indigenous people’s day

It’s Indigenous People’s Day today. Some of you may know it by it’s former name.  Columbus Day.  Maybe you were like me and you were told a piece of the story growing up.  You know, the part of the story where a brave man named Christopher Columbus discovered this land called “the americas”? Well, I finally put two and two together and realized that all those stories in my childhood of native people’s having their land taken from them, and Columbus were actually one and the same story, but with many half truths, lies, and some very important details taken out.  I finally realized that the land Columbus discovered and Europeans eventually took over, was the land that indigenous people had been living on and thriving in for hundreds if not thousands of years.  The conversations with my parents, about their generations’ games played like, “cowboys and indians”…it didn’t dawn on me how brutal and thoughtless those games were.  How did this get missed? [This one’s on my reading list.] But now I know and I can’t go back.  So here are a few things I’m committing to today [as in, for life].

  • If my kids watch Peter Pan, we will make sure to talk about the stereotypes of Native children also known as “lost boys” in the story.  We will talk about real chiefs and real indigenous female leaders.
  • We will not wear Native American clothing as “costumes”.  So that cute outfit my mom made for my daughter’s dress-up?  It resembles Native American clothing, of some time period (I’m not sure exactly) and if my daughter chooses to wear it, she will know what she’s wearing and whose story it belongs too.  She will hear about Native people’s in our own neighborhood and community.
  • We will be careful to not take tribal designs (clothing, textiles, handbags, jewelry) and claim them as our own.  We will honor them for whose they are and whose story they tell. That’s called cultural appropriation.
  • We watch this, and are amazed by the art of Matika Wilbur.
  • I will tell the stories of children of Native American/First Nations communities and the schools they were forced to attend, so when my kids hear about the challenges of life on the Reservations they will know that these communities have faced many hardships- generations of families broken apart, lack of systems that support, and emotional and psychological trauma that exceeds anything my children will probably ever face.
  • We will commit ourselves to seeing the beauty of creation that God made, and seeing the beauty of indigenous people’s cultures and traditions that keep them rooted in their identity.
  • We will read books, and books by Indigenous authors, not just books about “Native Americans” by non-native authors. Check out this list to start.
  • I will remember Richard Twiss and Wiconi International and pray for the ministry of Corey Greaves and Mending Wings.  I will thank my friend Lenore Three Stars for her wisdom and writing.
  • I will choose not to ignore the #NoDAPL.  Watch this.

It is Indigenous People’s Day.  But every day is a day for all people to be fully and completely themselves including indigenous people in this country.

Teaching Children About Race: Parent Resource

This is a resource we created for Quest Kids and Family Ministry

“When I walked into the classroom, the kids were seated at their desks, eager to get started with the special presentation.  After the teacher introduced me, I handed a puzzle piece to each student in the class.  As I began my spiel about how diversity is like a puzzle, I noticed that the children in the back of the class were busily working on something rather than paying attention to me.  They chattered with excitement as they passed objects back and forth between them. 

 I asked what they were doing, and they announced, “We’re putting it together!” When I asked them why, they said, “It’s a puzzle.  The pieces are supposed to go together.   It doesn’t make any sense if we don’t put all our pieces together.”

Standing in the classroom, I realized that these children from different backgrounds were teaching me.  They didn’t need instruction about the importance of coming together, they instinctively knew that our individual pieces “don’t make sense” unless they come together with other pieces of different shapes, sizes and colors.  They understood that they were interdependent, and they eagerly collaborated with each other so they could see the bigger picture.  To do anything less just wouldn’t have made sense.”

pg 85, A Credible Witness, Brenda Salter McNeil

Moms & Dads, Caregivers and Grandparents: A Credible Witness is a great read, among many other book & resources suggestions here!

Ephesians 2:14

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

Galatians 3:26-28,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What is racism?

  • The practice of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance of another race based on the belief that claims to find racial difference in character, intelligence, morality
  • The assertion of the superiority of one race over another.

