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"That's why I wrote this song to sing

My beautiful girl"

(The Girl -Dallas Green)

The morning started off just fine. I had a ten o'clock checkup and I was on schedule. The dishwasher was loaded, the house was picked up and I was on my way to getting dressed by 8:33. That's when I got a text from our middle, Hallie.

She'd sent a screenshot of a letter with information on her graduation planning/next year's class schedule meeting, a meeting that was nowhere on my radar. What would be the time for this conference? ...9:10 this morning; a short 37 minutes after I got the text... I still had to finish getting ready and drop something off somewhere.

I busted it to make it on time. At 9:06 I was speeding down Spurlock Street when I decided to plug my phone in to get two minutes of charge before getting out of the car at the high school.

Our car has the awesome feature of automatically connecting to the music app when you plug your phone in. Typically, a random song pops up bringing instant cheer to my cruising. Not this morning. Jason recently downloaded a bunch of songs from our cloud on to my phone. I have Jason's music, as well as some of Hayden and Hallie's music.

Today an unfamiliar song filled the car in that last stretch of Spurlock. It was a song about chasing dreams and sailing around the world.

Today reminded me that I can be a speedster. I can physically get where I need to quickly. My mind can rush to places too. Those short lyrics sent me into an emotional tailspin. I instantly thought about a four-year-old in pink plastic heels who turned her dress-up trunk on its end to make it into a pulpit where she preached. Just yesterday it seems she pulled out of the driveway with her hands on the wheel for the first time.

My girl is now on the cusp of her senior year. Where the heck have I been? For the remaining stretch on Spurlock, and the last lines of the song, I alternated my fingertip to each outer eye-edge in attempt to hold my earlier 12-second mascara application in place.

Walking in to the high school I saw one of our favorite teachers, Mrs. Jordan. She knew why I was there. Like a typical senior mother I told her it was Hallie's last schedule planning meeting and proceeded to wipe my eye corners again.

In the meeting the counselor asked questions about Hallie's major and where she desires to go to school. I thought to myself, we don't know that yet.

But surprisingly Hallie, like a songbird, chirped a happy and confident answer for every question that was asked. I wasn't prepared for all this, but maybe she is.

I think about you parents who are getting ready to watch your kids walk on stage to receive their diploma in just a few months. Since walking through this nearly three years ago with Hayden, our oldest, I've had a heart pang for those of you who have a list that includes "order graduation invitations". I've thought a half-dozen times about texting my neighbor. Her boy is a senior. My friend just posted pictures of her and her daughter at UT, the college she'll be attending in fall. I'm sad for my mom friends. We're approaching the final lap of high school with Hallie. Some of you are reaching a finish line of sorts.

I wondered this morning how I missed getting the memo for the meeting at school. It came as a surprise, as did the fact that this chapter is winding down. Honestly I don't know how much our level of awareness of the changing of days matters. It's not any easier when we know what's coming. We can't push pause.

All I know is that two lines from this morning's song are stuck in my head...

"That's why I wrote this song to sing

My beautiful girl..."

My pen has both furiously scrawled and made deliberate bold marks on her music sheet. Today I was reminded that there's a time to let my pen rest and just listen to the song she's been writing on her own. It makes my eye corners unstable, but it's really quite beautiful.

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I drove up Canal Street this evening just as dusk painted the sky in soft pink hues. I snapped a picture in my head, committing such beauty to memory. Our youngest Rylie was almost finished with flute lessons and I was on my way to pick her up. She received some recognition at school today so I cooked up a quick plan as I turned left into the high school parking lot.

She opened the car door and slid in the passenger seat, quickly taking charge of the music selection. I announced that I was taking her to get a cake pop and drink to celebrate today's good news.

While I drove she selected songs that we both knew. She cranked up the volume while we sang loud. We didn't care that we erroneously belted out every fifth word. We were unashamed at the moments we missed the notes.

