“Slow down; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

I’m over at Alamo City Moms Blog reminding you to slow down, there is no finish line.

The moment she feels her baby move inside her womb, she imagines the life her child will have.
She tries to picture the precious face of her baby and what color her hair will be.
She can’t wait to give birth, to get through the pregnancy and let her new life begin.
The mother-to-be rubs her belly, sighs, and says out loud, “Mom, I just want it to be over. Am I going to be pregnant forever? I can’t wait to finally have this baby!”
Her mom takes her by the hand and gently whispers, “Slow down, sweet girl; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

She’s exhausted from long nights and short naps and can’t remember the last time she slept for more than a few hours at a time.
The laundry is piled up, and the sink is full of dishes.
She plops herself in the glider, lifts her shirt, and begins to feed her newborn.
While her baby quietly breastfeeds for the millionth time that day, she twirls one of her daughter’s curls around her finger.
She sighs and thinks, This can’t be what my life is all about. When will she sleep through the night? I can’t wait until she’s able to walk and talk!
Then she recalls her mom’s gentle whisper: “Slow down; it’s not a race. There is no finish line.”

Read The Rest Here

There Is No Finish Line

What I desperately need my daughter to know about her autism diagnosis.

team justin

 

My Sweet Justin,

It’s April again and you know what that means, Autism Awareness Month.
There are some things I want you to know, listen closely my sweet girl.

During the month of April I shout about you as loud as I can but make no mistake, I fight like a bull for you every single day of the year. I’ve made it my mission to make sure you have every advantage  life has to offer. Go big my sweet girl.

When you choose to play alone instead of with the group of kids it makes me proud of your independence. A huge smile flashes across my face because I know that you’re in your happy place. Do your thing my sweet girl

I don’t feel sorry for you. I never will. I refuse to. I know that you don’t feel sorry for yourself. I know that you are proud. I’ve watch you march up to complete strangers and introduce yourself with “Hi my name’s Justin and I’m autistic. That just means I see the world differently”. Wear it proudly my sweet girl!

For the rest of your life people are going to try to understand you, study you and figure out why you are the way you are. They are going to give you their opinions on what caused you to be the way that you are. They’ll blame vaccinations. They’ll point the finger at me and my actions while I was pregnant from what I ate to where I lived. They’ll blame red dyes, TV, bread and anything else they can think of.

This is when I really need for you to listen to me. Listen carefully.

You are special. You are unique and you are definitely one of a kind.

You are autistic.

I know why you are the way that you are and I want you to hear it from me.

You are the way you are because God makes everything perfect and that’s exactly what you are. There was no mistake made when He crafted you with His very own hands. You were intentional, thought out, planned and formed in my womb by the hands of our Creator just the way He wanted you. You are not flawed. You are not less. You are Gods gift, His work of art, His child.

The angels ran to God and pointed you out while shouting to Him “There she is! She’s the one!”. They danced and sang has He told them how wonderful and unique you were going to be here on earth. Tears fell from their face, not because they were sad for you but because they delighted in the generosity that God was going to lay on you.

I have no idea why God look down and picked me. I haven’t accomplished anything huge. I’m not famous, rich, brilliant or talented. I’m simple and haven’t done anything in my life to deserve the honor of being your mommy but I promise to spend the rest of my life honoring the gift that God gave me. I promise to always honor you.

Justin, you’ve always had autism my sweet girl but autism has never had you.

You are my sunshine.
Love
Mommy.

I Choose.

I choose

“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”
The sheets would come flying off of us as we yelled at him to stop.

My dad loved to irritate us and loudly waking us up in the morning was his favorite thing to do. It was most rewarding to him when we had friends spend the night and he got to mess with them too.

He would insist that we get up and eat breakfast. There was always a skillet of sausage and eggs ready to go by the time we shuffled our way in to the kitchen. Lots of orange juice, he loved orange juice.

Even though my friends didn’t want to wake up with the roosters and my dad, they thought he was so cool and would laugh at his morning song. They always thought it was cool that he would cook for us and want to hang out with us.

Not me, I was just mad.

I’m not a morning person, never have been never will be. That’s why I get up an hour before my family and have my cup of coffee. It’s for their own safety.

What I didn’t know back in those days was that my dad wasn’t getting up early, he had never gone to bed.

He was an addict.

