Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bigger Picture #12: A Foot in Both Worlds

I believe I had mentioned that we bought the two-year-old a big boy bed. Well, last night we finally put it up.
The delay was several fold. First, the hubby was very busy remodeling the church kitchen. Then, when he was home I was out of town and I requested that it be delayed so that I could be here when the little one first slept in it. Meanwhile, while I was out of town the hubby worked on potty training the two-year-old and used the bed as bait for "becoming a big boy."
So, last night it all came together. We were all at home. In fact, my step-son was over with his new little one so I got to hold the grandbaby while he helped put the bed together (that definitely worked out in my favor!).
And bedtime came and the two-year-old slept in his big boy bed! I expected him to be eager for bedtime (at least for one night) but found that not to be the case. Even with his new bed, of which he is very proud, he still resisted going to sleep. However, he didn't get out of bed! And that was a big deal since he's been climbing out the crib nearly every night when he is resisting bedtime.
All of this talk of him becoming a big boy...with the milestones of potty training and moving out of the crib...again has me reflecting on the journey of growing up.
He is becoming a big boy. And he is still a baby (don't tell him I said that!). See, that's really how it is. There is not a moment when that transition happens. There is not a magical event - not even potty training - that makes a little one fully grown. Rather it's a journey...a foot in the big boy world doing big boy things and becoming ever more independent ...a foot in the baby world clinging to his mommy and wanting to remain dependent.
And perhaps this isn't only true for two-year-olds. Maybe most of us are living with out feet planted in different worlds...confident, yet uncertain...grown up and responsible, yet wanting someone else to depend...truly happy with our lives, yet seeking something more.
And maybe it's not a bad place to be. After all, maybe when we discover how to live well with our feet in different worlds, maybe we discover our true selves.
For more Bigger Picture Moments or to share yours, visit Melissa.

Monday, September 27, 2010

About Nurturing Our Children's Faith

"Nurturing your children's faith is not something you do to or for your children; it is something you do with your children. And with your children, you will learn, discover and grow in ways you cannot predict or control. It will change you. And you will be better for it."

-Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Search Institute

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Takes, #16

#1: Apologies for not having the lovely "Quick Takes" picture at the beginning of this post...I'm in a hotel, using the business center computer and need to be quick.

#2: Which brings us to #2 - I've been spending this week in lovely San Diego! It's been a little cooler and hazier than usual, but I'm so ready for fall that leaving 95 degrees in Missouri to come to 65 and 70 degrees here is wonderful!

#3: The pastor's conference I've been at this week was tremendous! The speaker was really good as were the preachers during worship services. My earlier post this week (which you are welcome to continue responding to) was a direct result of our conversations here.

#4: I've been with one of my dear friends this week and it's been wonderful. Close friendships are so important to me but the busy-ness of life makes them harder and harder to find time for. So, I so cherish these moments where we can just be together without so many other demands.

#5: Speaking of other demands...this is not the first time I've left my hubby and kids home, but it is the longest. It's happened a few others times for just a couple of days. This time I've been gone Monday - Saturday. And of course, they are doing fine. I knew they would...I've just always hoped to keep it a secret from them that they're perfectly capable of surviving without me.

#6: Actually, capable is an understatement. My husband is busy being super dad. The two-year-old has now gone five days of going potty on the toilet. Yes, my dreams are coming true...he's being potty trained while I'm away!

#7: I may have mentioned that we bought the two-year-old a big boy bed. We haven't put it up yet but will soon. This week, his daddy used it as motivation for going potty. After all, big boys go potty on the toilet and get to sleep in big boy beds. :) (Guess it's time for me to start calling him the's a mouthful, but it better represents him!)

Have a great weekend! Visit here for more Quick Takes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Would You Do Me a Favor? It Won't Take Long

I have a favor to ask of you.

It won't take much time.

It's really just a little game of word association...actually two games of word association (or one game with two words).

So, please tell me what comes to your mind when you hear...


Okay, now please tell me what comes to your mind when you hear...