Is it our goal to teach children to be colorblind?

  • Being colorblind means to not attach value to color.
  • It is confusing to tell our kids not to see our color differences.
  • The will see color.
  • We need to teach our children not to make value judgments about people based on their color.

How can we accomplish this with our children?

Be disciples to our children

  • Pray for God’s kingdom- it is multiethnic, multinational, and multilingual.  Our goal is to point children towards Christ’s kingdom.
  • Interact with anyone who is different.
  • Encourage our children to play with children from different races.

Be models of Reconciliation

  • Parents are to be aware of your own subtle disparities.
  • What you say and how you behave toward those of another race will shape your children.
  • Be models of reconciliation.

Get out of our comfort zone

  • Interact with people who are different.
  • Let your kids play with kids from different races.
  • Lead children to appreciate and learn from our differences.
  • Help children to value others.

Take Active Steps

  • Expose your children to different cultures.  Learn about their foods, festivals, costumes, language and games.
  • Encourage your child to invite someone racially different over to play.
  • Never make jokes about other races.
  • Reach out to people who are of a different race than you.
  • Extend an invitation to your home for a meal, or to church to worship together
  • Get to know other people’s stories.  Learn about who they are, where they are from, and what they love.

More active steps

  • Teach your child about his/her own ethnic heritage.
  • Help them to recognize their own diversities even within the race.
  • Affirm children’s ethnic heritage.
  • Encourage schools and church to teach racial reconciliation.
  • Find multiethnic media- public library and websites, etc.
  • If our parents or grandparents say a racist joke, have the courage to say, “I don’t believe that’s the best Christian approach.”
  • We can tell our children that Grandpa was wrong for telling ugly jokes: “I hope you’ll never make remarks like that.  Grandpa grew up in a time when many people were prejudiced against other races.  These are wrong attitudes.”

The most common misconception about racial identity?

  • People are afraid that racial reconciliation means sameness.  They think they have to give up who they are.
  • Christians think that because we do not harbor prejudice or act bitter, that people will just want to be with us.  We have to reach out to invite others into genuine, caring, and authentic relationships.  People will know if it isn’t real, so don’t force it!

 

 

The Decision to Go Back to School

When I graduated college, I had a plan. 

Get a job. Get some ministry experience.  Go back to school. Somewhere along the way I was going to start a family and write a children’s book series about the Bible with a specific multicultural lens.

Yeah, about our plans.  They don’t usually happen the way we think they will, do they?

Isaiah 55:3, 8-9 “Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love…“My thoughts are not like your thoughts. And your ways are not like my ways,”
announces the Lord. “The heavens are higher than the earth. And my ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

After four years, falling in love with my job and faith community, I left Children’s Ministry to start a family.  My husband and I, yet again, had a plan.  I would stay at home with the kids and get back into ministry when they were older.  Open-ended discussion.  I loved being at home with my newborn son, but it wasn’t long before my heart was beating again for children and family ministry in the church.  After prayer and struggle and identity crisis, I returned to my church and began ministry, now as a mom.  By the time I returned, my second child was born and the 3rd trailed not far behind.

Going to seminary became a distant dream…until one season where I began to address some fear issues (thanks church community, you really like to break me out of my comfort zone don’t you?!).  Suddenly when my fear was laid bare on the table, there only seemed to be one response:

COURAGE.

Reflecting on how God was asking me to be courageous led to a one year process of pursing licensing with our denomination, Evangelical Covenant.  I am now the Associate Pastor of Children and Family Ministry at Quest Church  my home for the past 12 years.  Due to working with the best staff ever, and a fantastic team in Children & Family Ministry , I serve part-time at church and enjoy “work at home mom” status half-time.  Continuing the pattern of courageous baby steps, I’m returning to school part time in Fall 2014 for the MDiv program at Seattle Pacific Seminary.  My alma mater.

