In the WIGGLIEST of moments, God’s already there

I was unsure how it was still in his mouth, a month after the wiggliest tooth EVER was carefully hidden away from my prying fingers.  Drake is not a tooth-puller by nature.  He’s more of a tooth-wiggler.  It’s a fact that drives me crazy.

It was evident that today was the day, ready or not.  There was little keeping that small pearl attached to my 9 year old son, and as much as he honestly did want to get it out, he was held back by fear.  To me this seemed like such a small thing.  I wanted to yell at him and say, “Really?  Suck it up, Buddy.”  But I didn’t.  God knew what he was doing and He wanted to use this tooth to deeply root a new thing into Drake that had nothing to do with new teeth.  I needed to stand back and let God work on this Himself.

It’s the wiggly moments in our lives that get our attention.  For Drake, it was his tooth.  For me?  Well I didn’t even want to admit how many moments lately I’ve had that felt like my footing was off and I was wobbling all over the place.  Drake’s tooth was as big to him as my own issues and struggles.  God knew that, and he heard him.  God listened and he showed up.  Somehow, I managed to keep out of the way and yet to be used a bit in this process.  It’s an honor to see God working His faith seeds into sprouting seedlings.

“Mommy, don’t help pull my tooth yet!” Drake said as he backed up and leapt across the room.  All I’d done was attempt to wiggle it, not pull it.  Hands up in surrender, I promised I wasn’t going to touch him, but tried to gently ask why not.  “Because I haven’t gotten my braveness from God yet.”

Curious, I prodded a bit and asked what he meant.  He’d been praying for courage and braveness for a while, and he sadly looked at me and said that God hadn’t come through and hadn’t showed up with it yet.  Oh.  Yeah, I get that feeling sometimes too.  But Drake hadn’t learned the secret to strength and braveness yet…

“Drake, God doesn’t show up with a package called BRAVE and suddenly you feel strong.  Instead you have to believe that God will be there in the scariest moments in life, armed with the braveness and strength you need; ready to give it to you when the courage you have runs out. Then you have to go do the hard thing before you feel ready sometimes. Knowing He’ll be there, every time you need him, that’s called faith.”

On Golden Lake in Northern Indiana – Drake contemplating life after having been baptized earlier in the afternoon.

He nodded to me and squeezed his eyes shut hard and prayed one more time for braveness.  He braced himself with tears in his eyes ready to spill over.  With one small tug at the tiny tooth, it was out.  His yelp turned to giggles and his tears of fear turned to ones of surprise and joy.  I held out the tooth to him and he excitedly shouted, “He showed up!!  He came!  God came with my BRAVE!”

This past weekend Drake was baptized in the cool waters of Pleasant Lake with the family of Mt Zion watching and praying.  He’d been nervous because he was afraid of slipping and going under when it wasn’t time.  He swims like a fish, but this really worried him… He looked at me on Saturday night before bed and said, “But God will come with my brave when I’m in the water.  I wish He’d come early, though, just this once!”

Yes Drake, I think we’ve all wished we could have God show up early with what we needed, just this once.


Boy, OH Boy

Sometimes my son can make me giggle and laugh out loud long after he’s gone off to school.  Today was one of those LOL days – not the kind where you just say LOL and pretend you’ve actually Laughed OUT Loud – but honestly belted out a good gut buster and not a soul was around.  The dogs both looked at me like I’d lost my mind, but they don’t really count, right?

I know all kids can be funny, but I swear by it – mine’s the best at it.  What?  You think I’m partial?  Well unless you have some proof on yours, I’m gonna claim my kid for today’s funny face prize.

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter – and today it was a big enough stress day that before I got out of bed I wondered if I was big enough to handle it all.  But hidden amongst the cobwebs of my computer’s digital dusty files were some stress busters made just for me by my son.  He never knew when he sat one November day last year that I would be so in need of the joy today.

So Drake, one of the many gifts God’s given you is the gift of humor, laughter, and to crack a grin and take the room in tow behind your refreshingly wild boy heart.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my smiles today, and my son’s shenanigans!  Lighten up a bit – life’s too short to be taken so seriously.  🙂

Just that kinda day

At the end of the day… Looking it over… It’s was the sorta day that needed it’s own drum and cymbal lead in and outs so you could catch your breath before the next set struck it’s pose in the waiting wings. It was a long day, and an even longer 4 days prior.

I will vaguely elude to a stress filled week and then leave you with that. Think big. Know we are good and handling it… But we wish we weren’t having to say hello to this again right now. It’s here though, and the best way to deflate the power of negative moments is to simply face them head on, and strong.