We got our celebration concessions and decided to cruise what has become our mother/daughter drag from Helena Avenue down to the access road where we make our way to Spurlock and then around the school. A song from a show I'm familiar with came on. To my surprise she gave a solid summary of the show.

Projecting a voice of curiosity more than judgement I asked her where she'd seen it. I'd watched a few episodes but hadn't been in favor of some of the agendas that were pushed on the show. Regrettably she'd seen it on Netflix at our house on my iPad. She mentioned that the girls were talking about it at school and that she'd seen me have it on a time or two so had decided it was ok to watch it.

I told her that I'd quit watching the show because it wasn't appropriate. We established new rules for show choices and usage of the iPad. Here's the kicker. It went abnormally well! As I typically do when situations surprise me, I did an assessment.

I'd just been asking myself this week what boundaries I should set in keeping her straight. In addition to being her moral guide I've appointed myself her social/fashion coach. Just yesterday I pointed out a few things I found slightly bothersome; a laugh that was too boisterous. I also explained her inability to recognize when she was talking too fast, and too loud, and too expressively.

I was rescuing her from possible rejection by teaching her to be more peer pleasing I told myself.

I'm certain she was wishing someone would rescue her from me.

I believe a certain rescue happened tonight as I sang with her rather obnoxiously and off key. She was rescued from the weight of hovering expectation. We both plugged our own words into the parts of the songs we didn't know...and it was ok. It was a good rhythm, us singing, just for a moment unworried about whether or not we were getting it all right.

Too many times I miss the opportunity to promote security and freedom in this soul that's currently plagued by expectation everywhere she goes. I'm a watchdog around the clock making sure she never forgets to wash her face. I tell her that her navy shirt would look better with a lighter pair of jeans. I do her ponytail in the morning to avoid her attending sixth grade with less superior hair.

Home should be the place where they're safest not getting it all right. In addition to receiving necessary instruction and consequences, time with us should be time when our children can let their perfect pony-tailed hair down as much as our good sense allows.

Life is more harmonious when we look for times to sing with them, and not just over them. They just might handle things a little better when we have to put our hand back on the dial.



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Imagine hearing that there's been a shooting at your child's school.  You frantically drive to the school, your heart undecided if it's going to beat right out of your chest or if it's going to stop beating altogether.  That's what moms and dads faced today after hearing that there was a mass shooting at their kids' high school.

(Photo credits of wtop.com)

Two high school students, one fifteen year old female and one male, lost their lives today in Hickory, Kentucky. Nineteen students have been injured. I've read every update that has popped up on my phone screen. I can't imagine having been one of the students in the Commons Area this morning who ran to the nearest business for safety.

I can come closer to imagining what it must have been like to be a mom waiting outside the school this morning. She calls her child's phone.  It goes straight to voicemail.  She sends a text, "Call me". Her eyes scan the crowd and then dart back to the school, and then to her phone. She stares at the screen.

The Daily Mail talked to one mom, Heather Adams, who had already gotten word that her child was safe.  Seeing another distraught mother, she went to her and offered to help her locate her child.  Upon finding out the woman's son's name, Adams texted her own child to find out if the woman's son was one of the injured. Unbelievably, the woman's son ended up being the shooter who had already been taken into custody.  The words spoken next by this gracious woman provided an impact that I hope will change me forever. Adams stated,

“I held her hair while she threw up… She needed an ambulance.

She was going into shock. And I couldn’t get an ambulance there. I got yelled at by the police for calling for an ambulance… We got a firefighter’s coat to put on her.”

If we're honest, we, as a society, don't want to relate to this mom; this woman who birthed a gunman. She's not one of us.  Surely she abused him or bought him the gun, we surmise.  We need to believe she hasn't given him the love he needed. If none of those things, we know one thing. She's the mother of a monster,  a species unlike our own.

God bless this woman named Heather who stayed by her side. Thank you that in the midst of this dark tragedy she doesn't ignore the fact that this woman is a suffering mother; someone who wildly drove to the school just like all of the other mothers, barely able to breathe until she could be sure her son was ok. She never got that affirmation.

