Blood Thirsty

Blood Thirsty

So I had a tick on me today. We’d just parked and Hubby was helping me from the car. In the process, my dress moved just enough to reveal a little brown…thing…on my upper thigh. “What’s that?” he asked. When I looked at it, I assumed it was a mole; they’ve seemed to pop up any- and everywhere in my old age. He took a closer look. “Nope, that’s not a mole.” At that point, I freaked out. Folks who know me know when I say, “I freaked out,” I mean I. FREAKED. OUT. Right there in the Potbelly’s parking lot for all the world to see. And I continued to shiver and shake for the next…well, I’ve still got the heebie jeebies, so I’ll update you on that timeline. Sweet Songbird reminded me that I should focus on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) That didn’t include thinking about that six-legged creature digging into my skin, sucking my blood, passing along all manner of disease. Nothing lovely or praiseworthy in that. But there is something lovely about my girl pointing to scripture, even in—especially in—that moment of abject, completely grossed out, I’m-going-to-lose-it terror. She knows I don’t do ticks, spiders, bees, or basically anything that grows or crawls in the space between the house and the car. That includes plants, remember? There is something praiseworthy in Hubby who scooted across the lot to ask a stranger for a lighter so he could heat tweezers and who didn’t laugh...
Bathed in Love

Bathed in Love

Hubby finally forced me into the tub tonight. Now, don’t go running with visions of Pig Pen in your head. I just prefer showers. Tonight, he insisted I take a hot bath to soothe my aches and pains and just relax for longer than a drive-through shower. As is often the case, he was right. By helping me in, he was helping me out. Now, my troubles didn’t go down the drain or evaporate with the bubbles, but that hot soak gave me proper perspective—and not just of my unpolished toes. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, writer, editor, and teacher. It’s my job to assist. And I think I’m good at it. I can pray for you, compliment you, correct your grammar, comb your hair, and babysit your little people. I will cook you a meal, grace you with a smile, bless you with a kind word, or tell you a thing or two. I can lead, guide, steer, and discipline. I will snuggle, cuddle, pat, hug, and kiss you, change your television channel, read to you, teach you piano, or help you solve a math equation. Though I may not call you very often, I will text, e-mail, “like” your posts, and love you dearly from afar. I’ll travel hundreds of miles to see about you or help you cross the street. But what I try my hardest not to do is ask you for help. Well, today, I’m sad to say I needed plenty of that four-letter word, and I literally got more than I asked for. I tried to rebuff all this goodwill, to mark...
Getting My Duckies All in a Row

Getting My Duckies All in a Row

Did you know that Peg in “Peg + Cat” doesn’t have a nose? Or that a giant magnet can unleash the stuck zipper of an invisibility suit? Well, thanks to TD I know these facts, and so much more. For instance… There are several dead ladybugs in Think Tank’s window, and that he likes to open it and play his keyboard for passersby. It only takes a single stick of chewing gum to bribe Songbird into taking the little people on a walk. Brown Sugar understands when to strategically play the Reverse, Skip, and Wild Cards in Uno—and she ain’t afraid to use ’em against her mama. Maven knows what allegro and andante mean, but she doesn’t get that “never the tempos shall meet.” It breaks Lone Ranger’s heart to “grow out of” and “pass along” her things, especially her purple bicycle. Yes, the little people and I covered a lot of ground today—and not necessarily what I set out to learn or teach. I resisted these lessons at first. When TD asked me to sit on the couch and hold him so we could watch television together, I explained, “TD, I have things I need to do.” “You have things you want to do, not things you need to do,” he responded. Sassiness aside, it was true. I wanted to check stuff off my list—history lessons, a review of perpendicular angles, a vocabulary test, dinner planning, another chapter on my book—but those weren’t needs. What I needed to do was listen, cuddle, comfort, laugh, and learn. As far as I’m concerned, there is always so much to be done, and...
Father, May I?

Father, May I?

