have another go round. This kid just doesn’t care all that much for school. He is beyond smart. Like intelligent kind of smart but school is just not his jam. He received his first C this year and I hit the ceiling. Why? Because I know this kid could do better. He one upped me though by bringing home three C’s on his final report card. For the love, people! On the flip side he was praised endlessly for his character, kindness and willingness to always help.

My 7-year-old daughter Kailey views school as a social gathering. She probably is the smartest of them all but isn’t interested in school for the sake of learning. She retains everything, everything. She can re-tell you anything she has learned with great depth and understanding but she doesn’t do well to sit and test. She gets bored and finds it more interesting to people watch than to do her own work. Math is her nemesis but she is totally cool with it. She’s the one who wears an “outfit” to school everyday, has a million friends and is a magnet for girl drama. Help me!

It is my promise to you that at the end of this school year I stand in solidarity with every parent and give praise for the fact that our kids are still alive! That my friends deserves the award!

For The Love Of Motherhood

As we approach Mother’s Day, a day that is traditionally wrought with angst for me, I feel like, for the first time, I am coming into my own as a mom. You guys, as I type that sentence tears have streamed my face. These tears are a mixture of pain and joy and for that I am blessed.

For so long I have struggled with trying to be the kind of mom I pictured in my mind. A picture influenced by the world because of my own motherless childhood. I was more concerned with getting things right, following rules, and being the best. In doing so I completely rid myself of the things that make me, me. I hid my personality, my quirks, my talents, my dreams. I was not being who God created me to be because I didn’t feel worthy.

So hear this my fellow mommas: God uniquely created you. He knows every fiber of your being. And still, He chose you, he chose me, to be the mother of our children. He didn’t choose that mom you wished you could be, he chose you, he chose me, knowing fully who we are.

Is that not an amazingly freeing truth? Well… To be honest it has taken some time to accept that truth. However living out that truth has proven to be even more difficult. Now that I was free to be me, I had to figure out who the heck that was.

In Jen Hatmaker’s new book For The Love, released on August 18th, she writes:

"Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loved? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don’t we want them to see us doing what we do best?"

I was gut punched when I read those words. I have lived a separate life. I was being a mom to my kids and a woman to the world. It never occurred to me that it was okay to be both.

And so, as I travel on this journey of living life as a worthy mom I have been freed to allow my children to know my heart. They get to see me not only as their mommy who cooks, cleans, disciplines, supports and loves but also as a child of God who is trying to live the life He created me to live. That my friends is the true legacy we as mothers should be leaving our children.

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It’s your turn. Link your Mother’s Day inspired post below and spread the word.


I’m Sick of Being Sick

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Spring Break! That is how long I have been sick. I just can’t seem to get healthy and I am so over it. It started out as strep throat and progressed to a mild form of walking pneumonia. After two rounds of different antibiotics I thought I was on the mend and then wham sick again! Although I think this time around it may be allergies. My eyes hurt, my throat is scratchy and my nose is filled with snot. Jealous?

I am so exhausted from being able to do nothing. I feel like I am completely failing at life right now and it is totally out of my control. Ah, control. The thing I cling to most.

I can’t read because my eyes burn. I can’t talk because my throat hurts and I start coughing up a lung anytime I get out more than two words. Whenever I bend down snot drips from my nose but if I lie down I end up choking on it. Not to mention my intermittent ear and head aches. I. Can’t. Even! with my constant chapped lips right now. In other words I am a hot mess.

You know what is worse than being sick? Setting my pride aside and asking for help. Why is that?

So I out of complete humility I let the kids make their own after school snack and fend for themselves until Mr. C gets home. I have even allowed Mr. C. to come home after a long hard day of work and pick up snot filled tissue and cook dinner. That’s life and life is not fair, plus the whole in sickness and health thing.

Life is not slowing down people. I am a month behind at work, have a leadership retreat this weekend and the end of the school year shenanigans are upon us. Which begs the question, when will this sickness go away?