This story reminds me of one I heard just yesterday. Three teenagers from a neighboring county (who were too young to be driving) snuck out of the house where they were staying.  There was a car accident and one of the passengers, just fourteen years old, lost her life. In usual reckless fashion I read the comments.

Where were the parents?

Who gave them the keys?

This is why you raise your kids right.

At the thought of such pointless loss we fall to our knees and dig our fingers into the soil beneath us, grasping for a piece of solid ground.  We try to explain why it happened.  In the explanation we form, one thing is vital. We reason that this dark thing that has happened? ...it happens with children who don't have good parents. We often think the same with parents whose children get caught sexting or 'drinking and driving' or doing drugs.

Grave mistakes are made and terror is acted out only by children whose parents don't love them. Tragedy occurs because parents hand the keys over to their thirteen year old in the middle of the night encouraging them to go on a joy ride. These things only happen when parents don't teach their kids right from wrong. It only happens to the irresponsible and unloving variety of moms and dads. We tell ourselves such things because we fumble for peace.

My heart goes out to the families of the two children who lost their lives today.  I pray for the kids from Hickory high school, many of whom will likely sleep in their parents' bedroom tonight and will suffer psychologically for years to come. My heart hurts for the family in Mauriceville who will never kiss their daughter goodnight again. My heart is also torn for the family of this boy whose mind turned dark in a way we'll never understand. They're grieving their own loss.

Thank you to the lady in Hickory today who reminded us of that.

Lord grant us a heart big enough to love all those who suffer.



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I wear a number of hats, figuratively speaking.  (I have friends who are cute in baseball caps and winter beanies.  I'm slightly jealous because I look ridiculous in those.) The other hats I wear, for the most part, are the same kind you wear.

I wear the Wife hat, Mom hat, Daughter hat, Sister hat, and Friend hat. I'm comfortable in these forms of attire.  The hats I wear that I'm less comfortable with include being organizer...or speaker... I remember when I was asked to model for a church event five years ago. Hallie came down with the flu just days before the event. I had to back out. I was a little relieved.

Yesterday, in church of all places, another role I play was announced right from the pulpit.

I was called Satan.

My husband, Jason, not only found a way to talk about jelly donuts during his sermon. He managed to compare me to the Father of Lies.

"Any kind of jelly donut is good", he said. "Except for the lemon ones.  Only Satan eats those."

My oldest daughter, Hallie, leaned her body toward me as if waiting for a confession of what she already had occasionally suspected. "Yeah," I whispered. "Lemon is my favorite kind."

At least I'm in good company.  The book of Matthew has just finished telling us that Peter had declared Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. It isn't long before Peter has to go and mess that up.

Several verses later Jesus explains that he will suffer and be killed, and then also that he will be raised to life three days later. Then Peter rebukes JESUS, the one he just referred to as the Son of the living God. He tells Jesus, "Never Lord!"

This is where Jesus says to Peter,

"Get behind me, Satan! ...you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." Matthew 16:23

How many times am I consumed by  human concerns rather than the concerns of God?

It's in parenting that I struggle the most with humanity, the extra special mom brand. (Maybe not quite as boldly as Peter) I tell God Nothis can't happen. I get right in front of him with my sword ready to cut off the ear of anyone or anything that threatens the health or happiness of my kids.

Like the Father of lies, I whisper falsehoods in my heart. I tell myself that the only way to fix a problem we face is to fix it myself. I might even pray and hand over the reigns to God. But I almost always take them back.

Without weighing my thoughts on the holy scale, I'm burdened by things that God would tell me not to give a second thought to, if I only listened.

So this morning I write to you as a mother, and as a friend.  I'm writing from my living room, still in my pajamas. I wore them while dropping my youngest, Rylie off at school this morning. I'm Satan in pajamas.

