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


Happy Anniversary 2015 - Maldives

I heard "our" song the other day.  It was from 1996.  The one-hit-wonder, Donna Lewis, released "I Love You Always Forever."  I shook my head and smiled as I drove down the road.  They play the weirdest things in Singapore sometimes!

I love you, always forever.
Near and far, close and together.
Everywhere I will be with you.
Everything I will do for you.

At 18 it had a different meaning than it does now.  Back then it meant I would drive to visit you at the University of Kentucky on the weekends (while I attended Murray State University).  Then at 22, it meant we would move, as newlyweds, to Cincinnati, Ohio.  As the years passed, it meant moving together every 18 months to 3 years so that we could sleep in the same bed.  You were offered high-travel jobs many times, but we opted to move together as a family to avoid those roles.

Now here we are in Singapore.  I still love you, "always forever."  The "near and far" part has never been more true for us.  You've traveled more in one year than you have during our 19 years together.  It's been challenging.  There have been many times I've complained, "I didn't sign up for this!"  But sometimes that just what marriage is: something you didn't sign up for.  Spouses grow and change.  Jobs change.  Health changes.  Love is a choice and a commitment.  It is joy and pain and work and wonderful.  It has evolved over the years from our teenage infatuation into the real deal.

I have fallen in love with you over and over.  From the butterflies in my stomach during our first kiss on the sidewalk in front of your mom's house, to the pride in seeing you in your first suit as you went on that GE job interview, to the excitement of our honeymoon, to the surge of our joy watching you hold our newborn, to the tearful gratitude for your silence about the piles of dishes in the sink and the offer to clean up the sick baby's vomit, to the wonder of exploring the world together with our family.

I knew you when every hair on your head was still black (except for that one weird white one you've had all along), when the laugh lines around your eyes disappeared when you weren't smiling, when you owned (and used) all that fancy climbing gear, when you didn't know how to change a diaper.

We grew up together.  And God-willing, we'll continue to grow together.  Thank you for loving me back.

Love always,

P.S.  Thanks for planning and arranging our amazing anniversary trip!  I'll never forget it!


How Could You Be So Careless?

To the guard at school who asked me that question when I came to collect my missing wallet: thanks.  I've suspected for a long time that I should not have been granted adult status.  I'm too flighty, too scattered, too spirited, you name it, I'm too it.  

And yet, here I am...Late 30's, four kids to look after, and somehow surviving.  I wish I had answered that guard, "Pfft!  This?  This is nothing.  You should have seen me earlier when I'd lost my daughter in Ikea!"

Yup.  Lost Maddie today.  What is it about Ikea on the weekend in Singapore?  People flock to that place like American southerners to a grocery store on a snow day.  Wall-to-wall people.  So many I can hardly breathe.  In our desperation to get in and out, Aaron and I separated so he could take Jack on an emergency potty-break while I checked on the mattresses.  I watched Maddie follow them, asked my question of the salesclerk, and hightailed it out of there with Parker and Caleb.  Walking briskly to the bathrooms, it occurred to me that Aaron might not have known Maddie was following him.  Call, no answer.  Call, no answer.  Text.  Wait.  "No, she's with you."

It's a good think Caleb is too young to comprehend bad language.  I try hard not to use expletives, but in situations such as these, they have been known to escape my lips.  If Parker heard, he didn't let on. We ran through the sea of people.  All pretenses of manners and personal space flew out the window.  As we approached the bedding section, I saw an employee coming toward us, consoling my tearful girl.  

How am I allowed to care for multiple children?  I can barely take care of myself!  And concerned, wallet-holding guard, you should have seen the time I drove for nearly 2 miles with my wallet on top of the car as motorists frantically tried to pantomime their concerns.  

Am I careless?  Perhaps.  If you look at the definition of the word, perhaps you're right.  But I really don't like that word.  I do care.  I just happen to care about a lot of things at once.  Like properly buckling my children in their car seats (when I left my wallet on top of the car).  And like watching all four of them climb jungle gyms simultaneously this morning (when I left my wallet on that bench).  

Now as far as losing Maddie at Ikea…That one's a bit harder to explain.  That was bad.  In the end I'm really proud of her for following our instructions (go back to where you first were, seek out the help of an employee, etc.).  But situations like that cause me to wonder...How did I get to be an adult?  Did someone in charge make a mistake along the way?

Well, the only real One in charge is God, and immediately His word comes to mind:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The most organized, caring, detail-oriented Being I know seems to think I can do this job.  So I’m just gonna go with that!


Happy birthday, little man

Dear Jack,

Son, I wish I could type the words that would capture your spirit, and wrestle it onto this post, frozen for all eternity, so that anyone who read it would marvel at you the way I do.  But how does one bottle a giggle or trap a devilish grin?  Who is privy to hushed conversations shared with invisible super-heroes?  Who understands the sweetness of a forbidden thumb?  No camera has adequately recorded the sparkle in your big, round, blue eyes, peeking out from long, dark lashes.  No video, the skip in your step.  

One of my biggest fears is forgetting.  Forgetting the softness of your cheek on my skin, as your curl up next to me in the big green chair where we read about ninjas and dinosaurs and cars.  The silky, springy texture of your hair as my lips kiss the top of your head.  The chubby fingers wrapped around mine as we walk down stairs.  You no longer need my hand for balance.  You choose my hand, and my heart melts, and my eyes leak.

I am excited about this year.  We will begin homeschooling.  I've never been a teacher, and you've never been a student.  We will learn and grow together, you and I.  That's one of the things I love most about you, Jacky-Jack...Though you are my third child, you are constantly teaching me new things about myself and parenting (namely that I still don't know what I'm doing!).  You keep me on my toes.  Whether you are jumping into the deep end of the pool, throwing a massive temper tantrum in an ancient temple, or surprising me with an unsolicited kiss, you are teaching me to expect the unexpected and to live in the moment.

I love you to bits, sweet boy.  Happy 4th birthday!


P.S. This post was quite late this year...I was waiting for the perfect picture, and I think I found it, little monkey!