Proverbs 4:11-13, I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.

When I graduated, God had a plan. I am along for the ride.

More on the journey to come!

Change the Narrative: With Books

How do we help our kids seek to love other people, no matter what?  It begins by changing the narrative in our home.  If this thought overwhelms you, try some books.  Reading opens doors for conversations, thoughts and ideas.  Reading gives us opportunities to learn new things about people who are different than us.  We can change the narrative with books.  Start while your kids are young. Here are a list of Quest favorites and some websites to do your own exploring.

Everybody Cooks Rice  Dooley, Norah
My Family  Kinkade, Sheila
Black, White, Just Right   Davol, Marguerite W.
I’m Like You, You’re Like Me – A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other  Gainer, Cindy
Every Child Everywhere!  Anderson, Debby
God Knows My Name Anderson, Debby
God’s Dream and Children of God Storybook Bible Tutu, Desmond
Shades of People Rotner, Shelley
The Skin You Live In  Tyler, Michael
The Colors of Us  Katz, Karen
All Kinds of Children  Simon, Norma
These Hands  Mason, Margaret H.
Boycott Blues – How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation Pinkney, Andrea Davis
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match  Brown, Monica
My People and I, Too, Am America Hughes, Langston
I Love Saturdays Y Domingos   Ada, Alma Flor
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me  Pinkney, Sandra L.
The Other Side   Woodson, Jacqueline
Efraín of the Sonoran Desert – A Lizard’s Life Among the Seri Indians  Astorga, Amalia
Dear Juno  Pak, Soyung
Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding  Look, Lenore
Horace  Keller, Holly
Pablo’s Tree  Mora, Pat
Star of the Week – A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies With Sprinkles  Friedman, Darlene
My Two Grannies  Benjamin, Floella
Black Is Brown Is Tan  Adoff, Arnold
Separate Is Never Equal Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation  Tonatiuh, Duncan
Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence  Woelfle, Gretchen
I Am Mixed Beauvais, Garcelle
I Am Your Peanut Butter Big Brother  Alko, Selina
With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built A School  Slade, Suzanne
I Am An American: A True Story of Japanese Internment  Stanley, Jerry
We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)  Kates, Bobbi
Dumpling Soup Rattigan, Jama Kim
Mama, Do You Love Me?   Joosse, Barbara M.
My Parts Equal Me! Beverly C. Heath
Please, Baby, Please!  Lee, Spike
Peace is an Offering, Annette LeBox

Childrens Books Infographic 2015

websites for more ideas

 

Favorite Books on Parenting

There is no ‘one size fits all’ model for parenting.  The Bible does not outline ’12 steps to successfully raise a child to be a follower of Jesus’.

The Bible does offer us insight and instruction, wisdom and guidance that informs who we are (identity), how we are called to live (mission), and what we invited to do (share the gospel, love people, be kingdom builders, pursue reconciliation).  There are wise people/authors, not perfect people/authors, who provide some suggestions too.  So there is no prescription.  But there are supports as we find our way.

Here are a few books that I’ve enjoyed along the journey, learned from and recommend to families at our church.

  • Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus, David M. Csinos & Ivy Beckwith
  • Sticky Faith, Kara E. Powell & Chap Clark
  • Theirs is the Kingdom, Robert Lupton
  • Spiritual Parenting, Dr. Michelle Anthony
  • Boundaries with Kids, Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
  • The Five Love languages of Children, Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.
  • How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family, Dan B. Allender
  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  • Siblings Without Rivalry, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
  • Grace-Based Parenting. By Dr. Tim Kimmel
  • Power of a Praying Parent, Stormie O’martian
  • Raising Your Spirited Child, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, John Gottman
  • Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey: Nurturing a Life of Faith, Catherine Stonehouse.
  • Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 other Myths that Trap You into Guilt and Worry, Leslie Leyland Fields
  • Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, Kevin Leman
  • Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Child into the Joy of Worship, Robbie Castleman.
  • Parenting is Heart Work, Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller.
  • Raising Kids Who Care: About Themselves, About Their World, About Each Other, Kathleen O’Connell Chesto.
  • Raising a Modern-Day Joseph: A Timeless Strategy for Growing Great Kids, Larry Fowler.
  • The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, John Trent and Gary Smalley.
  • Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives, Karen Yust and Eugene Roehlkepartain