Thank you for playing, but in order for me to know you played along, please post your responses in my comments section. I really, really appreciate it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quick Takes, #15

#1: Anyone else out there tired? (Is this a recurring theme for me? Hmmm...maybe I should learn something) This week has been exhausting - tonight will be the fifth, out of six so far, night with something we need to attend at church. Thankfully this is unusually busy. And thankfully my boys seem to manage this craziness...perhaps better than me.

#2: I'm getting ready to head for San Diego...three days and counting. I will see good friends who I am rarely with, sleep a little later than usual in the mornings, enjoy the ocean breeze...oh, yes, and go to the conference I'm attending (better not forget that!).

#3: Although the four-year-old cried (big, sobbing tears) again yesterday when I reminded him that I'll be leaving on Monday, today when we talked about the fact that my plane gets in during a NASCAR race the following Saturday, he quickly told me that Daddy and his brother could come to the airport to get me without him. He'll just see me when I get home.

#4: In the midst of this busy week yesterday had a little respite. I stayed home in the morning and got the house cleaned and even made a meatloaf (the only non-fast food dinner my kids have had this week!). Anyone else feel totally satisfied by the scent of bathroom cleaners and the sight of a freshly vacuumed floor?

#5: I've mentioned that my husband and others have been working on remodeling our church kitchen. It looks wonderful! I'm really glad that our home is newer and has a kitchen I'm satisfied with. Otherwise, he might have had to remodel ours as soon as he's done with this one.

#6: I made meatloaf. I made soup earlier in the week. Our church ladies are getting ready to make apple pies which they do each fall as a fundraiser. All this fall food is making me long (even more) for fall. I'm ready to pull on a sweatshirt and not about you?

#7: It looks like this Couch to 5K thing might really happen! I've talked my dear friend Sarah into doing this with me. Monday, September 27 is our start date (which will be good since I may practice overindulging this next week in San Diego). We'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bigger Picture #11: Love and Grief

I am a soap opera junky when given a chance. It's probably a good thing I'm not a stay-at-home mom or my children would be being raised on confusing family trees and love lost and found and lost again.

I am also a minister. And among the many other gifts of my vocation, I am often invited in to the midst of people's grief in intimate ways that sometimes overwhelm me.

It's not unusual for me to hear people - especially people mourning the death of a long time spouse or elderly parent - say, "We had such a good life...I shouldn't be crying." My usual response is to tell them that I believe it's because they had a good life that they are crying. After all, there is something very special missing.

Today I happen to be at, cleaning, catching up...and I have - guess what!?! - a soap opera on.

(Yes, this discussion of my soap opera addiction and grief will come together momentarily)

Today on The Young and The Restless the show took place at a funeral. Several of the characters spent a few minutes eulogizing the one who had died. But I was particularly struck by one comment. The character Katherine Chancelor (if you watch Y & R, you know her) said this...

Grief is the price we pay for love - and it's worth it.

I was struck by the truth of that comment. Whether it's the smaller daily grief that we sometimes face in the midst of struggle, disappointment, exhaustion, and so forth or whether it's that final grief at the ending of life, grief is the price we pay for love...

And I'm with Katherine - it's worth it.

For more Bigger Picture Moments visit Melissa's place and Bigger Picture Blogs.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I've been reading a number of posts lately about people's struggle with their faith and with their church involvment. And I can't even express how grateful I am for their honesty...for their willingness to share.

I've been having conversations with people about the same thing. And again, I am so moved by their honest struggles and the fact that they choose to share them with me.

I am grateful. And, in the midst of gratitude, I'm really struggling with all this. After all, I am a a church. And it's not only about the reality that the church is where my paycheck comes from, but I feel really committed to the church. And my heart breaks each time that I hear someone say that they need to leave the church. My heart breaks largely because I know that churches and church people have done so much damage to people that many can live more freely and more faithfully outside of the church than inside the church.

And these things I believe...churches are not perfect,

going to church is not the same thing as having a relationship with God,

going to church is not a necessity.

I struggle with the failure of the church to be the body of Christ.

I struggle with the busy-ness and business of the church that is necessary but that sometimes gets in the way of people's relationship with God.