TD peered over the counter and eyed the last slice of quiche—which just happened to be on my plate. “Can I have it?” Before I could hand it over, albeit grudgingly, Hubby stepped in. “You really have to start telling TD ‘No.’ Just ‘No,’ with no explanation.” Saying “no.” As if I needed help with that phrase in this, my “Year of the No.” Well…I guess a little reminder won’t hurt. As you know, I don’t do resolutions, but this year, I did make a decision to downsize my commitments, to deliberately say “no” more than I say “yes” so that I can rest more, write more, and invest more quality time in my family. I wanted to be more intentional about my commitments, to prayerfully consider requests for and usage of my time. But it’s hard to say no—not necessarily to TD’s request for quiche. My little people can attest to my ability to sing “No” in several keys and languages. It’s the world outside my door that I find hard to resist. How do you say no to play dates, lunch dates, and your friends’ requests for help? How do you withdraw from ministry, classes, and leadership opportunities? Sometimes I feel like I’m slapping the well-meaning hands that feed me and binding my own helpful hands that want to return the favor. There are so many good things. Yet I know they aren’t all good for me. And I also know I’m not the only one who struggles handling too much of a good thing. There’s a passel of beleaguered moms and dads, ministers, and well-intentioned believers who think...
You Talkin’ to Me?

You Talkin’ to Me?

Remember the understood you? That parenthetical, unwritten word reigns supreme here in my house, and not just when we’re diagramming sentences. When I say, “Stop!” TD knows just who I’m talking about. He stops lapping up his milk like Oscar or hopping down the stairs or doing whatever it is he shouldn’t. If I say, “Take out the trash,” everyone looks at Think Tank. They know it’s his job (even though he tries to forget). “You” will moan after dinner because she knows it’s her dish week. If I say, “Outside!” Oscar runs for the door. When Hubby lectures about leaving the basement refrigerator door open, the first thing a little person says is “It wasn’t me!” or “I didn’t do it.” Hubby’s response? “Then I wasn’t talking to you.” On the other hand, I can call Maven by every name but hers—and you know I’ve got seven to choose from, eight including the dog (believe me, I’ve done it)—but she knows exactly who I’m talking to. Get the picture? It’s understood. Now, there’s another teeny word that’s understood around here, and it’s now. I’ve told the little people when I say something, assume there’s a “now” in parentheses. In other words, “Sit down (now),” “Do your work (now),” “Stop running! (now),” “Turn off the television (now).” That “now” means immediately or as soon as possible—not after the episode goes off or when you finish playing Clash of Clans or after you’ve hit Lone Ranger. Who knows, maybe there’s a truck barreling down on you? Again, it’s understood. But we’re all somebody’s child. He has something for us all to understand....
The Gift of the Magi…Revisited

The Gift of the Magi…Revisited

Four tickets to a college basketball tournament fell into our laps at the last minute. Hubby and I thought about it for a moment, trying to reason through who would go. Both he and I love college ball, so ✔️️ and ✔️️ . Then we thought, “Who else has college in the blood?” Crusader,✔️️ , and Songbird,✔️️. We knew the girls would rather have movie night at home and whither they goeth, TD followeth. So, we were all set. But not so fast…What about Think Tank? He’s not a basketball fan, and college isn’t on his radar, but spending time with Crusader is always within his sights. There was no storybook ending here. The best option for this mom? Giving up my ticket and sending Think Tank in my place. But Songbird couldn’t bear the thought of crashing my “date night” with Hubby, especially since she’s not really a basketball fan and she didn’t like either of the colleges represented. So, Songbird opted to stay and send me in her place. But the love story doesn’t end there. Think Tank hated to unseat someone, and so he refused to go. We stood there looking at each other, at an impasse, until Songbird and I prayed about it. And after much hemming and hawing and sacrifice we worked it out, and we four Cinderellas—Hubby, Crusader, Think Tank, and I—laced up our glass slippers, hopped into our coach, and headed to the ball…game. Now, if this really was a Disney story, it would have ended with Hubby finding a fifth ticket and my best friend stopping by on a whim to invite the younger ones over for a...