When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Candy Wars

Due to sickness and snow, the kids and I haven't attended a MOPS meeting in months. We were all very excited to return today. When we left, Parker was given a bag of Christmas goodies (including a few pieces of candy).

The debate began the moment the bag was opened.

Parker: Mommy, can I eat a piece of candy right now?

Me: No, but you may have some after lunch.

Parker: Do I get to eat all of it after lunch?

Me: No, that would give you a tummy ache. You can have a few pieces.

Parker: No it wouldn't! I'm gonna eat it all after lunch!

Me: You may have two pieces.

Parker: Three!

Me [warning tone]: Parker -

Parker [doing his best mommy impression]: Let's just argue about it when we get there, k?

I turned my head so he couldn't see me giggling. That kid knows how to argue.


Baby bits

The kids are very excited about having a new baby at our house. Parker asks lots of questions - some of which I hesitate to answer. For example, this morning he asked how the baby would get out. I told him I had a special opening. (I was really glad he didn't ask to see it!)

A few weeks ago, when I slipped on the ice while making my way around the van, Parker exclaimed, "Be careful, momma! If you fall and get hurt, it might unplug the extension cord! Then the baby couldn't eat!"

I think Maddie is a little confused. I used to always say, "I love you baby girl," and give her kisses. Now I try to remember to refer to her as my "big girl." We talk about how I love Parker and Maddie and the baby in my belly. The idea of Maddie being the baby I love and the baby being the baby I love seem to be all mixed up in her mind. Whenever I kiss Maddie and tell her I love her, she says, "Doctors check belly!"

Both kids pat my belly, and Parker even kissed it the other day.

I am so happy about their excitement I could cry. When I was pregnant with Maddie, I was full of fear [for good reason]. When she arrived, Parker was only 18 months old, still a baby himself. Let's just say, it was not pretty. The first few months of her life were so difficult (for everyone), that I have completely blocked them out of my memory.

This time around, the kids are so excited they have even chosen possible names for our addition. The names include: Sebastian (their cousin), Diego, Dora, and Alejo.

Feel free to vote for your favorite.


My Biggest Challenge

One of our pastors today made a pretty disturbing statement:

"Despite your best efforts to offer your child a quality education and enroll him in enriching activities like music or sports and make him into a good, well-rounded person, none of it will really matter in 100 years or so."

I realized he was right. I have been thinking about it for weeks now. The pastor went on to say that the one thing that will be important is whether or not our children had a relationship with the Lord. Again, I agreed. But how???

How does an imperfect, often selfish, hot-tempered mommy reflect God's love adequately to her offspring - enough to make them desire a relationship with Him? I have wrestled with this very question over and over. I have tried to be "better." I have prayed with the kids and taught them Bible verses, but still the nagging fear remained: You'll never be good enough to save them.

And it's true. I can't save my kids. No one human being is responsible for my relationship with God. Many people [I deemed "Jesus freaks" at the time] planted seeds through the years. Eventually, I fell in love.

I remember when I used to hear people say they "fell in love" with Jesus. The whole concept kind of creeped me out. In my mind, true love lead to marriage and other things that I didn't necessarily want to think about doing with my Lord. Know what I mean?

But as my heart softened and I began to read His Word (written for me and to me), I began to see Him as a knight in shining armor. Ready to defend me. Ready to scoop me into his arms and tell me how precious I am to Him. Ready to forgive any and all past offenses. Jealous for my affection. Ready to die for me before I even knew Him. Royalty who loved me first - and waited anxiously for my reply. Who could resist?

I know I did for the longest time. I pray they won't be so stubborn. My greatest hope for my children is that they will truly know the love of the Lord. It's my greatest hope for everyone.

So I will do my part. I will make the introduction and pray my heart out. The rest is in God's hands.


A touching song about God's love by the David Crowder Band: How He Loves


Excerpt from Max Lucado's book It's Not About Me:

But who has plumbed the depths of God's love? Only God has. "Want to see the size of my love?" he invites. "Ascend the winding path outside of Jerusalem. Follow the dots of bloody dirt until you crest the hill. Before looking up, pause and hear me whisper, 'This is how much I love you.'"