But I'm about to change.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:3



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A while back I was struggling terribly. I was heartbroken and worried over one of my kids. I remember not wanting to be around people for a short time because I didn't know how to act like everything was normal. Thoughts of how we were going to get through it were near the only thoughts I had.

I plastered a smile on my face anytime I went out into public. I wasn't trying to be fake, it's just that the smile served as a weak dam holding back a flood of emotion. My faking it, I believed, was a grace gift.

Those days conversations dangerously teetered toward my painfully overwhelming those who'd just bargained for small talk. I also risked sharing too much. Just as I wouldn't want my own mistakes broadcasted, it can be a bit irresponsible and unfair to share a loved one's struggles, especially to someone who doesn't know them as fully and wonderfully as I know them.

It was more recently, in another struggle, that I clearly remember being asked the question that often makes me lie.

How are you?

It was after church. I'd gathered my purse and visually located my kids. I was ready to leave, that is, right after speaking to few people who were still at church. I walked to the back of the sanctuary to hug a friend when she asked. It wasn't a greeting, or merely out of habit. With sincerity in her voice she asked, How are you?

The truth was, I wasn't good.

I considered whether I should lie (I'm great) or answer honestly (Well...I near dehydrated myself from crying my eyeballs out this past week. How are you?). A bystander fortunately changed the subject.

I wasn't in the condition to rightly answer that question.

In the grocery store checkout line and in a host of other places, while in passing we ask and are asked the question, How are you? Sometimes it's heartfelt, other times it's a pleasantry. The answer for me is, most of the time, more complicated than small talk can address.

God's truth, the only truth, tells me I'm ok. My family is ok. I do know the truth.

There's also something to be said about honesty.

My life stays swarmed by those underlying peace-robbers, my feelings. Even though God is working in my life, and in my family's life, I still too often find myself anxious, exhausted and crushed.

I'm all for finding a listening ear. I personally believe I have a decent one. If you're suffering through something, I'll listen and I'll care. But before much talking at all goes on between acquaintances and friends we do best to talk and listen to the problem expert, the truth giver...the only one who can mend a hurting heart.

If you're not talking to God about it, it does little good to talk to anybody else about it.

I recently approached that same friend after church, the one whose question I had previously been able to dodge. This time I knew she was struggling. I asked her how she was doing. She simply whispered , "Pray for me". Grabbing her hand and squeezing it we both stayed silent, but communicated everything that was necessary for the moment.

Before having lunch with her later that week, I prayed for her. I'm so thankful for this friend; that our response to the question How are you? can be answered honestly in a thousand pain-filled words... or with silence.

We're learning that the truth to 'how we are' is realized in prayer.

...For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

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I can hear the dishwasher humming.  The washing machine is running too.  I feel a small sense of accomplishment today.

The bedding for our dogs is currently being sanitized. One of our friends, either Ashlee the genius mutt or Griffin our socially awkward Schnauzer, messed in the crate last night. It was probably just an accident but I'm trying to convince myself that the mess was a message that one of our dogs, like myself, is fed up with this nasty weather.

I wasn't the first one who noticed the mess in the dog's crate.  I didn't let them out this morning and have spent the day with a dual stopped up/runny nose.  My husband, Jason, had the misfortune of finding the treasure buried in the dogs' blanket.

As much as I hate cleaning up dog poop, I cringed as I saw him start to clean up the mess.  My mind raced back to other times he volunteered to remedy a messy situation, like the time he decided to wash my favorite rug with a water hose. (I miss that rug.) Would he clean up this mess in a manner I saw fit?

Determined to let him prove himself capable, I planted my feet there in the kitchen where I had my own thing to do and promised to keep quiet. There was stench-y, stained dog bedding in his hands.  I was going to allow the stuff to stay there. 

I did snap a picture of his efforts, but was disallowed sharing privileges. He didn't say I couldn't tell you about it though. With a shovel and a jug of Gain, not only did he wash the dogs' bedding, he provided me a few fresh breaths of air needed to do some thinking.

