Mommy, Concentrated

Jesus Centered Family Focused

In His Hands

Whenever I come across fuzzy pink slippers tucked away on a bookshelf or a Calico Critter stowed in a night table drawer, I think, “Lone Ranger.” She puts special things in out-of-the-way places to either protect them from M&M or to save them for moments she can tip away to play on her own. Yet, I know when I need time to write, I can trust the Lone Ranger to whip out that same Calico Critter or a Littlest Pet to distract her little brother—as she’s doing at this very moment. You won’t often find her curled up with a book because she’s busy sight reading new piano music or singing in that lovely sky-high voice of hers. She’ll obediently do the dishes or keep her room ship shape, but she’ll give you the stinky face about vacuuming. Yes, I can read my family like all those books Maven loves. And I know them like the back of my hand that M&M uses to swing up the stairs. When I see them it’s like looking in a mirror Songbird uses to apply her new Mary Kay eyeliner. Just how is it that I love them? I can count the ways because I put the time in, building the relationship that began the moment I merely suspected they were growing in my tummy. And to think…God knows us even more intimately and loves us even more deeply. When it’s Brown Sugar’s reading time I pull her into my lap so I can hear that precious little “s” she adds to all her words (think Mara Wilson from Mrs. Doubtfire). When...

Running on Empty

My little people love to compete with each other. The Lone Ranger, Maven, Brown Sugar, and Think Tank use the first-floor hallway as an indoor soccer arena and the doorways at either end as their goals. At the playground’s open field, they kick off their shoes, mark a starting point, and sprint for the “finish line”: a tree stump, an anthill, or Hubby. These are spirited match-ups—definitely more lighthearted than their race for the seat next to mine at the table—and they’re fun (and noisy) to watch. They’re also nail biters, because it’s often a photo finish between Maven and Think Tank, with Maven winning by a nose. During winter soccer Think Tank pointed out that while his sister is faster on shorter distances, she gives out during longer soccer matches and races. Maven is a great sprinter, but Think Tank has better endurance. Does your faith give out? Sometimes mine does. When my faith has to run cross country it gets winded; it runs out of gas. Long stretches of waiting, testing, and suffering wear me out spiritually. I want to give up, question God, and mourn my circumstances. But if I exercise my faith and give my salvation a workout, I can increase my endurance, keeping in mind that “the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Instead of crying “Uncle!” I need to call on Jesus and rely on His mercy to press on—through lessons on math facts, dealing with toddlers, worries over SAT scores, long drives with seven little people, paying for college, menu planning, aging parents, and other bumps...


You know how it is. Before you have children you say lots of things you don’t really mean, winners like, “Oh, I want all my children to look just like you, honey.” Well, God took me at my word and gave me the little people. Crusader’s handsome smile, Think Tank’s analytical skills, Maven’s strength and flexibility, Brown Sugar’s sweet tooth, Songbird’s business acumen, and the Lone Ranger’s brown curls—all Hubby. M&M? Well, he’s his own little man. Neither one of us will take full responsibility for him. You’d think all they got from me are my dry skin, the ability to cross their toes (don’t ask), and a love for words. And oh, yes, that strong will. That’s mine, too. The Crusader exercised some of that will last weekend when he stepped in our kitchen, sporting a second earring and hair up to there. Lord knows I never pictured myself braiding my son’s hair, debating the benefits of nose piercing, and listening to Kirk Franklin’s collaboration with 2 Chainz and Kanye West. I mean, Hubby and I are Mr. and Mrs. Plain John and Jane. I had to google “2 Chainz” because I’d actually spelled it “Two Chains.” (Go figure.) By the end of spring break I was wondering, “Whose child is this?” “Mine,” God told me. The Crusader is His own man—God’s, not mine. The Lord made him exactly the way he is and gave the Crusader a strong, saving faith to boot. No, he doesn’t always dress or think the way I want him to, but that works out to my favor. I find that the Crusader holds up this mirror for...

My Love Life

We spent Valentine’s Day making cards for each other, cutting, pasting, sketching, and composing for hours. Love was certainly in the air–and in itty-bitty pieces all over the study floor…and on the chest in my bedroom where most of the cards ended up that night. But all the mess was worth it. The Lone Ranger used enough supplies to keep the paper companies in business, and Songbird and Think Tank loved turning our card making into a grand competition. Of course, as mom (and reigning champ), I rose above it all. I got joy from sending love letters to my little people, etching memories on their hearts and not just on card stock. Someone I know etched her own memory on my heart years ago. I’m sad to say she died unexpectedly last week. Ingrid’s commitment to Christ and family inspired me then, when I was a young mother. She continues motivating me now, though I hadn’t seen her since the Crusader was knee high. When I read about her Christian discipleship, kindness, and selfless care for her husband, five children, and her community I consider my own impact on the world spinning within and beyond my four walls. I wonder what messages I communicate before I’ve had my coffee, after a long day, or when only God is looking. I pray my hands and feet are helping my mouth spread the message, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you...

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