Wrecked: For The Love Friday Link-Up

FTL Link Up

I have to tell you friends, my world is being wrecked in such a good way. There is a stirring deep in my bones that is happening. I’m not sure what God is up to but I have a feeling my life as I know it is about to be flipped upside down. Not in a sell all our possessions and move away kind of way, or any way that looks different. It’s a the kind of open my ears, eyes and heart kind of way that will no longer allow us to view the world the same. You know? I’m scared in an excited kind of way, I think. Holy fear? Not sure.

As a family we are examining our life. We can longer suppress the fact our daughter will be starting high school next year despite my constant pleading to repeat 8th grade! We have ten short years left in this season of raising kids. Hold me!

It is causing us to pause and ask ourselves hard questions. Are we living a Christ like life? Are we using our time and talents to honor God? Should we be doing more? Should we be doing less? What are our priorities? Where are our boundaries? Will our kids ever stop bickering?

However, I was pretty confident I was being obedient to God. You know being a reluctant Bible study teacher and all. When my introverted, socially awkward self said yes to teaching I knew I would have to depend solely on the Holy Spirit to lead me and I have.

With three classes under my belt, I have gained so much wisdom not only from the studies but from the woman in my class. I have come to adore these woman who have granted me so much grace and encouragement as I find my footing. They have filled my love tank with words of affirmation that feed my soul. More importantly I have grown closer to God as I seek his wisdom and courage to teach under his authority.

…and still I continue to push aside my own desire to write. It’s not a secret. I have even declared several times in this blog I was done talking about it and ready to put words on the page yada yada yada. I am tortured by own self-doubt and fear.

I was recently gut punched when I read these words from Jen Hatmaker’s book For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a world of Impossible Standards:

“Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loved? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don’t we want them to see us doing what we do best?… Stop minimizing what you are good at and throw yourself into it with no apologizes…The timing is never right. Forget that.”

You guys I have read all the books. I have created the space. I have marked out the time. I have gone over the words in my mind countless times. I know the story. I lived the story. I questioned it. I have prayed about. I have heard the Holy Spirit’s whisper turn into a scream, “WRITE THE BOOK!”

What message am I sending my kids when I tell them to pursue their God-given passions and I sit on the side lines never pursuing mine?

So I started to put real words on the page. Words that hurt. Words that speak truth. Words that have pierced my soul so deeply they have been waiting to be set free. I have finally allowed my self to implement Ann Lamott’s Shitty First Draft method. It’s a difficult task for a reformed perfectionist like me but I am finding freedom in writing with reckless abandon. In doing so I am being wrecked, wrecked I tell you!

Are you being wrecked?

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Fellow Launch Team and #4500 Members it’s your turn. Link your For The Love inspired post below and spread the word.


HE is Risen

I am slowly easing back into the land of the living. I have been sick for the last three weeks. Two doses of antibiotics, a week of codeine induced sleep and a package of Poise later my violent cough is nearly gone and my voice is back!

Let’s talk about Easter.

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Our Easter Sunday started just as it does every year by taking an obligatory picture in our front yard before we head off to church! We then worship and praise as a family.

Easter is special time for me. It represents the foundation of our belief. It was also at an Easter service eleven years ago I accepted Christ in my heart.

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After church our home is opened up to our family and friends to enjoy a time of fellowship. We serve a feast, have a confetti egg hunt with a golden egg to entice the big kids to participate and play Minute To Win It inspired games.

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Before we served the meal we all gathered in our front yard and made a 22 person circle while Mr. C led us in prayer. It makes my heart happy to be able to stand side by side and pray with my family, especially the non-believing ones.

 

 

This year stirred up all kinds of emotions for me. It’s a strange feeling to acknowledge your babies are legit adults. Prepare yourself friends with littles. As soon as you blink not only will they grow up but they will then bring their boy/girl friends over to meet the family!!! I am thankful my nieces and son choose to come home for the holidays and are willing to expose others to our crazy.

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Sunday was filled with love, laughter and real life. Real life is messy and sometimes hard. I am honored to be my family’s confidant even though I don’t know the answers. I am humbled by the strength and courage of my sister, a single-mother, the trials young adults our dealing with today, my brother-in-law’s willingness to take on being a blended family and the weight of the world my brother insist on carrying on his shoulder.