Including Kids in Worship

Children are an important part of the body of Christ.  We believe children are not the church of the future, they are the church of today.  A child’s place in the church should be acknowledged and his or her presence valued.  We must lead the children, but we can also learn from them.

In Matthew 18:2-5 we read, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me’.”

Jesus said in Mark 10:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

God designed all of his creation to worship him, Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouths of infants and children, you have ordained praise.”

God instructed Israel, as a whole community in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Simply acknowledging God’s presence in our daily life and modeling a life of worship is a greater example to our children of our faith in Christ than our words could ever be alone. But how do we do “church” together”?  We invite kids in.  We let them sing, sit, observe, respectfully ask questions, and we talk them through what they see, hear, and feel.  We help them feel included by teaching them the songs we sing, letting them put the tithe in the offering basket, participate in communion or receiving a blessing. No one says this will be easy.  Kids are noisy, they stir and move and rustle, they speak too loudly during quiet parts of worship, they need to go the bathroom or get a drink of water at the most inconvenient moment.  They cry as if on cue during silence or hide under the chair of the person next to them, complain of worship being too loud or not knowing the words.

“Part of your duty as a parent is to spend a few years sacrificing your own quality of worship so that you can teach your little ones to worship”- Elizabeth Sandell

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Tips for parents as you prepare for worship:

  • Make the “decisions” Saturday night: the decision to attend worship, the decision to get up at a certain time; decisions of what to wear and have for breakfast, what you need to bring with you.  This will help Sunday mornings run a little more smoothly.
  • Talk to your child about what to expect at church the night before, let them know where you will be and what you will be doing.
  • Arrive just a few minutes early so your child can be a part of the beginning of the service.
  • Find a seat in the sanctuary where your child can see, but is also comfortable and will not be too disruptive (for your sake) when the move around (they will move around!).
  • Give your child an opportunity to use the restroom, get a drink of water before service begins.
  • Help your child understand.  It is okay to whisper quietly to your child about what is going on or what is coming next.
  • Model prayer, singing, closing your eyes and clapping with and for your child.  It is good for your child to notice the different ways people express themselves in worship at church.
  • Do not assume that your child is not gaining anything from the service if they appear to be bored or not paying attention.  We do not always know what the Holy Spirit is doing in a child’s heart.
  • Sometimes a move to the back of the sanctuary or a trip to the drinking fountain helps a child re-focus by stretching their legs and moving their body their mind and body can be ready to participate again.
  • Talk with your child after service about the things they saw, what they observed or thought about the service.  Ask you child what was their favorite part, or what was most difficult for them.  You can even ask them what God spoke to them during the service or how did they see/feel God’s presence.
  • Pray for you child and their friends; that God will speak to them during the service.  Encourage your children to listen for God’s voice.
  • Allow your child to participate in communion (see our “how to prepare for communion” ideas!) either by taking communion with you or receiving a prayer of blessing from a pastor.  Remind your child what communion is and why we do it.

Thoughts on “Doing It All”

I often have people ask me, how do you do it? how do you do it “all”?  Those are weighted questions, that deserve thoughtful answers.  To be honest, I don’t always know how to answer them.  The easiest response is to say, I don’t know.  I don’t know how we do it, we just do. We sleep, we eat, we pray, we cry, we fight, we forgive, we work, we play.  And we do it over and over again.  The things that keep me going are to focus on caring for my family, pursuing Jesus, pursuing the things and people I care about and listening for God’s voice amidst it all.  The other end of that is we do not do it all.  Lots of things get missed, mistakes made, and balls dropped so to speak.