I struggle with all of a a mom. I struggle with wanting my children to be part of a faith community and fearing the hurt they will receive at the hand of the church.

I find myself believing in the importance of congregational life and sometimes I find myself wanting to run away, to escape the very thing I love.

I have to admit I have always been a person who believes that I can best work change from the inside rather than from leaving. But sometimes working change is exhausting. And sometimes I'm aware that I don't even know what change I should be working on.

I struggle because I catch glimpses of the wonderful gifts that are shared when the church lives out its calling to be the body of Christ. I struggle because the very people who are leaving the church are the very people who the church needs in order to become more of who God designed us to be.

I know the church is not perfect - not even close, but I believe the church can offer something. And I am seeking to discover what that is.

The Next Step on the Journey

Our two-year-old is growing up.

Yes, just like he's supposed to!

I've been noticing lately how big he seems in his crib. I was especially aware of that last week when I watched our 6-week-old grandbaby and saw how little he looked (and he was nearly 9 pounds at birth, so this isn't a tee-tiny baby) napping in the crib.

Well, apparently the two-year-old has noticed how big he seems in his crib, too. Because the last several mornings he has gotten himself out of bed when he woke up. Not only in the morning, but also over the weekend at the end of naptime.

This baby who used to lay in his crib for a while and play as he woke up...who would then call out, "Mommy!"...he now just quietly hauls himself over the side of the crib and toddles in to our room or wherever we happen to be.

I had dreams of keeping him in the crib until he was three. It's not that I want to keep him little. As I've talked about before here, although I love babies, I don't experience a big desire to keep my boys little - they are so much fun at each new stage. It's really just that I think he's going to be a challenge when it comes to keeping him in bed.

Our four-year-old moved to his big boy bed at 25 months...after all, a new baby was on the way and so we had to get him out of the crib. But he's the kind of kid who's always been fine by himself. And he is pretty good at knowing the expectations and living in to them. So much so that not only did he not climb out of his crib but it was after he turned four before he even got out of his twin bed without permission.

Our two-year-old is a different kind of boy. He has a little more fun challenging the rules. And he has always preferred to be around people. That's really what I think will be tough for him. I'm anticipating that when he is put to bed in his big boy bed he might just get up and wander in to his brother's room for some company. I'm anticipating that if he gets up in the middle of the night, he might just come into our room and climb in bed. These are things we haven't experienced with the four-year-old.

But, the two-year-old is his own person. And this is just the next step on the journey.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick Takes, #14

#1: I've been watching our grandbaby this week. He will start daycare in a couple weeks, but right now several of us are taking turns keeping him while his mommy goes to school and his daddy to work. I have to say, he's a really good baby! I was a Babywise parent and this little man keeps a perfect Babywise schedule. Eats like a trooper...enjoys some awake time (today he really liked "The Itsy Bitsy Spider")...sleeps for 1 1/2 - 2 hours and then wakes ready to start the cycle all over. I don't know if he's that good for his parents, but he's been amazing for me.

#2: My husband has been helping with remodeling our church kitchen. Helping may be an understatement. Not that others aren't also helping, but when my hubby commits to a project, he really commits. What this has meant is that he leaves for work bright and early in the morning then goes straight from work to church in the evenings and gets home after we've all gone to bed. With a few exceptions, the boys and I have mostly seen him when we've been at church for meetings or when we've taken dinner over to get to spend time with him. The end is in sight. We are ready to have him back home...until the next project.

#3: Actually the timing of the kitchen getting done is going to be should finish up in about a week and a half...just in time for me to be gone for a week. I'm off to a pastor's conference in San Diego. I'm excited to be going and to spend some time with some good friends who I rarely see. And the boys and their daddy will definitely get to spend quality (and quantity) time together!

#4: Speaking of the upcoming trip...I broke the news to the four-year-old the other day that I will be going. I've been putting it off, but also knew that he would need advanced notice. He loves his momma and sometimes has a little trouble when I leave him. This isn't part of our daily routine - he's fine at daycare, church nursery, Sunday school, etc. It is when I leave him in out of the ordinary ways that he struggles. When I told him he started to cry and told me that I should just stay in Missouri...I didn't need to go to California. We'll revisit this conversation again in the next week and half. It's good to be missed, but his sadness makes me sad.