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I was reminded of these words, “We can’t deliver folks from their pits, but we sure can get in there with them until God does.” by Jen Hatmaker, who has obviously infiltrated all my thoughts lately.

What better way to celebrate a risen Lord than to foster an environment where we live out God’s commandment to love your neighbor.

How did you spend your Easter?

I’m In Love With US

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Yesterday Mr. C and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary. In those twelve years I have fallen completely head over heals in love with us. I’m especially proud of how hard we both work at being man and wife.

Figuring out the business of becoming one is hard. It takes communication, forgiveness, submission, and most importantly the choice to love. It’s an unending process that starts the moment you say I do and goes far beyond learning how to live under one roof.

While I can say today our marriage has become a well-coordinated dance it has taken years of lessons, complete with occasional missteps. We have the benefit of trial and error throughout a nearly fifteen year relationship. The hardest step was learning to let my husband lead but that’s a whole separate post.

We started this marriage as two head strong individuals determined to be right. Somewhere along the way, and as we grew in Christ, we started to lean in toward each other. Perfect? No, but I love who we are becoming.

For us being one flesh means holding hands while strolling down the street, belly laughing at inside jokes, giving each other a look and having a conversation without words, calling each other out when warranted, sharing fears and supporting dreams while praying to and praising God, whom we place above all things.

Twelve years of marriage is an amazing feat. That is why last night we ate chocolate covered strawberries made by the kids and watched our wedding video, as is our family tradition. It is important to us to demonstrate to the kids that our marriage is worthy of being celebrated. Celebrate we did. Have I mentioned how much I love us?

For The Love Friday Link Up: Week 2

FTL Link Up

I am right smack in the middle of facilitating Breathe: Making room for Sabbath by Priscilla Shirer. For a little perspective on what the class is about here is what the back of the book says:

With a jam-packed life, what’s missing is space-space for God to speak, room for you to hear. It’s time to set aside the activities and busyness that swallows up rest and peace. It’s time for us to breathe and build margin into our lives for God.

In preparation for the class I broke down in tears and confessed to Mr. C how inept I felt. This went beyond my normal self-doubt pity party that happens every Tuesday morning before I teach. This was an I am a complete hypocrite trying to teach a class about creating margin from a trench of busy.

Then I came across these words I wrote several months ago while I was in the midst of teaching my first class Children of the Day by Beth Moore “Sometimes I think God has called me to lead/teach/facilitate because it causes me to dig deeper for the benefit of others when in reality the lessons I am teaching are the ones I need to apply to my life most!”

I read this to my class on my very first day and told them my own need to be sitting in a chair alongside them learning. It is amazing how that little confession set the tone for a class that has truly become a community where honest discussions continue to take place.

Recently we discussed discovering our own individual priorities, setting boundaries and the need to say no. Struggling with the ability to say “No.” was universal. More staggering was the admission of the inability to say no because of the residual guilt.

I thought to myself, “Could this be the reason I was accepted as a member of Jen Hatmaker’s Launch Team? Was this my for such a time as this moment?”

As it turns out in the very first chapter of For The Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker discusses this very thing. She uses the phrase Off The Beam in homage to being a gymnastics mom.

The premise is simple. Only the things that are important to you (your priorities) stay on the beam anything else is off the beam. For example family dinners are on the beam, volunteering in the kid’s classroom is off the beam!

The most important thing is to make your beam yours and not your neighbors. They are not living your life for you. No two beams will be the same and that is okay!

Along with this analogy I read these words from For The Love:

“We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead wise.”

“Wise woman know what to hold onto and what to release, and how to walk confidently in their choices-no regrets, no apologies, no guilt.”

“You can say no and no one will die.”

How freeing are these words? I’m guessing come August, when the book is officially released the words Off The Beam will be adapted by women everywhere.

Do you struggle with saying no?

What are your top on the beam/off the beam items?

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Fellow Launch Team and #4500 Members it’s your turn. Link your For The Love inspired post below and spread the word.

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Perspective Is Not A One Shot Deal

My word of the year last year was perspective. I focused on praising God for his provisions when I wanted to complain about doing laundry or cooking, again. It stemmed from reading the Ann Voskamp book One Thousand Gifts. It really has changed my heart and the way I tackle my day.