I must admit I cannot do everything.  There is also a fine line we walk, of being “busy” and “living full lives.”  There are many things that I don’t do that I wish I did (such as call my best friend more than once every 4 months!)  And there are many things that I do, that I wish I didn’t waste my time on!  When I embraced the fact that I would be a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist for the rest of my life, I gave myself space to breathe and space to receive God’s grace on the parts of my life which are really not that glamorous. Or even pretty.  Actually, there is some stuff that is downright ugly.

Take for example this journal entry I wrote the date after Halloween:

I had a deadline for work. I decided to limit the amount of distractions by hiring a morning babysitter.  TV, yes I did. The day after we indulged ourselves in way too much candy, I figured, why not? Let’s just add one more thing. SO I frantically wrote a newsletter and my children sat, so well behaved I might add in front of the television…for way too long.

Finally, the letter was written, we were behind schedule with our morning school routine, Ezra still had not finished his homework packet due that day, and there wasn’t much in the way of breakfast food- so apples and peanut butter [and halloween candy] for breakfast it was.  We rushed and ran and did the best we could and made it to school on time.  Mission accomplished.

So there it is.  My confession.  Someone asks, how we do it, and that is how it’s done.  And I am okay with that.

The “judger” (Myers-Briggs reference) in me says, really Katey? You’re okay with that?  My nice self says, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not the only one.  My compassionate  and hopeful side says, tomorrows a new day, it will get better!

There is a movement in the blogging world and facebook from what I’ve seen, to show your more true authentic self.  Not just the pretty parts or the inspirational life quotes, but the messy and real, honest, hard to share parts.  Sometimes they get categorized as #fail or #parentfail.  I get it.  We all fail and part of being real, authentic and genuine is not hiding that stuff.  But what happens if ALL our lives or our parenting amounts to is its successes and failures?  Do we just start adding it all up and hope that in long run we end up in the positive?  If I could make a change I would change #parentfail to #reallifeparenting.

I am learning that each family is going to look different and some can do more things than others, but one of the ways that we can tend to ourselves and our families is by making sure there is movement toward healthy relationships with each other, relationship with God, and a heart of compassion and love for others.  If these 3 things are not clear, I would advocate for a family meeting.  Let’s bring together our #reallifeparenting and our #healthyboundaries and our #lovejesusloveothers all together for a work party.

How do you deal with your parenting struggles?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do?

What are ways that you give yourself a break to combat busy-itis and overbooked syndrome?

How to Finish Well, Or Not

I find myself at the end of things often.  Not sure if completing them is what I want to do or have the energy to do.  This plays out in just about every area of my life. For example:

  • We run out of paper towels.  I debate for weeks the decision to buy more or be more environmentally friendly and using more cloth.  But sometimes paper towel is so much easier!
  • I do a lot of talking at work (during certain parts of my job).  I come to the end of a meeting with a new or potential ministry volunteer and I have a hard time stopping the sharing.  Just one more story.  Just one more idea.  I just want to tell them one more thing.  (sometimes people laugh and me, or look at me with that expression that says- wow, that was a lot of information.  I take their cue and close in prayer.)
  • I came to the airport early today for a flight, but at the last minute decided to  use the airport restroom instead of plane one.  Ew.  However, when I returned to the gate, everyone had boarded, they took my name off the list and gave up my seat (or so they said).  Thankfully they found a seat, ironically right next to the bathroom on the VERY LAST ROW, aisle seat, which meant that everyone who needed to go on the plane leaned against MY seat while I quietly tried to read and mourned the loss of a cozy middle seat in the middle of the plane next to my friend.  That ending I was very happy to have, but I wished it had turned out a bit differently
  • This morning when I said goodbye to my kids I was okay with our time ending.  Tonight while I watched my daughter cry on facetime (maybe we shouldn’t have face timed), I felt a twinge of sadness.  Notice I said twinge.  But while on the plane I was thinking of all the things I would do differently to love my kids, be more patient and forgiving and gentle with them, when I returned.  I’m coming back a changed mama!
  • I got to my 5 minute bang trim appointment yesterday 15 minutes late. I rushed in out of breath and apologetic.  It really wasn’t a big deal, but I said something cliche like “story of my life I’m always late” (Which technically isn’t true.  I’m only sometimes late,  otherwise I’m usually right on time. And not often early)
  • I’m aiming to finish some reading for a class I am taking (that starts tomorrow) and I just keep getting distracted by other things (FB, blog, twitter, instragram, pandora, facetime, etc.)…I can’t quite finish!