So, my precious darling dear… This is for you… It’s your silly song to lock itself into your mind and chase off the monster callers who aren’t from the mind of Jim Henson. Keep your smile shining bright, even when it’s the last thing you want to do as you crawl into bed at night. It’s amazing strength can reach all the way into tomorrow and banish the creatures who may have lain in wait for you there… But will wait no more! they’re impatient, but God’s up all night making a safe pathway for you if only you ask him to.


Now… I dare you to try and get THIS song outa your head today! Got stress? Send in the Manamanatt’s!

Showing UP – INVISIBILITY is banished to the sidelines!

I used to have a super power I never knew I had.  It would show up on vacations, outings, gatherings, or even just at the soccer games and mad-dash-in-the-rain moments in life.   I was invisible in all of them.  Oh no…  I yield no fabulous cloak like Mr Potter, nor am I absent from the goings on.  But I had a super power no one could hurdle in a bound…  I was the “face behind the lens”.

Mirror shot from the hotel bed. Doing nothing was a sweet memory tucked snug away that cold winter’s night together.

That’s right…  I was the designated picture taker.  No one grabbed the camera from me and decided to make sure I arrived on trips to the zoo or the museum.  It wasn’t anyone’s intentional thought, as just getting through outings could seem like running a marathon.

Vacation moments were never vacations to Mom… Snapping pictures was my way to relive the joys without the stress, later.  After all, in pictures no one is hungry, tired, napless, cranky, or fighting with their sister.

My super power was never much of a thought till one summer a few years back.  We arrived home, school started, the nearly moldy hidden bag of wet swimsuits was found and rewashed ten times over… and I’d had a quiet cut of tea.  Or maybe not.  Point being I’d finally picked through all our photos and realized not a single one showed me there.

It may have been a good thing knowing how harried that summer had been.  It wasn’t my best “picture” year; frazzled and over tired.  I’d needed a vacation from our vacation long before the last load of laundry was done BEFORE we’d packed and left, let alone come home again.  However, my husband was an amazing daddy in so many fabulous shots, and the hams that I call children were cute as buttons… But me?  No where to be seen.

It was as if I were invisible.  I distinctly remember laughing at those silly polar bears and jumping over leaping frogs in the rainforest at the zoo.  I remembered crawling around on all fours in the play spaces of the museum and slurping down cold slushies one evening.  Yet it looked like my family was joyfully getting along fine without all the perfect planning I’d done.

Taking the “L” train in Chicago – no big deal for slick city folk, but for my kids it was a first – and something that now helps them understand mass transportation.

So what did I do?  I just shot myself in the face.  That’s right… I turned the camera on myself, like a preteen.  Then, last year, I began to slowly hand over the camera to my kids and ask for pictures to be taken.  It was a hard pill to swallow.  It seemed someone should want to take mom’s picture but reality is that when your kids are small, it’s lucky you all survive the outing most of the time.

Now lest you find me vain… let me explain to you why I do this.  It’s because someday I want my kids to remember they had a mom who was there.  A mom who played.  A mom who didn’t show up to life perfect and made up with make up and designer clothes, but one who rolled in the grass and threw leaves in their hair.

I know when I look back at photo’s of my childhood, I look in the background and find my mom…  I wonder what she was doing, thinking, or just who SHE was.  I have often wished I could turn the angle of the lens to the left just a bit or turn the camera all the way around.  I want to see what she was doing when my brother and I were proudly showing off our halloween costumes she made us or the Easter outfits she so painstakingly sewed.  I wish I could see her proud face as she watched me go off to prom in the gown she slaved over for hours and weeks, and to see her watching me try on HER wedding gown as a girl.  (Which I would later wear down MY isle on MY wedding day).

I want my kids to remember me being there with them on the soccer lawn watching games, at the air show in the muddy rain with water dripping off our noses, and I want them to know how much love was in my eyes for them.  Believe me…  most of the pics are far from glamorous, but in showing up, we will have been a family – together – forever.

Park play on a regular day. I was there… and I want my kids to remember I played.

Sometimes showing up is what counts in life.  On the bad days, the good days, but mostly… just the days that are in between.  The day to day life.  The ones that make up our lives.

Are you invisible?  Do you show up?  I challenge you to remember that your own vanity is not what counts… but let your kids and family remember you for that vibrant smile and let the imperfect way the light may shine at times fade from your mind.  We only have one chance to make memories.  SHOW UP.

Moreover… it’s not really even the photo.  Do you show up in Life?  Are you throwing leaves and hiding under the covers on cold nights with a book reading to giggly kids?  Mental pictures are just as important.  Show up for those you love.  It’s worth it in the end.