  1. It is not always my job to fix everything.
  2. It's not my job to tell others how to fix everything.

I'm not strong enough.  I'm not wise enough.

I'm not created to fix/control/handle everything.

When I attempt to do it all/be it all, I'm robbing others the chance to be a part of improvement.

When I do it myself, I steal the opportunity that someone has to learn how to do it. 

And here's the biggest one...

In believing that only I can make things right, no trust exists.

It seems to have become annual ritual to have a word of the year. Never one to rigidly follow the rules I'm going to hang on two, the two hardest words for a parent to hear...

"Let go"

I scratched out a prayer in my spiral last week.  To summarize my impulsive scrawling, I prayed that God would help me let go in a particular situation regarding one of my children. I was given almost immediate (and heart-twisting) opportunity to do so...and I stunk it up.  Daily, since then, I'm continuing to stink it up. (Stink upon stink, I'm worse than my dogs.) Even though I'm learning to say the right things out loud, proper trust is absent from my heart.

It's in my DNA to want to wrestle over mess that's already in capable arms.

My faith calls for better.

Dear God, please help us as parents to seek change in our heart's makeup. Help us to trust you more.  Help us to recognize our limits and your limitlessness, In 2018 help us to let go of things that your strong arms already hold.

The Dog Poop Cleaner/My Favorite Set of Earthly Arms


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Is it supposed to rain?, she asked, paying more attention to the obvious wet and clouds than I was. Our youngest reached down into our big wicker basket in the front room that contains a myriad of going out type objects (jackets, a canvas tote for groceries, a pair of flip flops...). She grabbed a maimed umbrella, the only kind we have and tucked it under a full arm. She was determined, as she always is, to be prepared for the elements.

I'm ok with the elements as long as I can hide from them.  Last night the rain was beautiful from underneath my roof. Our shingles became an auditorium of applause as they hosted the raindrops. It was an appropriate ending to a nicely orchestrated day. Untouched, safe...dry under the sheets, I was lulled to sleep.

The rain isn’t always so nice. It interjects itself in my path at the most inconvenient times. Like a family member whose urgent need is to call me when I’m in an important meeting, the rain demands my attention when I'm ill-equipped to handle it. It comes at me when I have a car full of groceries that need unloading. Storms dilly dally in early afternoons choosing arrival precisely at 3:25, the time the kids get out of school. And this is just the inconsequential stuff, there's rain that reeks real havoc.

Rain that I didn't order, rain that doesn't wait to be invited, rain that gets close enough to touch my skin isn't welcome. When it imposes itself, I run. Not the fun kind of running where I allow my feet to make artful splashes. Come to think of it, rain in close proximity causes me to run, not in it, from it. I avoid it. As if it holds no purpose I do my best to escape it. 

Soggy scenarios are often unavoidable. I know too that there's a rhythm to rain, a reason for it.

Because we can't hide from the rain maybe we ought to learn to tromp more boldly in it. More than escape, we need to remember our covering. Something we can hold on to when we can't control the elements. Something that will assure us that, yes, there's a time to run and there's a time to be still . But more, there's a time to move deliberately, even in a downpour. We need to replace broken umbrellas those things, in error, we keep around that are unable of providing the protection we need.

Scripture talks about refuge. We're allowed to hide.  A refuge, still and strong, provides safety, but most refuges are notably immobile. We're sometimes called to move, to face the rain.

Let me dwell in your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4

God provides us a tent and wings, a covering for when we're called to move, because we can't always hide or escape.

For in him we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28

Someone has said You can't run and you can't hide.  For those times I can't, I'm getting rid of broken umbrellas. I ordered two new ones this morning, one pink and one mint green. If inevitable rain is on my radar, I'm determined to walk, maybe resign to some intentional splashing.

In what way, that you've been avoiding, is God calling you to move?

I recently learned I must be decent at lip reading because I discovered that I can hear someone better when we're face to face, as opposed to when they're trying to talk to me from the backseat of the car or from another room. I've become a decent lip-reader because of my inability to hear well. Because of this hearing handicap I've also become a decent texter. I can tap out a novel length text fairly quickly. I prefer texting to talking because I can read better than I can hear.