I guess what I have been reflecting on today is that everything has a beginning and an end.  I am not always great at endings.  They tend to be messy, sloppy, sometimes I doubt my choices or thoughts, or words, and while I find myself imagining others in life have these wonder polished endings, complete articulate sentences, well-managed schedules, quick decision makers- there are probably a lot of other people out there like me.

One final story about my struggle with endings and I’ll stop here.  I signed a Youversion Bible reading plan for January, to read the Psalms and Proverbs in 31 days. I’ve done it before and I was really looking forward to this somewhat short term goal, easy to accomplish and finish, right?  Psalms and Proverbs are so life-giving and encouraging…yeah I’m a week or so behind.  But I’m pressing on.  I’m not giving up.  I might be late. I might be scattered or disheveled or flustered. But I’m here. And I’m listening. God, I am listening.

This Girl

selah

This girl.  If you know her, you know her favorite place to be is snuggled up to mom or dad (shoulder or  leg is fine, she is not picky) thumb in mouth, ‘mankin’ (her little blanket) in hand.  She’s been this way all of her two and three quarters years.  So imagine my delight when she agreed to ride a horse this summer!  I was cautiously optimistic and did not coerce her into it, I promise.  We sat at the coral for a good hour watching other kids go, and finally as the horse leaders were making their last calls Selah mustered up the courage to do it. She didn’t want to climb on but let me lift her on, then we walked the 3 minute SLOOOOOOWWWW lap around the coral.  This pictures captures a few things:

  1. She’s looking at a camera and smiling- this is a rare gift, people!
  2. She’s on a horse with a helmet on her head (she doesn’t even like her own bike helmet!
  3.  She’s happy.  And that makes me happy (which I think was captured beautifully by my dear friend Joanie Komura)

We often describe Selah as cautious, shy and introverted. Without placing her in a box, we want to acknowledge that she has taken life a slower pace than her brothers, and we are learning to respect her needs, discerning when to challenge her, and embracing her for who she is at all times (even when it’s inconvenient for mom and dad).  She is leery of people until she knows they are on “her side”.  Then she loves them deeply.

The horse ride was a celebration of Selah stepping UP out of her comfort zone and trying something new and scary. She did it with a smile on her face and in fact wanted to try again (too late sister, the horses needed a nap!).

This day happened to be a big day for both of us.  I spoke for the first time at our church retreat and baptized two young girls who had recently chosen to commit their lives to Jesus in the lake at Cascades Camp.  Both Selah and I tried something new.  We stepped up and out, timid but brave, fearful yet courageous.  We both experienced the joy of being stretched and challenged and filled with joy at the awesomeness of doing a new thing.  This girl, Selah melts my heart every day.

Lake Baptism
Cascades Camp, Lake Baptism, August 25, 2013

Mother’s Day: Dandelion Seeds

I’ve never posted about a Mother’s Day.  There’s always a first…

I woke up to a two year olds cry at 5am. The usual…she doesn’t get up but she just cries out as if to say, mom don’t forget you should get up in one hour. My six year old made my coffee- love him for itand my kids decided to gift me all 5 of the jewelry items that I had pre-selected from a friends business (even though I had planned to give 4 of the 5 away).  That was sweet, and I felt terrible telling them I could only keep one.