Whip-ripped muscles drape his back. Blood rivulets over his face. His eyes and lips are swollen shut. Pain rages at wildfire intensity. As he sinks to relieve the agony of his legs, his airway closes. At the edge of suffocation, he shoves pierced muscles against the spike and inches up the cross. He does this for hours. Painfully up and down until his strength and our doubts are gone.

Does God love you? Behold the cross and behold your answer.



After nap, the kids were helping me in the kitchen. I was mopping, and they were "cleaning" the appliances with a spray [water] bottle and paper towels. Amazing how they can fight over almost anything...

Parker: Maddie! I get to clean the trashcan! (indicating by his snide tone that she would not be allowed to have the pleasure).

Not to be outdone, Maddie cleverly swiped the water spray bottle while his back was turned, then shouted, "No share! No share [with] Bubba!"

Parker (whining): Mommy! Maddie's not giving me a turn!

Maddie: Oh. Here you go, Bubba.

Approximately 10 seconds later, ear splitting shrieks filled the air. "Maddie's turn!"

Parker (calmly): Mommy, Maddie didn't ask 'pwease.'

Maddie: Pwease, Bubba. (transfer of ridiculously important spray bottle)

Maddie: Sank you.

Was the drama worth a clean kitchen? You betcha!


No win

Ever feel like you just can't win?

Today as I was tucking Parker in for his nap, he said, "Mama, why can't you just read me a story or tell me one?"

Me: Because I just spent "special time" with you. (Special time occurs during the first half hour after Maddie has been put down for her nap. Parker chooses the activity, makes up the rules, and has my undivided attention.)

Parker: Well...that didn't make me happy.

Me: That's too bad (struggling to keep all traces of sarcasm from my voice).

Parker: You didn't make me happy. (This boy has a future as a critic.)

Me: Hmmm...That is too bad because I try really hard.

Parker: You never make me happy.

Me: Love you. Good night.




Parker has recently become very interested in Scooby Doo cartoons. His current favorite episode (which we watch over and over and over courtesy of streaming Netflix) is set in Mexico. The gang has to solve the mystery of the Chupacabra (a bigfoot-type creature). It is quite large, hairy, and scary. It has sharp, pointy teeth and roars loudly. Parker loves it.

He loves it so much, in fact, that we often have Chupacabra re-enactments in our home. Parker chooses the cast (usually Aaron is the Chupacabra and the rest of us are "the gang"), sets the stage (usually involving an elaborate trap of tape and string), and directs the show ("No, no, no! The Chupacabra roars like this...").

The other day, he decided I was to be the Chupacabra. He tied me up to the bathroom vanity (which was perfect since I was cleaning it anyway) and shut the door. A short time later, I heard him say so sweetly, "Come here, Maddie. I have something I wanna show ya. C'mon!"

I could hear them approaching the door. He stuck his head inside. I could see he was holding Maddie's hand. It was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes.

Then he said, "Oh Chupacabra...I brought a snack for you!" and presented his sister.


Nana's Party

My husband's mother, Susie, married a wonderful man named Bill about 8 years ago. We love his family dearly. His mother (whom all the children call "Nana") recently turned 100. We drove up to Indianapolis to celebrate her birthday with the family at the assisted living facility where she lives.

Parker was in hog heaven. Cookies, cousins, balloons, oh my! Aaron attempted to reign him in a few times, whispering in his ear. Apparently Aaron told him he and his [older] cousins could run around the first floor of the facility as long as they were all together and they didn't go outside. We watched him race around and around as we chatted with rarely seen extended family members.

As Parker darted past, Aaron caught his arm and asked, "Now what is the rule, buddy?"

The group of adults with whom we were speaking smiled down at him.

"The rule is: If someone tries to touch my penis, I yell, 'NO! STRANGER DANGER!'"

Oh. The other rule.
Happy birthday, Nana.