He was addicted to ….well everything.

He wouldn’t just wake us up to eat sausage and eggs in the morning, he would wake us up in the middle of the night and drive us around in his stolen car for hours. He would wake us up in the middle of the night to sit in the kitchen and talk to him. He was high and needed someone to hang out with, that’s where we came in. He was addicted to drugs, money, cars, women and anything else the devil offered up on a silver platter. He lived in 100 different houses and several different cells.

I’ve spent most of my adult life being angry at him.
I’ve spent many months being bitter.
I’ve spent weeks crying in abandonment.
I’ve spent days pretending not to care.
I’ve spent hours wishing ill will on him.

It took me only one minute to forgive him.

About four months before he took his life I wrote him a two page email. I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years. I let him know that I had forgiven him and I begged him to create a better relationship with my younger siblings than the one he had created with me. I begged him to do right by them. I begged him not to make my 12-year-old little sister search for the love and acceptance of a man the way that I had.

His exact response:
“Thanks for the letter and thanks for the forgiveness”

I’ve never heard from him again and never will.

Never.

I wish I could rewrite that email.
It might go a little more like this.

Dad,
I’ll empty my bank account and hand it over to you if you come over and play with my kids just once.
I’ll search the streets, buy a bag of cocaine and give it to you if you sing that stupid morning song to them just once.
I’ll steal a car for you if you make a skillet of sausage and eggs for my girls to taste just once.
I’ll do anything dad if you would just give them one moment, one good memory, one kiss, let them run to you and wrap their arms around your neck just one time.
Just one little moment dad.
I truly, honestly forgive you. I forgive it all.
Your daughter.

I get to make a choice, that’s the beauty of our lives. I get to make a choice how I tell my daughters about their grandpa. I get the choice how I tell my stories about him or what stories I don’t tell. I can choose to start growing that seed of what becomes bitterness and hate by planting in them stories to crush their hearts. I can make them hate him.

I won’t.

I get to make that choice.
I won’t hold on to the memories that make me sad.
I won’t hold on to the memories that bring up anger.
I won’t hold on to the memories that disgust me.

I’ll tell my little girls about the time there was a horse harnessed to a tree outside of our house on Christmas morning.
I’ll tell them how he would keep the car slowly rolling while we were trying to get in and laugh hysterically as we trotted next to the car.
I’ll tell them how he would hand us a $20 bill, let us go wild in the convenience store and tell us to keep the change.

I get a choice.
I can be happy or sad
I can forgive or carry a grudge.

I’m going to be happy. I’m going to forgive. I’m going to let go.

I’m going to wake my little girls up today by pulling the covers off of them and singing
“Wake up, get out of bed. Pull those covers across your head”.

You have a choice.
You can let it go or you can crush beneath it.
You can put it away or pass down.

You can forgive.
You can.
Forgive.

Let’s Pray

Merciful Father thank you for giving us a choice. We can follow your son or try to create our own way. I choose You. I choose to follow Jesus. When we get off track gently help us refocus on what truly matters. You did not design us to be angry, sad or weighed down and sometimes we need help remembering that. Help us to leave a legacy of love and forgiveness and to not pass down the trials. Be our guide, our light and our path. In Jesus name, amen.

 

A Shot Of Autism

Justin as Horton

The Great Debate

One of my sweet friends posted on her facebook about her concern over her two month old getting his shots. Her concern was that he was getting so many at one time. She was not against the immunizations just the amount  on one visit. She mentioned that she heard  immunizations can cause autism.

The comments started flowing.

It’s a subject that can really get people going.

There is no solid evidence of what “causes” autism but there are tons of opinions.

Some people think red dye in food cause it or has a negative effect on it.
Some people think that immunization shots cause it.
Some people think that it is hereditary.
Some people think that  environmental agents cause it.
Some people think that it is something  the mother did when she while pregnant like stress, alcohol, infection, diabetes and the list goes on and on.
Some people think that it’s a result of too much television viewing.

I could go on forever with a list of reason that have been thrown out to try to figure out why these kids have this “mental disorder”.

I respect everyone’s opinion about autism. I understand that we tend to grasp at anything that would explain why our children ended up this way.

I don’t believe any of the above reasons and here’s why.