#5: After posting yesterday about my disappointment in our either/or sort of thinking and using the planned holy book burning as an example, I was happy to get on the internet and see a news story that said book burning was called off. I didn't read up on it. I don't pretend to think that just because a particular church in Florida won't be burning Muslim holy books, all is well. But, this does give me hope.

#6: I've heard people talk about the "Couch to 5K" plan that's out there. I looked at it tonight. I'm not really sure running (even jogging) is something I really desire to do. Even as a child I didn't like to run. Gym was my least favorite subject. But, something in me is tempted to try. I really wish I had a partner for this...I'm so much better with accountability. Anybody out there tried this particular approach?

#7: The four-year-old and I will be participating in our local CROP Walk a week from Sunday. We did this last year and he's looking forward to doing it again this year. I'm really enjoying this year because I feel like he gets it in way he couldn't last year. I love hearing his voice when he asks friends and family for donations to help hungry people. It warms my heart.

Hope you've had a great week. Enjoy your weekend! And for more Quick Takes, run (or walk) on over to Conversion Diary.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bigger Picture #10: I Want a Both/And World

My four-year-old hears a compliment given to someone else and immediately assumes that means the opposite is being said of him.

"Doesn't she like me, Mommy?"

"You only think she is sweet, not me, Mommy?"

I turn on the news (which I try to do as seldom as possible) and hear that a church has set a date for burning another religion's holy book and is hoping others will join them in this effort.

"Read our book...not theirs."

"Only call ours holy...not theirs."

Everywhere I turn it seems that the message that is being sent is one that says:

"My way is right...your way is wrong."

"If I affirm your way, I must reject my way."

And I just don't get this.

Because when I look around I see both/and.

She can like both of you.

I can think you're both sweet.

Both holy books hold value.

Truth is found in both books...both ways...both journeys.

The bigger picture?

Maybe it's that we have a lot to learn about compassion, about tolerance, about love.

Maybe it's that I'm crazy to even think both/and is a possibility...but I don't want to accept an either/or world.

Maybe it's that what we teach our kids matters so much because this next generation will choose whether to increase the divide or to build a bridge over it. I hope to raise a couple of bridge builders.

For more Bigger Picture moments visit Sarah at This Heavenly Life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Circle of Life

A quiet holiday morning begins...then the children wake up. And once that happens nothing is quiet again.

One bounces down the hall on the bouncy ball. The other makes a bridge with his body from couch to loveseat.

One begins playing cars and soon racing turns to crashing. The other invites his brother to wrestle.

The wrestling begins and soon a thud is heard as the four-year-old's head hits the wall. A tear is shed...for just a moment. Mommy offers a hug. The four-year-old welcomes the embrace, then playfully pushes Mommy on to the ground. The two-year-old jumps on top and the wrestling begins again.

This is the circle of life in our household

Wrestling leads to a head injury and with a quick hug thrown in that head injury leads right back to wrestling again.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Being a Parent Takes Energy

It's been over a week since I've posted anything here. In fact, in this last week I've hardly even read what you are posting (and I've missed it). For whatever reason(s), I'm tired. And when I'm tired, I'm reminded that being a parent...especially working on being the kind of parent I hope to be...takes energy.

I was just reminded of that again. Sitting here at the computer...finally catching up on reading this last week's posts that I had missed...wondering what I would have written had I done my usual weekly Bigger Picture Blog or Friday Quick Takes...sitting here was so peaceful


The two-year-old walked over and said, "Here's my poopy diaper," as he placed said diaper in my hand. :)

As I was cleaning him up (thankfully he simply removed the diaper but did not take time to make a bigger mess) and getting his new diaper on I thought, "This child needs to be potty trained."

Then I was reminded...being a parent take energy.

And today (and likely tomorrow), I don't have energy to potty train, so...

I think I'll just get duct tape