I have a great texting relationship with my kids. I've even learned to send appropriate emojis and and cute avatar poses to liven up our conversations.

The oldest texts me at midnight to let me know he's on his way home. The middle texts me to tell me what she made on her Algebra 2 exam. And the youngest and I have text battles as to who loves the other the most.

Despite our healthy communication line, there's one text I occasionally get though that annoys me immensely...The Question Mark text.

The two oldest will text me a random question or statement like

What are we having for supper?

Or

Why are we going to church so early?

If I don't answer with

1. Adequate haste

2. Excellent clarity

Immediately comes the question mark text.

It's as if to say Umm...I'm Waiting, or...Explain yourself.

I guess it gets on my nerves because I always return texts to my children in good time. I'm also extremely generous in my effort to help them understand why we're doing what we're doing/going where we're going...

Can't they just trust me? How about a little patience? How about using adequate words to express your desire for an answer instead of just a sentence -ender? Is it even grammatically legal to use punctuation without words?

The solitary and unfriendly question mark has made me ponder today. (Pondering is almost always dangerous.)

Do I ever respond to God, my Father in a likewise manner?

He lovingly communicates with me through His word and through His spirit. He is always available through prayer. He seeks to help me know His ways through gentle evidences of His wisdom, love and presence. Still, when I don't immediately have an answer to a question, my heart's response is often...

Really?

What?

Ughh!

Why?

I'm waiting...

God can surely handle any nature of question, but he doesn't deserve our lack of trust and improper way of seeking understanding.

This solitary question mark is reminding me to evaluate the assumption behind my questions.

When we question those things we don't understand and life's disappointing events, are we demanding that God explain Himself, or we are we humbly acknowledging our need for help in understanding? When we question God are we looking for a confirming response that He is our lifeline or are we tapping our fingers angrily on the table as if to say How do you explain this?!

I'm thinking I'll wrap my own questions up in more trust. Make my question marks a little softer, a little less emphatic. I'll frame my questions with words, trusting ones. Even when it's easier to send a question mark alone.

What are you asking of God today?

How are you asking?

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16



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I can't remember the last time I read a book from start to finish, but yesterday I did. Last night, bundled under a blanket and heating pad (I just couldn't get warm), I read the last page and then closed the book. The hard cover and book back felt so good between my hands, every word between, now my arsenal.

There's something about January that makes us want to eat better, do better, live better. This book I finished, Present Over Perfect , was the reminder I needed that life can be more full when we rid ourselves of the unnecessary. People-pleasing and ceaseless hustling, the author Niequist suggests, gets in the way of joyful, purposeful life. I'm guilty of both people-pleasing and hustling, something I intend to change.

So today, along with getting up at a decent hour and starting laundry, it was my goal to immediately practice simpler living. After sorting mounds of clothes and starting a load this morning, I threw together ingredients for a hearty soup we'd have for supper. I gave myself an imaginary check mark for following the meal calendar that hung on the fridge.

I quickly (something close to a hustle) assembled a lunch salad for Jason and pulled my hair back in a ponytail. Grabbing the first pair of jeans that came out of the dryer I got dressed. My youngest, Rylie, and I would spend the afternoon together.

While shopping we found a coat that fit her nicely...and we both liked it. I gave myself another check mark (clothes agreement tends to be anything but simple). I even let her sit in a rolling chair with lilac cushions that invitingly sat in the middle of TJ Maxx. I was patient...not at all hustle-y.

I was so patient and lacks i daisical that I suggested we find a place in the mall to get her hair cut (She was in desperate need). Again we were in agreement. At this point I gave myself fireworks instead of checkmarks, because this mom and daughter date was booming.

We had no wait for a haircut. A sweet lady that reminded me of my older daughter Hallie's friend, took Rylie straight back and washed her hair. I sat directly across from the stylist chair, ready to watch the simple transformation, from messy ponytail to a shorter, smoother "do".

