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


The Fear

The fear is creeping in.  It always does when we are on the brink of a new move.  All of the unknowns come crashing down, and suddenly I feel totally inadequate.  There are many times I have doubted my parenting abilities; moving just tends to magnify those insecurities.  I've hopped aboard the roller coaster.  One day I am elated at the prospect of a new adventure, the next I am sitting in a chair, hugging my knees, tears streaming.

This evening I spent a great deal of time researching all sorts of things about Singapore online.  Sighing, I pushed back from the desk and tiptoed into Maddie's room to sing her favorite song to her as she slept.  It's a beautiful song by Joe McDermott called "Great Big World."  And tonight it broke my heart.  I had to stop because I was afraid my crying would wake her.

In the song, a father sings to his infant, "Someday I'm gonna hold your little hand [and] walk around this great big world."  That part I've got.  Walk around the world together?  Check.  But then he goes on to sing about all the things he can't wait to share with his baby and teach his baby…walking out into the backyard, climbing trees, exploring the garden, lightening bugs.  It all sounds so safe and wonderful and familiar.

Suddenly, my confidence is gone.  Zilch.  I got nothin'.  I'm not even sure we will have a backyard, much less plant a garden there.  Can a garden withstand monsoon season?  Sure I can Google it, but as far as personal experience, forget it.  How will I guide the kids around "this great big world" when I don't even know what to expect?  It's like the blind leading the blind.

And what about American traditions?  Will they remember what it's like to watch fireworks on the 4th of July?  I think about their lemonade stands and camping in the woods.  Is that all a part of our past?  Does Santa come to the mall in Singapore?  Is climbing trees against the law (like chewing gum - no joke!)?

There is so much I don't know about our new home.  As Aaron read aloud information about local customs and laws this evening, I grew more and more nervous.

Don't point at someone with your foot or show the bottoms of your feet to others; it's considered very disrespectful.

Don't use your left hand to hold your utensils, as left hands are considered reserved for bathroom functions (ew!).

Don't pat children or others on the head, as the head is seen as sacred.

Don't spit on the ground or you could be fined.

Pornography [including public nudity] is illegal and could result in fines or imprisonment.

Don't forget to flush a public toilet, or you could be caned?!

I am pretty sure that my left-handed husband, my ever-wrestling, head-patting, kicking kids, and my own foot fetish are going to land us in jail.  Did I mention that Jack tends to forget to flush the potty, pees outside, and often refuses to wear pants?  Oy vey!

Despite my laundry list of worries, I am comforted tonight by familiar verses:

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 

No matter where we go in this great big world, God is with us.  He is the guide.  He is the protector.  And it is with that blessed assurance I will lay down my head and rest.

Proverbs 3:24
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 


Bloom where you are planted

My mom taught us to do our own laundry at a very early age.  I spent a good deal of time in the laundry room (especially during my teenage years).  Hanging above the washing machine was a tiny framed drawing of a red flower growing out of a tin can with the caption: "Bloom where you are planted."

I always read that sentence and assumed it meant "stay."  The grass isn't always greener.  God has placed you here for a reason.  Grow roots.  Be content, etc.

So when my parents floated the idea of a move to New York when I was in high school, I balked.  I sobbed.  I pleaded with them to allow me to stay.  How would I survive anywhere else?  What about blooming where I had been planted?  We stayed.

My hometown is an amazing historic community called Portland within the larger city of Louisville, KY.  My grandmother lived most of her 99 years there within about a 4 block radius.  She had everything she needed: church, family, grocery, friends.  When the family pitched in and bought her a helicopter ride for her 95th birthday, she had the pilot circle Portland.  When her friends later told her she'd missed the excitement of a helicopter hovering above the church, Grandma told them with a twinkle in her eye that she hadn't missed the excitement; she was the excitement!

I love my roots.  I love that I walked to school every day until high school.  Grandma was only a 5 minute walk away, 2 minutes if I rode my bike.  High school was only a few miles away.  When Aaron and I got married and he got a job in Cincinnati, OH, I was terrified.  Cincinnati?!  That was an hour and half away!  Were they even in the same time zone??  I cried and cried.

But then God showed me the hidden meaning in the picture above the washing machine:  The flower was planted in a tin can.  Portable.  With His help I could "bloom" wherever He planted me.  He is the constant companion and Light.  He knows I need people in my life.  I crave friendship and community.  And He provides friends wherever we go…Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Washington, Texas...


Yup.  Literally halfway around the world.  Now I'm as adventurous as the next girl, but the thought of this big move takes my breath away.  Aaron and I will be traveling there in a few weeks to search for housing and schools.  We haven't signed on the dotted line yet…but I imagine that's coming soon.  And I can't wait to see what God has planned!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.    Joshua 1:9


Poop poem

Poop smears,
Mama tears.
Quiet evening disappears.

Disinfect and wash the seat,
Follow path of tiny feet.
Wash and clean and scrub the rugs.
"Don't count on a goodnight hug!"

Spray the cleaner, wipe the floors.
Mama rants and cleans some more.
Children hide behind the door.

Three year olds sometimes forget
Babies like to play in wet.
Mama rants...and then regrets.

Time to ditch the cleaning gear.
Kiss the cheek and dry the tear.
Quiet whispers in the ear:
"I love you...and I'm sorry, dear!"

Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing.


Happy happy birthday, Baby!

Dear Caleb,

My darling little momma's boy, happy first birthday to you!  Oh sweet child, how you take my breath away when I look into your huge baby blues.  When your coy little grin appears behind the thumb tucked in your mouth, my heart just melts.  You are all cuddles and hugs and open mouth kisses.  You are chubby knees and wobbly steps.  You are belly laughs and long lashes.  You are cotton candy hair and handfuls of dirt.

You are mine, you are mine, you are mine.  That is what I think to myself as I rock you in the early morning hours.  I can hardly believe I have been chosen to be your momma.  How is this angel mine?  I don't even mind that you wake me at 6 A.M. every single day.  It is our special time, before any of your siblings are awake.  You have your bottle, then rest your tiny head on my shoulder and snuggle deep into my arms and even deeper into my heart.  We read a few books, tickle, and giggle.  You are the best alarm clock I've ever had.

You are the easiest baby on the planet.  You entertain yourself with toys or pots and pans or toilet paper (*sigh*).  You watch your siblings and roll around on the floor with them like a little puppy.  You are content to go anywhere at any time, so long as you can be held by momma.  The baby carrier is your second home.  Nothing quite compares to feeling you drift off into sleep on my back, warm and snug, snoring softly.

I cannot imagine our lives without you.  To be honest, we weren't sure we could handle four children.  When I had Parker, I was pretty sure I wasn't qualified to handle even one!  But you are the perfect addition to our family, the missing puzzle piece.

You are our little baby Cay-Cay, little baby Coo-Coo, Cay-bub, Wayleb.  I am so excited to watch you grow, and so blessed to call you son.  Happy first birthday little man!

Psalm 127:4-5