I have triplets. Two are identical and one is fraternal. It’s a strange and rare occurrence, identical can happen to anyone and are a genetic “fluke”.  Spontaneous fraternal twins require a woman to be extra fertile.

My identical twins share the same DNA.
One of my identical twins is autistic and one is not.
All of my triplets have had their immunizations on the same day, same shots, same time, same place.
They received the exact same thing in the womb from what I ate to my level of stress to any infection that I might have had.
They’ve eaten the same thing since birth, including red dyes.
We have lived in the same house since they were born and they have attend the same schools.

If any of those things “caused” autism then all three of them would have it or at the very least her identical sister would have it.

I believe that it is a wiring in the brain issue that happens at conception and while the brain is developing but don’t take my word for it. I’m not a professional anything. I’m not a doctor. I have not spent countless hours researching autism. I have not participated in studies and I have not subjected my daughter to any testing aside from getting her diagnosis. So the only true experience that I have on autism is my daughter.

Autism Causes

I don’t know what causes autism but I do, for a fact, know what autism causes.

Autism causes belly laughs, the kind that make you lose your breath.

Autism causes cracks of sunshine on the cloudiest day.

Autism cause you to reevaluate your entire way of thinking, living and loving.

Autism cause smiles to come out of places so deep inside you that you didn’t even know they existed.

Autism causes the people around it to have compassion that melts your heart.

Autism causes friendships that you would never have thought possible.

Autism cause courage and strength in a mom that could take down a pack of wild hogs

Autism causes late night chitter chatter to spill out from your child’s room.

Autism causes a fashion sense that could take on the runway.

Autism causes a little girl to be exactly who she wants to be without fear, concern or worry.

Autism causes a family to experience the world through eyes that see beauty the rest of us could never imagine.

Autism causes a little ninjas to come out of the wood works and rally around your little girl in their best effort to give your daughter her best chance in life.

God made my little girl.
God made her autistic.
God made her exactly the way she is supposed to be.
He knitted her together in my womb with his very own hands.

She is not the result of immunizations, infections, environmental agents, red dyes, gluten, television or anything else a researcher can come up with .

She is the result of my heavenly Fathers amazing love.

I will never try to explain to her why she is different from the other kids. I will never tell her not to be herself. I will never tell her that she has a “mental disorder” or that she is in some way handicap.

I will tell her that she is Justin.
My Justin.
Daddy’s Justin.
God’s Justin
And all of those things make her the perfect Justin.

Justin is not someone who we need to fix.

Justin is someone who we need to learn from.

Father Daughter Dance

daughter-dance

Practice makes perfect

I was a cheerleader in highschool. Lets just keep that between us okay.

Every year at the end of the year the entire spirit group, dance team, cheer, drill and pep squad, also known as the Lee-ettes, had a spring show. We would all dance and cheer in each of our separate groups and then at the end  all of the senior girls would dance with their dads. Obviously it was called the father daughter dance.

We would dress up in formal gowns and the dads would dress in a coat and tie. I had already cut off my relationship with my father. Actually, the school got a couple of police officers to attend just in case he showed up, that unfortunately is not one of my jokes, its real.

I had dreaded this day for years leading up to it. My dad sent me a letter in the mail, yep that’s how old I am, and he asked me about the father daughter dance.

I never responded.

At that time, my mom had been dating the man that is now my stepdad for about a year. I asked him if he would dance with me.

He said yes.

You would have to know my stepdad to know how simple he is and how he does NOT dance. We had two practices leading up to the big night and my stepdad did not show for either. In his defense he owns his own company and was a very busy guy.

The night of the dance I put on my bravest face as I stood there in my formal gown in a line next to all the seniors facing their dads and the space across from me was empty.

I felt like a waste.

Once again I wasn’t even good enough for a father figure to show up and dance with me for 2 minutes.

But because God is cool, my stepdad showed up at the very last minute dressed to the nines and danced the night away with me.

Maybe I wasn’t a waste after all.

Not A Waste

The second night of our performance when I was getting ready to leave my house, my stepdad called me in to the living room. He told me that all the other girls at the dance were very dressed up and fancy except for me, he said I looked plain.

Ouch.

He then pulled a jewelry box from his pocket and said “so I bought you this.” It was a beautiful diamond and pearl necklace. I was definitely not a waste and my stepdad proved it to me that very moment.

In my eyes I was the luckiest daughter at the dance that night.