At church we had a medical emergency with a young toddler.  Thankfully the toddler and family are well, but it was one of those really intense moments where you get to watch people in action as first responders and make tough calls, and calm tears and pray for peace, and follow-up with those who were present and check-in, and check-in again.  I am learning that I am not the best in emergency situations, but I am so, so, SO very thankful for people who are.  

I led all our grade schoolers at church in this cool prayer called, Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth.  She’s creative, and you should check it out.  The idea is praying without words, using doodling.  Who doesn’t love to doodle?  We prayed for moms. We wrote a name for God and then doodled while we created space to think about, reflect and listen to God.  We wrote a name for mom and then doodled while we created space to think about and offer up our moms to God.  It was challenging and fun, and funny, and amazing, and encouraging and difficult all at the same time. One friend there was doodling for a mom who recently passed away from cancer.   One mom opened her card at home and saw the words “Messiah” and “Mom” on the same page…she jokingly wondered about what we were teaching her child.  That was funny.  Praying in Color needs a little explanation.

We handed out big, white carnations to all the moms at church and decided that it’s more enjoyable and easier to just give them out to every women at church…some of the young college students gave some funny looks I’m sure.  My favorite moment was giving one out a woman at our church who I know has been praying and waiting for a child of her own.  In a unique and special way, she is a mom- she just doesn’t have a child yet. It was a mom carnation of hope.

I got to hold a new born at the end of service.  He wiggled and squirmed and fussed, but I ooh’d and aah’d at his cuteness anyway. He made me miss having a newborn [but right now one of my precious newborns is now 4 years old and making the loudest angry ruckus downstairs because I won’t wash his tank top ‘right this minute’], so no, never mind.  I don’t need another one thank you.

I came home to celebrate Mother’s Day with my family. My kids were napping but when they woke up all I wanted was one picture with them. I bribed them with lollipops thinking to seal the deal and make a happy family photo. Oh no. Because what 2 year old will smile for a lollipop?  Well, not mine anyway. Instead we got tears and tantrums on the front deck and just one picture of a mom with 2/3’s of her kids, trying to smile, but really just sad that her baby girl wouldn’t even hug her mama.

But some snuggle time with my baby while she ate her dinner, a margarita and a yummy plate of bbq chicken, pulled pork, home made coleslaw and fresh green salad took some of the pain away.

My day ended with a killer back ache and an hour of snuggling a feverish baby while he slept (not mine).  I felt bad for him, but didn’t mind the fact that I one job and one job alone in that moment.  Hold the sick baby.  I can do this. I can pray and pour love on him, and give him what he needs in that moment.

At the very end of the day (because you know your day doesn’t really end until your head officially hits the pillow), after rolling the kids whining and crying into their beds, 3 times, we sat down to take a breath- I read two words of encouragement from friends online.

” This is the true story of a family that is trying its hardest to stay rooted and grounded in love but facing so many struggles along the way. Don’t believe the fairy tale but despite the fact that for many of us it’s tough much of the time…it is beyond worth it.”- CMC

” God knew what was needed today and provided it.” – PC

Both of these were important for me to hear.  Because it affirmed for me that in my day there is space to acknowledge the hard stuff, and grace to accept that God knows I need when I’m in the middle of it.  So what do I choose to do with all that I experienced?  The crummy stuff buckles me, and brings me to my knees. The good stuff allows me to lift my head and hope for a new day today.  I was thinking of dandelion seeds.  They are pretty amazing.  On the one hand they are a weed, annoying.  On the other hand they are both a bright yellow spot of sunshine and a child’s whispery breath and dream flower.  The seeds get blown, and they are gone.  Our experience of the dandelion is all about perspective.  The moments of this day were like the little dandelion seeds.  They have come and gone, but will produce something new. Today I’m choosing to view the dandelion not as a weed but as a bright yellow spot of sunshine.