Mommy, Concentrated

Jesus Centered Family Focused

Cast Your Crowns

Yesterday, M&M announced, “I voted for orange!” My little guy makes a lot of choices every day, not just about his favorite color—things like whether he’ll stay in his bed all night, between obediently eating his dinner or crying over the chicken pot pie, whether to entertain himself quietly or bug Brown Sugar about playing Littlest Pets. And his decisions greatly impact the rest of us: our sleep, our menu planning, or whether we get through today’s algebra lesson. But as much as I love orange, stress the importance of math, and adore M&M in all his temper tantrum glory, I’ve got an important decision to make today. No, not Hillary versus Donald. Just like many of you I’ve been debating, praying for, and agonizing over making that decision, but really, we’ve all got bigger fish to fry. Every minute I have to make a choice that involves life beyond the booth or the polls: Do I choose Jesus or the world? “You already chose Jesus. You’re saved,” you say. Yet my faith in the sacrificial, saving grace of the cross means I take it up daily, feeling its weight and relying on its power to carry me moment to moment. When I first set my sights on heaven I didn’t start walking on water. Rather, my faith is a life raft when everyday life overwhelms me. For me, choosing Jesus daily means reading the Bible instead of playing my 5001st game of Solitaire (uh-huh, I mean that literally); biting my tongue and saying, “thank you” when Hubby tells me how to drive; loving that child who called Maven “that...

Living Made Easy

Hubby knows how much I love leather-bound journals, flowery notebooks, datebooks, smooth-writing pens, and lead pencils—and not just any pencils, PaperMate lead pencils. So, imagine my joy when he surprised me with a special two-pack of the newest PaperMate pens. PaperMate…in a pen? A writer’s heaven. (Yes, in some ways, I’m pretty easy to please, especially when any or all of these things come tucked into a new purse I can play with.) It’s not that I have beautiful handwriting. It’s not even legible. To some it’s a lost art, but actually writing something down with my PaperMate pencil… Mmm-mmmm. Just ask the little people. They can tell you all about my reaction when I’ve discovered someone writing with one—that’s part of the unfinished, mushy side of me Jesus is still cooking. Starting a journal for my new writers’ critique group presented just the special occasion I needed to write with my new pen. Eagerly I opened the pack, extracted a pen, studied it for a moment before pushing that button—ooh, the satisfying sound of the click!—and then put the pen to paper. I couldn’t wait to feel the ease of ink flowing onto paper. But it seemed I’d have to do just that, because the darn thing wouldn’t write. After inspecting it more carefully I noted a red tip over the nub, this tiny plastic bubble stopping up the flow of my magic ink. What in the world? I rubbed the paper. Nothing. So I rubbed harder. Still, nothing. I tapped the tip. Nope. Frustrated, I retrieved the original packaging, still nestling the second, untouched pen, and read...

Pretty as a Picture

Carrot cake. Heavenly cake. Key lime pie. Chocolate bread pudding. Apple crisp bread pudding…In our family, we each get a personal birthday dessert, and no one else is allowed to choose it. Think Tank wavers between cookies and cakes, still searching for the perfect treat. He’s more like his mama: savory is more his thing than sweet. It’s just hard to imagine a birthday candle burning atop a pile of hot wings. There’s no question for Hubby. He staked his birthday claim a while ago. I had him at “sweet potato.” We serve his sweet potato pound cake warm, no glaze or icing, just a light dusting of powdered sugar. It’s a beautiful, delicious thing. At least it was last year. This year, I followed the same recipe I’ve always followed from the same butter-, sweet potato-, and chocolate-smudged cookbook. I coated the same tube pan with non-stick baking spray, set the oven to 350°, poured in the batter, and waited for an hour fifteen minutes before taking out the cake. It was pretty. I’ll give it that. And it slid out smoothly onto the plate. But the only thing I could put in that cake was a candle because I couldn’t stick my fork in it. It still wasn’t done…until forty-five minutes later, when I finally threw in my flour-covered dish towel. Hubby had a happy birthday, just not a tasty one. You wouldn’t know to look at the perfect brown exterior that inside, that sweet potato cake was mushy and raw. Just like me. Sometimes people say, “You’ve got your lipstick on, you hair is done, the kids are all matching....

Baby Talk

I love the breakfast table. It has a totally different feel than the same room, nine hours later. At that time of day, I have the energy to keep M&M from crawling across the table to snatch Brown Sugar’s sausage. My coffee’s still hot, the cup’s still full. Watching the little people trickle downstairs (later and later as the mornings get chillier and chillier), hearing them wheel and deal over the last blueberry muffin, and whining about the math onslaught to come make me smile. We can stave off the world for an extra 45 minutes or so, reviewing our daily Proverb and doing Bible study. While dinner is where we recover from the day, breakfast is where we kiss it, “Hello!” While we were manning our usual positions the other morning, eating our curds and whey—okay, it was more like grits, bacon, and eggs—we chatted about future happenings like college, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, vacations, afternoon playdates, upcoming birthdays, and dinner. Then Maven shared her plan for the future: “I want to go to sleep and wake up in heaven.” All quiet on the Pearson front. Even Oscar, who shouldn’t be in the dining room, perked up his furry little ears. I knew our passionate, fervent little one meant it. And not one day, like we all do, after we reached a particular age, after having a passel of children and grandchildren, after being president of this company, or achieving that goal here on earth. No, Maven meant she wanted to go to sleep that night and wake up gazing in Jesus’ face. Hearing these words more than pulled the heartstrings. It twisted...

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