Always There For Me

I have those moments with my heavenly Father all of the time.

Have you ever looked up and said “where are you Father, why would you not be here for me”? I have, more than I care to admit. Just like my stepfather did, our heavenly Father always shows up at just the right time.

When we are standing there thinking that we are a waste, He rides in and shows us how much he really loves us. It is so hard to see that He is always there when you are in the moment of despair  but knowing that He is there is what faith is.

I know that when it comes down to it, my stepdad will be there for me and when it comes to my heavenly Father I know that He is always with me.

I wasn’t standing alone that day of the dance while all the other girls stood across from their dads, my heavenly Father was standing across from me filling in until my stepdad had time to get there.

When you feel like you are standing alone, look harder, pray, breath.  He is there.

Lets pray

“Dear Lord thank you for never leaving me. Help me to remember that You are a;ways with me. Comfort me in the moments that I feel like a waste. I love You and love the sacrifice You made for me. In Jesus name, amen.”

As my heart filled with pride while my stepdad led me around the dance floor, there was a heart breaking way up in the balcony of that auditorium. My dad had slithered his way in and hid up there. He watched from afar as I danced with the man who took his time to make me feel worthy and beautiful. Twenty years ago I thought that it was pathetic, now I just feel sorry for him that he wasn’t capable of dancing with me.

You Make Beautiful Things Out Of The Dust- Thanks Be To God

I wanted to thank each of you for the sweet comments and messages that I received yesterday and today. I thought that over these few days I was going to be reminded of the sadness of my dads death but instead I was remind of the good in people. God remains good and faithful. He has made beauty out of ashes and for that I am forever grateful. My husband blessed me today with a new bible and wrote a beautiful message for me inside, my kids have reminded me of the innocence of faith and my friends have showered me with love and support. I’m not sure what I have done to deserve such an abundance of mercy and grace but I know that I am blessed. Thank you. God is so super cool.

quote 86

Today, Tomorrow Or The Day After That.

today tomorrow next day

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6 – 7

365 Days

Today can make me bitter or today can make me better.

My dad committed suicide a year ago today. Maybe it was a year ago tomorrow or maybe the day after that. I will never know.

His death certificate reads “date found” instead of date deceased or date died, whatever they put on there. No one knows when he actually did it. It’s kind of haunting.

The last time anyone heard from him was on the 5th and that is also the day he shopped for his own noose at Home Depot. I know this because of the receipt that was in his pocket when he died.

They didn’t find him until the 7th and we were not told until the 8th.

It’s going to be a long few days for me.

Beauty From The Ashes

I’ve had some anxiety about this day arriving for the past few months. I have kept that to myself for the most part.

Then I started receiving notes from my friends, little reminders that they were praying for me and that they love me. Most of these notes were from friends that I have gained through W3 or friendships that have been renewed or strengthened through W3.

They started to do their work on me.

They started to change me.

Today, Tomorrow Or The Day After That

I’m not going to be sad today,  tomorrow, or the day after that. I’m not going to repeat that eulogy in my head. I’m not going to picture my father on the floor of that bathroom. I’m not going to dwell on Home Depot, a bag of shirts, a death certificate, the phone call from my brother, a cross in the middle of nowhere or a single moment of my past with my dad.

I am going to give thanks for every blessing that God has poured out onto me over the past year.

Thank you God for W3 and letting me have words to put down. Thank you for giving this to me.
Thank you God for renewed friendships, new friendships and changed friendships.
Thank you God for the peace, grace and mercy you have given to me.
Thank you God for the crazy faith that you have filled me with and the fire you have ignited inside me.
Thank you God for giving me the ability to know and show true forgiveness.
Thank you God for the cross and what it means to me now.
Thank you God for letting my dad walk through your gates and to your feet.
Thank you God for any life that you have allowed me to touch through your W3 ministry.

Today is not the anniversary of my dads suicide, neither is tomorrow or the day after that.

Today is the anniversary of my renewed life and faith in Gods ultimate plan.

If he died a year ago today or tomorrow or the day after that, it doesn’t matter. He is in heaven and it doesn’t matter when he got there. It doesn’t matter what was in his pocket or where he went that day. It doesn’t matter what his death certificate says or where his ashes remain.

What matters is what comes after. It matters what I do with it today, tomorrow and the day after that.