Lately we have had an epidemic of wayward shoes. They are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I find them in the living room, under the kitchen table, in my car, in the garage, outside the front door and even in the restroom. You want to know where I don’t find them? Where they belong!

Ever since I read the Lysa TerKeurst book, The Bathtub is Overflowing But I Still Feel Drained, I have tried so hard to smile and feel all the feels about the precious people I birthed or married who’s feet occupy those shoes. I have a twenty-two year old who has flown the coop. I know how quick this season will be over.

I know this, man!

Yet, the other day I tripped over a shoe and went bat shit crazy. You guys I don’t even know what happened but I’m pretty sure I threaten to throw away every single pair of shoes my kids own and force them to walk barefoot everywhere while my head spun around, drool ran down my mouth and my eyes glowed a hellish color of red.

It happened. I’m not proud.

I only share this story with you to let you know you are not alone. The thing is I think we as women have a tendency to compare our yuck filled days to others rock star moments. Just stop. Stop right now.

There is no question I love my husband and my children. It is absolutely my hearts desire to live a Christ like life. I also know I am not perfect. I will not always get it right, neither will you.

Tomorrow is a new day. Apologies work magic. Perspective is not a one shot deal. Our goal is progress not perfection.

As I sit here typing this there are eleven, ELEVEN pairs of shoes within eyesight. I kid you not. Except this time all I could think is not one belong to my twenty-two year old. Why do they grow up so fast?

When Life Gets Hard

We were about ready to put Spring Break in the books when a strain of strep throat invaded our home. Any one who is familiar with big families knows sickness is akin to bowling. The first roll takes down a few pins but you get a second throw and that’s when you take down the rest while picking up the spare. It’s brutal.

It is particularly bad when your husband is the one to go down first. I know I’m being all Captain Obvious here but men are not easy to care for when sick. I mean I understand you can’t swallow and all but I gave birth to three of your babies with less dramatics. Apparently our daughter who by every other account is my mini me takes after her daddy when she is sick. So that was fun too. I may still be a bit bitter.

I had two down, one on the mend and another unknowingly incubating the same sickness. It was not my best day as a wife or a mom. I am not the most compassionate person in these situations. I snapped all day long. There were so many moments I wished I could go back and show mercy or be kinder. Instead, when everyone was finally sleeping I cried a huge puddle of guilt tears.

I woke the next day with my throat on fire and a son complaining he couldn’t swallow. No one went back to school or work. A second round of doctors and antibiotics were prescribed to our family. I wish I could say I was much more pleasant on day two but the truth is I slept most of the day and just gave up.

By dinner everyone was better-ish. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled day of busy. Mr. C returns to work and the kids to school. I will teach a class and get nap before the rigmarole of after school snacks, homework and activities begin.

Sometimes life gets hard…and then it gets better and we move on.

“For The Love” Friday Link-Up

FTL Link Up

It’s been over a week since I was accepted as a member of the launch team for the book For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. If you missed my original announcement you can read the Big News here.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting from being on the team but I do know I have been blessed in ways that go beyond being a book-worm who has a sphere of influence she can promote a book to.

I am overwhelmed in such a wonderful way by the 500 members of the launch team. We have been able to connect with each other via a face book group. The amount of authenticity, vulnerability, support and shared laughter is refreshing.

I have been convicted and encouraged not just by the printed words of Jen Hatmaker but by the stories of the people they are affecting. Perhaps that’s the whole purpose of having ordinary people read and share their thoughts of this book written for you and me.

I fully intend to use this little blog of mine to share with you my insights as I read through the book. I am only four chapters in and my journal is filled with future post waiting to be written. I know I am not alone.

I decided to take a leap of faith and host a link-up for all the other bloggers sharing their thoughts as they read through For The Love. My intention is simply to have a spot where we could showcase our written work while promoting the book and reaching out to an eclectic group of readers.

I plan on hosting a For The Love Link Up every Friday leading up to the official launch of the book. If you are willing please add any blog post you have written related to For The Love. Then come back next week and do it again. Okay? Okay.

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