Category archives: Family

What Kids Want their Mommas and Daddies to Know (When the Mommas and the Daddies Get in Fights)

Sometimes mommas and daddies get in these fights. They disagree. They yell. They turn away and don’t talk to each other. This can drag out for days. It’s a terrible thing, really, these rifts in relationships. And when this happens, there are some things that all the kids need from their mommas and daddies. The thing is, little kids need these things, they’re just not big enough, quite yet, to articulate their deep-down needs. But, if they could speak them to us, I think it would do us good. At least, when all the mommas and daddies aren’t getting along, it would be good for us to think about them, too. And imagine what it is our kids would want to say. Dear Momma, I need you to listen to Daddy. Like, really listen. To his heart. Try to look beyond the things he’s saying t[...]

For all the Tired Mommas: How to Build a House to Heal the World

Today the yard has been swept by the wind. Yesterday's tracks, where the kids played out in the snow, have been blown over and filled in. And could this be true of my life, too? Yesterday's stumbling along is already covered, by some sort of God-grace and today is new all over again. I need that. I'm tired. Seems like I always feel tired except for the occasional spurt of wild energy I get every few days, when suddenly I'm happy to clean out the fridge and mop the kitchen floor and fold four loads of laundry. But, not today. Today I push through everything. Rinsing out the sippie cups. Refereeing the kids. Cutting up an orange. Picking up the library books. It all feels hard, today. The kids are having rest time and I have this internal struggle. I could sleep. Wouldn't sleep[...]

How to Be a Safe Place for Hearts

God has been teaching me something lately. And by lately, I mean over the last several years of my life. He’s been teaching me how to be a safe place for people’s hearts. See, God puts us on the earth at the same time as other people, so that we’ll take care of each other. So, that we’ll have some folks to belong to and so that they’ll belong to us. Each one of us—we can be a safe place for another soul to find refuge. But, for some reason, this being a safe place for others, it’s not our default. I think I know why. In the beginning, and I’m talking way back in the Garden-beginning, our Maker had created this perfect space for communion. A beautiful place that was safe and where the first people could walk and talk with Him and live these wildly open lives. Just think of i[...]

Dear Tired Momma, Why It Really is Okay to Go Slow

I love how intertwined their lives are with mine. Them and me-- pretty much we share everything. He wants my buttered toast, she wants to sip my coffee. And little britches, oh man, he’s on the verge of wearing me out. No matter how far out of reach I perch, he finds me and confiscates my computer cord. Suddenly no toy on planet Earth is as fascinating as momma’s computer cord. Nothing is really mine anymore. They scribble on my paper, tote around my books, wear my shoes, lay their head on my pillow. In vain I attempt to recover my things, only to find them in their grimy clasps again. It’s all good, though. I deserve these children. I do. Because I can recall explaining to my Pa on more than one occasion, after he inquired where his t-shirts went, “Just remember--what’s yours is[...]

How I'm Teaching My Children to Pray

Around here, in this crazy chaotic house of mine, I’m teaching my children to pray. Now, you might be thinking that I mean I’m teaching them how to sit still and fold their hands and bow their heads and close their eyes. We do that occasionally, but not always. Sometimes we yell our prayers, really loud. With our eyes wide open. Like, a couple months ago, when our little friend had to go to the hospital because he was having seizures. Gideon, Hope and I sat in the living room floor and clasped each other’s hands and we yelled for God to please help our friend. We didn’t yell because we thought God was too far away and couldn’t hear. Or because we thought maybe He had gotten old and needed us to speak up. We yelled because we were desperate. Desperate people yell sometimes. And th[...]

Dear Hope-love

Dear Hope-love, Thank you for bringing me a mud-pie today. As you brought it, I paused there in the kitchen and just watched you from the window. I loved how you carried it so carefully,  gracefully stepping over the sticks in the yard, wind whipping through your delicate strands of hair. I remembered when I was a little girl like you. I had my play kitchen and my dirt and I can recall spending afternoons baking up a muddy feast. I didn't know when I became a momma  how much joy would well up inside my chest as I relived those childhood memories through you. And thank you, Hopey, for bringing your momma some spring. Thank you being the first to notice the crocus' blooming this year and for running as fast as you could to tell me and then insisting that I follow you until I[...]

If You Get Lost in Your Day

Do you ever get lost in your day? If you happen to be in the same season of life as I am, you might find yourself standing a little bewildered in the middle of your kitchen, as your five year old and nearly four year old are on their hands and knees on the linoleum, simultaneously wailing at the top of their lungs because of the wretched disappointment in which their lives have turned out. You know, because your boy doesn’t like the toast with “nuts” in it and your girl seriously needs her chocky milk “warmed up.” All the while, your eight month old is pulling all the cook-books off the shelf for the umpteenth time. A momma can feel so lost before 10 a.m. And if you’re not careful, everything will ream out of control from there and you’ll only get more lost-er. (No, that’s not a [...]

Seeing Good in the Mess

Some days I wake up with a big ole' mess on my hands. Like, a big ole' kid mess. And sometimes that frustrates me. Because it feels like 90% of my life is cleaning up all the messes. Or desperately trying to teach my kids to clean up their messes. Which means suddenly their toys become a lot more interesting. Or their legs hurt and they just need to sit a spell. Or their exhausted, so bizarrely enough, they need a nap. Yes, those mess-makers of mine get good and tired of making messes and they crawl up in their beds and drift off to sleep and I've got time to think and pray and reflect on all the things I care the most about in life. And so I find myself tiptoeing back into their wrecky rooms and just gazing at all the messes. All the beautiful messes. And in those moment[...]

Samuel speaks

Hi, everybody. My name is brudder. Well, actually, my name is lil' britches but you can call me brudder. My mom feeds me too many sweet potatoes. That's why my nose is nearly orange. Did you know there's still snow at my house? This is a picture of the sparkly snow. I wrote a poem. I called it "Snow." You can print it out and hang it on your fridge if you want. It goes like this: Snow Why are you still here? Yes, I see the way you sparkle. I see the way you shine. You look nice and all, But you really should go Snow. This is my Dad and my big brudder. My Mom thinks they're cute with their coordinating shirts. But, my brudder doesn't like to be called cute. He just wants to be called cool. Not cute. Not beautiful. Not even handsome, really. Just cool. Because he said "cool[...]

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