Today can make me bitter or today can make me better.

Let’s pray

Merciful Father thank you for the sacrifice of your son so that even someone like my dad can spend eternity in heaven praising your great name. Thank you for giving us enough grace that all we have to do to be able to enter your kingdom is to believe in your son Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving our sin no matter how big or small. Thank you for forgiving us and giving us the ability to forgive others. Thank you for writing my name in the palm of your hand right next to my dads name. In Jesus name, amen.

Dad,

I pray that you are rested and renewed in your new home in heaven. You are forgiven here on earth just like you are forgiven there with our Savior. I hope that your home in heaven is the mansion that you always wanted and that the closets are filled with snake skin boots, Polo style short sleeved shirts, 1000 pairs of Levi jeans, a pair of bright white tennis shoes and a super comfortable bath robe. I pray that God has supplied you with a barber that knows how to cut your hair in a way that that says “business in the front, a party in the back”. I pray that all the TVs in your home play images of your kids and grandkids and that you finally have a chance to see who we have become. I pray that God gave you the voice of an angel and that when you sing His great name in praise, the beauty that comes out of your mouth surprises even you.  Sing dad.

I love you.

Your daughter.

.

Does God Ever Listen To A Thing I Say!

Listen Up God

I was 24 when I had my first daughter. My priorities weren’t exactly something that I would brag about.

I was separated from my husband at the time and preparing myself to be a single mom.

Every night when I went to bed I would try to picture my baby laying next to me. I even set out her onsies as if she was there so that I could visualize how little she would be.

In my mind she was about 7.6lbs with blonde hair and green eyes. She was going to be petite and her hair was going to be so blonde that it almost looked white. A perfect little white fuzz ball on top of her tiny round head.

I made sure to pray for all the appropriate things for her.

I prayed that she would not have my ears (refer to magilla gorilla post) and that she would not have her dads nose (dignified on a man but not so much on a little girl). I also prayed that she would get her daddy’s long lean body and my sense of humor. I prayed that she would be great at gymnastics and gifted at tennis.

After 21 hours of labor and not a drop of pain meds, my first daughter was born.

Excuse me, this isn’t my baby

They handed the 9.1lbs, 22 inches long baby that had the most horrible hair that I had ever seen. It was like a cul-de-sac.  She was bald on top and had a ring of hair from one ear, around the back of her head to the other ear and it was brown hair. She was like a balding old man and she was huge. Her eyes were blue. I did not pray for blue.

Does God listen to ANYTHING I say!

Who’s kid did they just hand me?

Where was my petite, blonde, green eyed baby.

I inspected whatever child they had handed to me. Cute ears and a button nose. Ok God so you do listen…to some of my prayers.

Wait.

What the heck was that above her eyes? Did two caterpillars make their homes there? Oh no! I forgot to pray for eyebrows that required very little plucking. Dang it, it was too late. She had her dads eyebrow.

I tease both of them relentlessly about those caterpillars. It’s all in good fun, they tease me about my ears. I promise that I am not (intentionally) ruining my child.

So who did I think that I was. I was making request to God about what my daughter should be and what she should look like.

Shame on me.

God only makes things that are perfect

While God was knitting my child together in my very own womb I was praying about how He was doing it and trying to coach Him on how to get it right.

I told you that I was a control freak, even God had to deal with my craziness.

Do you ever do that?

Do you thank God for His amazing blessings and then try to coach Him into getting it just the way you want it? Do you pray and then put stipulations on the prayer so that God get’s it right?

I have and I do.

God really is smarter than we think we are

Trust me, God has a plan for you and will bless you with what He knows you need and not what you think you want.

Before I even had a single child I would pray that God would make me a mom to 6 boys, no girls. I’m serious. Girls seemed like such a mess and I didn’t want any part of it.

I am now the proud mom of 5 daughters and not a single son. Oh God you are such a comedian.

God must have a good laugh at us.

God will get it right, we don’t need to worry so much about it. He loves to hear us pray but just because he doesn’t answer it exactly the way we want doesn’t mean that he wasn’t listening or that he doesn’t want us to have all the desires of our heart.

He simply knows what is best for you. He’s got it all mapped out for us so why don’t we take our hands off of the steering wheel and enjoy the ride.

