Mommy, Concentrated

Jesus Centered Family Focused

A Balanced Meal

While we’re on food… We’ve been changing our way of eating. Normally, that would be a good thing, but in our family’s case we’re all going in different directions. Brown Sugar is learning that there are other food groups besides “sweets.” Today she added omelets to her breakfast fare. Last week she ate her first sandwich. But then she cried over her roasted cauliflower and she tried to hide her grilled chicken under her plate last night. This child will help cut and chop, stir and measure all day long, and she can cook the dickens out of her Play-Doh and felt food, but actually eat what she makes? Perish the thought and the plate it’s served on. On the other end of the dining spectrum munches Think Tank, who’ll devour everything that sits still long enough, and at least two helpings of it. He eats a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich as an appetizer and another as his dessert. In between he’ll inhale two or three bowls of spaghetti with meat sauce. I’m trying to figure out where it all goes. Chunky toes, maybe? Maven, Songbird, TD, and Lone Ranger reside somewhere in the middle of the table, depending on the menu and time of day. Maven, reigning Carbohydrate Queen, can swallow a whole Italian loaf in one sitting, TD discovers his appetite at bedtime, and Songbird takes her name to heart, only eating bits of this and that. Lone Ranger would make my Grandma happy because she loves her leafy veggies. Watch out, collard greens! Hubby and I want our food to be “less filling” and “taste great” instead of one...

Coming Hat in Hand

Crusader made the mistake of leaving one of his Christmas gifts behind when he returned to school, and I think he can truly kiss it goodbye. It’s one of those Bluetooth beanies, and from the moment Think Tank tried it on…let’s just say the two connected. At first I think he loved it because of the technology, but now, that hat is his forever friend. It’s hard to picture what pre-beanie Think Tank looked like. And he’s not alone. I love my hats. They’ve become an all-purpose security blanket, like Linus’s from the Peanuts Gang. I wear hats to protect my pin curls from the rain, to keep my head warm in the cold, to complete an outfit, or to hide a bad hair day. They make me feel comfortable and safe, and it’s rare that I leave home, or even my bedroom, without one. Crusader added to my collection at Christmas, so I have lots of coordinating colors, and thanks to Hubby, I, too, can slide on my Bluetooth-connected cap and tune out the world while turning up Kirk Franklin. But nobody wears a hat like my mama. My hats covered a multitude of sins, but not my mama’s. She believed that when you went to church, you looked your best—and she didn’t save her best bonnet for Easter. On Sundays around 11:50 a.m., almost an hour after the opening prayer, she’d strut through one of the front doors that faced the whole congregation and sit in the far-left corner of the very first pew. We girls always wanted to just slip in unnoticed through a side door,...

Love the One You’re With

When Lone Ranger has one of her besties over I don’t hear a peep. They run up to her room and hang out there for hours, coloring, playing with her Calico Critters, writing stories together—basically any activity that involves giggling and chit chat. They only emerge to munch on popcorn or bake cookies or gather their shoes and coats to head home. I don’t have to referee, moderate, redirect, or correct. It’s just love, butterflies, and sunshine. Now, on the other hand…subtract her BFFs and add a dash of Brown Sugar or TD. What you get doesn’t always equal a day of wine and roses. It’s more like whine and ruckus. Just what is it with family? They know you best, and they sometimes hurt you the most. Think Tank knows TD hates enclosed, dark spaces—which is exactly why he traps him under a blanket. Lone Ranger knows which swing is Brown Sugar’s favorite, so that’s the one she hops in. Crusader knows how much Songbird hates the nickname he gave her, so that’s the way he greets her when he comes home. But then Maven toasts Brown Sugar’s jelly sandwiches just the way she likes them: crispy and light brown. Only Lone Ranger can make TD laugh when she washes (and conditions) his hair. When Crusader visits, he and Think Tank talk and horse around until the wee hours. Songbird will spend an entire Saturday afternoon playing doctor’s office with the whole crew. Brown Sugar will help anybody with…anything. And TD loves to let loose with…everybody. My little people love deeply, play rough, and fight to the death. This love/hate...

A Light Unto My Path

Dear Maven, On New Year’s Eve you asked me, “Do you have any resolutions?” Immediately, I thought of another Sunday morning years ago when we compiled a list of personal and family goals. (I have absolutely no idea where that list is today, by the way. I just know I still have a few pounds to drop.) Maven, your question was a hard one because I don’t have any formal resolutions for 2017. Do I want to exercise more, lose weight? Sure. Write more regularly, find a publisher? Absolutely. Hold my temper, fuss less, stop yelling? Darn skippy. Show more compassion, give more, love wholeheartedly, stop and smell the roses before I forget to water them? Working on those even now. But can I resolve to do those things, keep all those promises to myself? The Ghost of Christmas Past tells me, “Been there, broken that.” “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 You see making resolutions the way I used to: as an interesting way to cast a grander vision or redirect and improve your life. But fun killer that I am today, I view it through different lenses.Today, New Year’s resolutions announce, “I’m not happy with the way my life has worked out. I’m frustrated with how I look/feel, with what I do/am. I see failure behind me, but a few tweaks can lead to future success. God, can you do better?” But I’m not in charge of growing one hair on your head or mine, no matter how much Nature’s Blessing or Aveda I use. And goal setting might work if...

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