Parenting in the light

Parenting in the light

It’s been awhile since I’ve added to our on-going series, You Are Not a Victim, You’re a Mom. I thought I’d do that today, simply because I woke up overwhelmed with gratitude that I’m not languishing in turbulent darkness anymore. Overwhelmed by joy is much more wonderful than being overwhelmed by all the people and all the discipline and all the feelings… I’ve come so far in my own personal journey as a mom. For years I was bound by overwhelming emotions. It was dark and I stumbled with my thinking and my speaking, in my heart and in my home. Feeling angry and hurt and hurt and angry and overwhelmed and helpless and hurt and angry and powerless… and powerless, you may know, is the emotion that bubbles up and out into unrighteousness displays of power most of all. But powerlessness doesn’t have control of my mind and reactions any more. I am free from the darkness and parenting in the light. And free to encourage you forward in your light-drenched journey as well. Here is a short list of things you can do to takes daily steps forward each day.   FIVE STEPS TO HELP MOVE YOU OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND START PARENTING IN THE LIGHT Click To Tweet     FIVE STEPS TO HELP MOVE YOU OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND START PARENTING IN THE LIGHT   1) Turn your eyes upon Jesus. The old hymn promises, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” God’s...
My Boys – they’re not so little anymore

My Boys – they’re not so little anymore

My boys are growing up, and always want to be on the move now, so I filled our summer schedule to the brim. The teenager is especially fond of chasing fun. Slow days at home grow tiresome for him. But in the midst of all the going, I’m holding tight to the not so distant past, and all the memories of slow afternoons doing crafts and playing dress-up and eating popsicles when they were small. Tonight I came across a sweet little journal entry from four years ago, and it made me all weepy. I just had to share it here, for those of you still knee deep in park dates and naptimes.     (March 2014) The other night I peeked in on my middle-est, long after he was supposed to be asleep. Instead of sleeping he was playing, propped up on his elbow, adjusting the 30-some mini-figures on his nightstand. As he worked he sang quietly to himself, “I won’t grow up… I don’t want to go to school… just to learn to be a parrot… and recite a silly rule…” I’ve been thinking of the story of Peter Pan lately myself. My name is Wendy. And the name Wendy was first imagined, penned and introduced to the world by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. Audiences in England and America alike fell in love with Peter, the boy who never grew up, and Wendy, the lost boys’ play mother. Standing on the cusp of a new season, I’ve been thinking of Wendy Darling and her lost boys. How dear she was to them, to darn their socks, tell them stories...
Summer Exercise Challenge

Summer Exercise Challenge

Welcome back to our ongoing summer series: BOYS.  I have a soft place in my heart for boys, and for the moms who are raising them. Check out some of my other summertime boy-posts here.   During the summer our boys play a lot… everyday. As a matter of fact, this morning they tumbled out of bed and into the pool before breakfast, and I’m typing this short post out just moments before we head to the beach for the afternoon. However, like the rest of their breed, there are plenty of afternoons when they’ll whine over boredom and complain, “Why can’t I just watch tv and play video games all summer? All my friends get to….” {I don’t think so.) Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of couch-time in the summertime here in our world, but on the days we are home and lazing about, before they do any TV watching or video gaming each boy must read for half an hour and do a minimum of three dad-approved exercises. The boys have a list that includes: 25/25/25 – shorthand for 25 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, and 25 squats (50/50/50 for the teen boy) 25 laps in the pool (50 for the teen) 15 minutes boxing on the bag in the garage 15 minutes on mom’s elliptical machine 2 sprints up the hill behind our home 3 laps around the property – with 25 jumping jacks each time they pass the driveway 5 minutes treading water (20 minutes for the teenager) Reward Over the course of the next 12 weeks, the boys must do a minimum of 3 exercises a day for...
Let Them Be Bored!

Let Them Be Bored!

Carrying fresh towels out to the pool I caught my youngest in the midst of a precious moment. All eight years of him looked up, wide-eyed. Flexing outstretched, sinewy arms, he hollered, “Mama, look at my boat. It’s a real boat and it’s mine!”    I set the towels down on the picnic table, keeping my eyes on his thin lips, curled in a smile, every bit of him living out an inspired summertime adventure. It was all so stinkin’ beautiful! There he was, with his brilliant boy imagination, splashing around our pool at 9:56 in the morning on a perfect summer day! My heart swelled with pride as I watched his body strain under the pressure of paddling. Then up came his “spear” and he slayed the monstrous eel that swarmed ’round his boat. His face contorted and I knew it was all real.     And a tear pricked, because this boy fought tooth and nail just a few short days before. “It’s not fair! It’s summer! All of my friends play video games and watch cartoons as much as they want!” He invited me to fight him then, and I refused. “Sorry son, this isn’t a consequence, you didn’t do anything wrong, but you and your brothers aren’t playing video games and watching tv all day. It’s the choice your dad and I have made. You boys can do it every afternoon after you’ve played yourself into a happy stupor and rested with a book for a while, then you can have some screen time then. But, no, that’s not how our family does summer.”  ...
Remember what you love about your husband

Remember what you love about your husband

“Lift with your legs, not with your back!” I hollered to my husband as he drove off down the rode, the truck loaded with our three sons and a mountain of work tools. He gave a wave from the open window, as the sound of boyish laughter added a living harmony to the melody of U2 pumping out of speakers. “Good thing we don’t have neighbors close by,” I thought as they rambled away noisily. The early morning air stung my nostrils causing my eyes to prick with tears.     My husband is a hard worker. He sees a need and gets it done. Whether the need is chopping down a tree, fixing sprinkler heads, cleaning out the rain gutters of an elderly woman down the road, or heading out the door for an extended business trip, he’s always going – always working. During the years with multiple babies in diapers this was difficult on me. For some reason, needs like baby baths, dishes, and tuck-ins didn’t register as his job, and no matter how I tried to ask for help, he was out the door sweating in the sun or loading up his truck with an overnight bag for another business trip. These were the days I felt abandoned and abused. Like a victim. Left alone to care for his children. Our roles have always been clearly defined. Though it’s all rather June Cleaver in a pencil skirt, it actually worked for us… that is until I was outnumbered by three strong-willed children, whose muscular tendencies took after their father. And I felt like the world was against me, my world was...
You are not a victim, you’re a mom

You are not a victim, you’re a mom

I sat beside her at the public swimming pool, her little ones in the shallow wearing water wings, mine canon-balling off the high dive. We were wading into the metaphorical deep-end ourselves, talking about the hard stuff, that chlorine scented afternoon. She was exasperated, worn out. Her frustrations bordered anger, and she felt great shame over her emotions – still they flooded. Picking up a damp towel nearby, she wiped her face then said, “I think that I’m most upset that my children ruin my plans each day. And not just my plans for the day, but my plans of being a good mom. They ruin it no matter what I do. They ruin all of the meals I serve by hating what I’ve made and crying at the table. They ruin our trips to the park and our playdates with friends by throwing fits when it’s time to go. I plan so much fun, and they ruin it all by demanding more or different. And I guess, if I’m honest, they ruin my dreams of what my family would be like. I had such good dreams. I’ve dreamt of being a mom for so long, now here I am and there aren’t any peaceful, happy tuck-ins, no Bible reading at the breakfast table – not without more fits! Everyday I’m disappointed, frustrated, and angry. I feel abused! Some days I just want to throw in the towel.” And she did throw down the tattered towel in her hands, with a pathetic little moan. I smiled, leaned in, and hugged her. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but as she shared I believed...