Let’s Pray

Sweet heavenly Father thank you for giving us our needs and filtering our wants. Help us to take comfort in your plan for us and help us to be confident that we can give it all to you. Please have mercy on us when we think that we are in control. You are good all the time. When we are so focus on what we feel is best for us gently remind us that you go before us and that your love for us is greater than anything that we could ever try to compare it to. In Jesus name, amen.

That little baby that the nurses handed to me that day is now a few months away from being a teenager. She is one of the most beautiful blue eyed, brown haired little girls that I have ever seen. She is not even close to being a gymnast and I don’t think that I have ever seen her hold a tennis racket. Instead she’s an excellent volleyball player. She can play the piano, saxophone and violin. She is a straight A student and has a heart of gold.The best part about her is that she is a Jesus girl and not at all ashamed. I am so thankful that God didn’t answer my prayers that I prayed when I was pregnant with her. Instead he gave me so much more than I could have ever made up those nights while I laid  in bed and prayed about her.

Covered Up In Shame

A few years ago my husband and I finally broke down and got a king sized bed. The kids love to hang out with us in bed and everyday we have a designated “snuggle time” when we all jump in bed and get our snuggle on.

My cousin gave us an old antique door to use as a headboard and we just happened to have some hand me down nightstands that matched perfectly. The big dilemma was the comforter. I wanted it to be perfect. It had to match the antique look of our room and it had to be super comfortable.

My husband begged me to stop using the term “shabby chic” to describe our made over room. He reminded me that being the only man in a family with 6 girl was hard enough without all the shabby chic talk. So I will refrain.

I searched everywhere and finally narrowed it down to two comforters. They were both hanging out on a shelf in Target waiting to see which one of them I would pick. I made my husband go up there with me to help me choose. He is useless in this department. He always says “I want whatever makes you happy”.

Those are dangerous words.

After swapping them in and out of our basket I finally decided on one and my husband shoved me out the door. When I got home and put it on my bed I realized that I had made the perfect choice.

Everything, and I do mean everything, in our home is a hand-me-down. This is one of the very rare items that we have actually purchased for ourselves.

Later that night my oldest daughter came in to our room and asked if she could give me a pedicure. Yeah, like I was going to turn that down. I made her put a towel under my feet so that she didn’t get anything on my new comforter.

Before she even got a single coat on one of my toes, the lid to the polished flipped out of her hands, soaring across the bed and landing on my 4 hour old, perfectly matched and super comfy comforter.

The lid flipped… and then I flipped.

Of course my daughter didn’t intentionally get polish on my bed and I knew that but I still freaked out. I remember yelling something about never getting to have nice stuff and that no one was ever allowed in our room again..EVER! My daughter tucked her tail and went to her room.

When I snapped out of it the guilt set in. Why in the world would I flip out over a comforter? We have a closet full of blankets and even though they aren’t the softest or prettiest, they will still keep us warm. To be honest, we live in Texas and very rarely need a blanket.

The two things that I missed the mark on that day were the fact that I am blessed to have a big comfortable bed and that my daughter wanted to do something sweet for me.

She wanted to serve me in a way that she knew I would love and she found reward in that. I ruined it because my tunnel vision was focused on that nail polish (bright red by the way) hanging out on my new comforter. What a jerk.

I tucked my tail and headed to my daughter’s room. I went on and on with my apology for getting so fired up over the polish. I tried to explain to my daughter why I got so upset over something that is simply material.

My daughter forgave me the minute I walked in to her room and didn’t really need the 30 minute apology. She just wants my attention and my love, that’s it.

Why do materialistic things get us so caught up? Why would I choose to be mad about the new comforter getting ruined over being grateful that my almost teenaged daughter wants to hang out with me.

My youngest daughter has been asking for a new pair of shoes for school. Everyday she tells me not to forget and everyday I forget. When she told me yesterday that I forgot again I snapped at her letting her know that I was working all day so that she could have the shoes to begin with and that I am extremely busy during the day (me,me,me!).

What a jerk I am. She’s freaking 6 years old for crying out loud. She doesn’t get the concept that I have to work all day to provide all the things that she has.

