Movin’ On Up

Movin’ On Up

As a toddler, Songbird attended a Montessori School that held “Moving Up Ceremonies.” No graduations for such tiny students. Yet we parents wanted to mark learning and growth milestones and celebrate our peeps’ progress. Mainly, we just couldn’t resist the opportunity to watch those tiny feet march up the aisle and see our little people wearing their fancy dresses and suits, holding candles. Yes, it was more fun for us. Last weekend, we marked another major family milestone. A graduation graduation—and I’m saying it twice so you know it was the real deal. When Songbird made her way up the aisle, she wasn’t tottering or clutching something flammable. She strode confidently in her heels and cap and gown, smiling from one bedecked earlobe to the other. Songbird owned that moment, and not because she looked gorgeous in her formal black robe. She’d worked diligently to don that honor shawl, to line up with her fellow graduates, to move toward a new stage in life and away from all she’d learned and known before. Us included. I had to struggle to see her. And not because her tassel kept tickling her nose and obscuring her face (which it did) or because I had to peer through a throng of people (I sat in front). It was just difficult to see her through my happy-sad tears. Hubby and I—and really, all the little people—were so proud and excited because we’d helped her reach this goal. And this time around, it was more her doing and for her good. Moving up. Graduation. We’re all striving for it. Not the kind where you...
Road Trippin’

Road Trippin’

So Songbird has her driver’s permit. Gray hairs abound. It’s not because she’s a bad driver; she’s an inexperienced one. And it’s not for her lack of trying to get more time behind the wheel. I just can’t pry my fearful fingers away from it long enough to give her access. When I teach the little people I realize just how hard it is to drive. Riding shotgun is like, well, staring down the barrel of one. Certain death. Perhaps it’s the sense of powerlessness that makes me long for the real brake instead of that imaginary one I press in the dashboard. Maybe teaching reveals all that’s involved in driving. Songbird thought she was going to climb in, sync her phone, slap on a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses, and yell, “Road trip!” Then we told her she’s got to check the rearview mirror, side mirrors, and keep her eyes on the road…simultaneously. She’s got to drive for herself and every other clueless teen with a permit, the distracted, the elderly, all the overworked mothers, and the pet owner cuddling his pooch. She’s got to stay in the middle of the lane unless she’s changing lanes and then go quickly yet not too fast and remember to turn off her signal and listen to dad—no, to mom—while ignoring her siblings arguing in the backseat. Then she’s got to pretend my eyes aren’t reflecting her own inner terror. This, that, and the other. Simultaneously. Okay. Deep breath. She’s not going to kill us all even though she almost clipped the parked car or gave us all whiplash when she stopped...
Less Is More

Less Is More

We have less money than we used to. Some days, I’m just glad to flip the switch and get a rewarding burst of light. Sorry, Oprah, I know you said everybody should visit New Zealand in her lifetime, but seeing the kiwi bird will have to wait. Not only that, we have less time and energy because we sleep less. It’s not because we’re having more fun; actually, we watch less television, read fewer books, walk fewer miles, vacation less, and spend less time together as a couple. We probably have fewer acquaintances based on the smaller pile of Christmas cards we opened last year, and I talk to my mama less often than I should. Why? Because of all the more in my life. We have more little peeps who insist on eating regularly, having fun, and going to college of all things. We have more house to clean, more blogs to write, more teaching and preaching to do, and more food to cook. Don’t even talk about the dog whose favorite treat is bacon. We have more schedules to consolidate, more places to go, more needs to meet, more “yeses” and “nos” to dole out, more ways to serve. Simply put, we have more Jesus. So the “less” is actually more. The less I have of the world—money, energy, time, answers, myself—the more I really have of God. He just has more wiggle room in my heart and mind, and as He stretches out to His full height He kicks out what I don’t need. The less I listen to the clamor and whispers of distracting influences, the...
Love Letters

Love Letters

Inspired by a lesson from our week’s Bible study, we all took Sharpies and wrote in our palms: The Lord’s. To say I need the reminder is an understatement. You’d think I had other things scribbled there in the middle of my hand, however invisibly—The Bank’s, The House’s, The Children’s, The Husband’s, The Worry’s, Mine. And they don’t easily fade from red to pink like those six letters. They seem indelibly etched into my heart and mind, these cares of the world. They carry serious weight. Sure, some look like holy pursuits. Take my family. God gave me Hubby and the little people, so isn’t it okay to lose sleep, time, and even myself in them? Teaching them, raising them, loving them—they’re each a full-time job. Yet my palm attests, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) They’re not mine, for we are all His. It’s fruitless and prideful to focus on my limitations as a mother and wife in the face of His unlimited love and power. I should seek His plans for their life. Then there’s my writing, what I see as my ministry. Shouldn’t I give it my all—well, all that’s left, mind you—by pursuing publication, encouraging others, spreading His Word? Yet, the letters on my hand tell me, “For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” (Psalm 139:4) This is His gift. I am His instrument. Worrying won’t get an agent’s attention; fasting and prayer will get His. God knows it all and gives me my all and all. All I can do is write...
The Word, to the Wise

The Word, to the Wise

During literature today, the little people looked up a few unfamiliar words. When Think Tank typed tilth, his autocorrect feature kept trying to change it to tilts. Maven chuckled at the pronunciation of puissant, while Think Tank wondered if we could call God “omnipuissant.” Funny guy. We like to read aloud. They enjoy hearing and “seeing” great literature come to life. We discuss a writer’s intentions and the direction of a storyline, debate about what counts or doesn’t count as classic literature, and relate themes and plot lines to the Bible and current events. It’s also helpful listening to the little people’s pronunciation from time to time, checking out how they wield their language swords. Mini-wordsmiths all, they still can mispronounce the dickens out of what I’ve considered simple vocabulary; I’ve learned there’s nothing simple about the queen’s English. As Crusader showed me years ago, misled is not MY-zled. Ah, the power of language. Thing is, we don’t have to get all fancy when we’re talking to God. We don’t have to call Him “Elohim” when we pray to our Abba Father. It doesn’t matter what language we use when we cry out, “Help!” “Save me!” “Here I am, Lord!” or just plain cry. Often, my silent obedience is all I have to offer, or a hand in the air—and not because I just don’t care. I do care…too much. My church mothers knew what they were talking about when they sang, “When I can’t say a word, I’ll just wave my hand.” So, wave your hands. Weep silently. Don’t worry about publishing your thoughts for various and sundry....