We were having a great conversation about Christmas and good eating places when three employees (two girls and a guy) walked past us and into the workroom two chairs down and to the left.

Their conversation, which was much louder than ours, turned downright vulgar in a matter of moments. In patient mode I waited for the conversation to turn, or get quieter, but neither happened. My face burned with embarrassment and my heart twisted in agitation. My twelve-year-old daughter was hearing cringe-y information that she could live a lifetime without.

Just when I gained the courage to get up and go peek my head in and request that they turn their X-rated sex talk down a few decibels, one of them closed the door.

I sunk in my chair. The situation had been diffused, but not by any good choice of mine. Every checkmark and firework I'd accrued rained down in my head like ash. I hadn't had the courage to do what was needed.

Though I refrained from hustling today, my need to people please rose above my parental duty. I don't protect my kids from everything. They're going to encounter unsavory behavior from time to time. The difference is, today I knew in my heart that it was in my power, and it was my God-appointed purpose to speak up, and I didn't.

I was afraid of causing a scene. I feared I'd embarrass my kid. I felt sure that my efforts would be neither appreciated or understood. I also had little confidence that my words would change their behavior (They'd already walked by and saw us there).

In my effort to refrain from trouble-making, I'd silently pleased everyone in the salon except for the loud voice in my head urging me to do the hard thing, the right thing.

Fear of being misunderstood or offending, it seems, is more important than offending my God.

So hustling? I know what that looks like. I need less of it. I'll continue to practice a slower rhythm again tomorrow just like I did today.

People pleasing? I saw that as large as life in a salon mirror today bearing my image. I was reminded what it looks like with my daughter looking on. Rylie received a simple transformation today. It looks like mine will prove to be a little more complicated.

...just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4


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Just this morning Christmas bells wrapped in tissue were placed in a box.  Since being purchased a week or so ago, their only ringing was muffled as they never made it out of their tissue paper cocoon.  I had an idea of who to give them to, but never got around to it.  Maybe next year.

The house is quiet today. The only sound is that of a quiet hum of a new kitchen appliance and the occasional yelp of our Schnauzer announcing that someone, or some pesky cat is walking down our street.

The house also seems quite empty. Our Christmas tree and our dollar store nutcracker collection has gone back into its eleven month hibernation. Missing from my vision, as I type, are the Christmas tree lights whose rays stretch out and merrily bump into one another when you squint your eyes.

Strangely I'm not saddened by either the silence or space. In fact, I'm kind of energized. 2018 is around the corner, and for all that's been put away and removed, boundless opportunity is in its place.

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Two days ago I enjoyed a movie with a caravan of family members.  Prior to our screen time we'd stuffed ourselves with chips and salsa and fajitas.  After purchasing our tickets, still full, I was asked by the man behind the counter if we wanted any concessions. Why not?, I asked myself.  And so I ordered. He held up a novelty plastic bucket commemorating Star Wars, a movie I've neither seen, or care to see. Want your popcorn in this limited edition container?, he probed. And again I answered, Why not? It's a question I daily rhetorically ask and answer.

Why not eat that thing...buy that thing...do that thing?

This morning that bucket lies useless on my kitchen counter. It's a reminder that there's a more important question than Why not. With this gift of another year I intend to start asking myself a different question...Why? 

Why do we waste money on the things we don't need?

Why do we throw away time when experience tells us that each day is precious and not in-expendable, contrary to the way we're so accustomed to behave?

Why do we allow the purposeless to crowd beautiful space we've been given?  

Why do we get used-up and bruised by the Why-nots, that army of the insignificant, when God has so much more in store for us, things that really matter?

Why does God have me here on earth? Among this group of people? "At such a time as this...?"

And one last, less-important question, Why is that commemorative Star Wars bucket still on my kitchen counter?

...Anybody want it?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

May your 2018 be so empty it's full!