What has happened to me? I’m so wrapped up in the day to day hustle that I fail to feed my faith and compassion. I’m putting things be back where they belong. Sure, I’ll still look longingly at my comforter and get a slight twitch when I see that red spot but I’m going to choose to think about how awesome it is that my daughter and I have such a good relationship and that she still desires to serve me. She’s almost 13 and I’m no fool. I know that these times will become fewer and farther between. I better soak up every moment while I can, kind of like my amazing comforter soaked up that nail polish! Are we failing to see the beauty in things? The beauty of my room is not this silly comforter, it’s the little girls who beg to stay in here just a little longer. Are your eyes focused? What are they focused on? Are you focused on the comforter or on the little girl begging to serve you. It’s time to change our focus.

Let’s pray

Merciful Father help us to move our focus off of the materialistic things that so easily grab our attention and put it back on the true beauty that You created. When we become wrapped up in “things” gently turn our heads toward what holds real value. Help us to know what is truly of value and what is simply material.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

The other day I went in to my daughters room and she had several towels laid out on her bed while she did her nails. I asked her why so many towels were need and she answered “I don’t want my comforter to get polish on it and look ruined and old like yours”. I had to physically stop myself from “accidentally” knocking her polish over on her comforter.

Following The Kid

My sweet and silly friend sent me a package in the mail on Friday.

Included in the package was a pair of new shoelaces. She attached a note to them that read….

“To go with your new sole. When it all seems to be falling apart, this is to keep it together.”

I love her. She pours out blessings on me and because of her I have blessings far beyond what I ever expected.

Last night I laced up my shoes with the new laces. The are light blue with silver sparkles and I was sure that they were going to make me go faster and farther. I felt like a machine when I put my shoes on to go on my nightly walk. I felt so good that I ran in to my oldest daughters room and challenged her to go with me. It went something like this:

Me: Wanna go on my walk with me?
Stiles: Seriously. (insert eye roll and exhale.)
Me: If you can’t hang with your old mom I understand
Stiles: Nope, just wish you would have given me a heads up so that I could get ready
Me: Well, if you can’t keep up I understand.
Stiles: Nope, just need to get my shoes on
Me: I’m going all the way around the neighborhood, are you sure you want to go
Stiles: Seriously (insert eye roll and exhale)

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I challenged my physically fit, athletically dominating 12 year old daughter but trust me when I say that I have learned my lesson. It made me feel good when I stopped her to ask about the bruise on the back of her leg and she had to catch her breath just to tell me. I secretly laughed that she was winded but as any concerned mother would do, I ask her if she was okay. We could slow down if she needed to (oh please please say you need to slow down).  She didn’t take the bait and started walking at her brisk 12 year old pace again. She looked taller all of the sudden, like her legs had grown over night. Her stride was long and fast. What happened to my baby girl?  I pretty much stared at her back side for the rest of the walk. I could tell that she was trying to proving a point to me.  It worked. The bright side was that I didn’t want to look like the old mom who couldn’t keep up so I pushed myself harder than I usually do. I wanted her to be proud of me and I wanted to be as good as she is. If she would have lollygagged (it’s a word I promise) I would have lollygagged with her. The same goes for our walk with God. We can face our walk with Him at a half hiney pace or we can take off full force. If we chose to to lollygag along without pushing for more, then we are going to get lost. We will get sucked in by “just enough”.  I promise that when you strive for “just enough” it leaves a lot of room for the devil to catch up to you. It’s vital to have people in your life that will challenge you in your walk with Christ, that will set a pace that you need to work hard at to achieve and that won’t let you make an excuse to stop or slow down. Keep your eyes and your heart so focused on the leaders of the race and the prize in the Kingdom of heaven that you don’t have time to lollygag. Take the weight of sin off of you so that the burdens of life don’t weigh you down. Wake up every morning and ask God to help you run the good race. Keep pace with others who have the same goal that you do. Don’t be a lollygagger!  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1.

Let’s pray

“Mighty Father remove the scales from our eyes so that we can focus our eyes and hearts on You and what You have waiting for us in Your Kingdom. Give us strength to keep pushing forward and striving for more. Put people in our lives that will challenge us in our walk and not let us be lollygaggers. In Jesus name, Amen”.

I took great pleasure in the fact that my daughters shirt was covered in sweat, her face was red and she was breathing heavily when we got home. I yelled out to her (because I was so far behind) to make sure that she drank some water. I really just didn’t want to look like a wuss when I was guzzling water attempting to re-hydrate.