Tuesday, January 28, 2014

100 Days: How Kindergarten Inspires Adults to be Brave

“Can we start, mom? Can we? Can we?”
Her love for homework is somewhat of an anomaly and I haven’t figured out if it is more about keeping up with her older sister or the smile behind the one she turns it in to. 

I brush away the crayons, stickers, and glitter that cover my counter like a blanket in a house of craft loving girls and pull out a pan to get supper started before my man gets home. 

Probably the latter, I tell myself.  I’ve seen the way she looks through those kids’ eyes right into their soul.  I’ve felt it myself.  An angel in human skin quietly breathing confidence into every life she touches.
“Let me just clear this table off and we will be good to go.”

I try to look like I have it all together while Ava has a meltdown because I’m not playing house with her.  She’s not on board with real life getting in the way of her fantasy play. 
“Grace, can you please entertain your sister?” 

I’m an awesome mom like that. :)

This is Hannah’s time.  One hundred days of kindergarten nears and her toothless grin reveals the excitement she’s trying to contain in her tiny little body.
“Just think.  A few months ago I didn’t even know Mrs. H existed and now I know she is the best teacher ever.”

To fully live we must be willing to take a step towards the unknown.
In front of her are boxes of mini candy canes clearanced out post the Christmas holiday.  She loves them, but even more than that, she loves having discovered that she can make hearts with them.  “I’m gonna write ‘I love K01’ because I love being in Mrs H’s class.”

My hands need work because she’s speaking right into a weakness of my own. 
Safe people.  Safe situations guaranteeing my success.  This is where the perfectionist in me likes to dwell. 

I begin cutting wrappers while she places the hearts.  She wants them to be perfect because they symbolize joy born into her life thanks to newly discovered territory. 
I tell my girls to open these doors of possibility with trust in a God who thinks differently than we to construct a life surpassing the best we can humanly imagine. 

I mean it.  I just don’t always do it well. 

And, why?  Because I might feel in over my head?  I will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6).  Because I might fail?  For I have plans for you (Jer 29:11).  Because opening new doors could take me to places I never planned to go? The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Prov 16:9).

“I’m just so lucky God gave her to me like a second mom.”
She’s right, time wise and emotionally speaking.  And, the mama in me could not be more grateful for the influence and values both my girls’ teachers gift them.

She is where she is supposed to be.

Sometimes it is in new territory that our heart claims a home.  Where we are challenged to be our very best yet live comfortably in our skin. 
Dream catching.  It comes into existence behind doors that can feel uncertain and down-right daunting if we can just be brave enough to step through them. 
“Great things can happen when we try something new.”

And I wonder how often I’ve told myself you can’t do that or given the Lord my life with lip service but lived with restraint because of my human uncertainty without realizing that having a home in Him means falling into knowledge I don’t have full access to when making my decisions.  
Hannah took a leap into the unknown without weighing it against the comforts she knows.

And she’s living a richer life.

I’m certain the Lord beckons me towards the same, and I’m thankful for small earthly reminders of His constant provision in what feels like scary steps of faith.     
Today is the 100th day.  Hannah is looking forward to a party complete with activities and games. 

And, I’m looking forward to the same.

Because I’m pretty sure that life lived with open arms is a party that only continues to get better, filled with many grand milestones to be celebrated along the way.
Thank you, sweet child.  You teach me well.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday: Football Fan Style

Life has come full circle, friends!

Football is like a love language in our house and it's super convenient that most NFL games fall on the "day of rest."  We get done with worship, fill our bellies, and make ourselves useless in front of the TV.  It's perfection, really.

Because we are Vikings fans we are at the height of our season, also known as the off season.  Our depressing weekly pummeling has come to an end and "maybe next year" hope has settled in.  It's our time of annual optimism. Maybe some year it will carry into the actual season :)  A girl can dream, right?

In the meantime, well put together teams are vying for the gold dude-worthy Super Bowl ring.  And, oh how this year has brought me smiles.

While my dad instilled a love for this game, we were Sunday team rivals.  He was a very fun guy who liked to rub in my misery with spazzy victory dances and terrible singing.  Only I couldn't focus on either well because he was always in his ridiculous, loud, ugly Niners zubaz that were a real source of trauma in my teenage world where "cool" was paramount. {Insert my countless eye rolls here}

But, as of late, his team is on a roll.  So when the mysterious box arrived from my brother before the Super Bowl last year with a text saying, "Open it," you better believe the silly became sacred when I pulled out a pair of my own hideous 49ers zubaz.  I watched the game "Bob style" and retired them...until now.  They're contenders again, and the San Fran zubaz were crying to come out.

Only this time when I emerged from my room my eight year old, with a new fashion sense of her own, gave me the look of sheer horror.  "WHAT are you wearing?," she gasped.  I doubled over in laughter.  It was the same picture of mortification that was once mine.

I tried.  I really did.  I paired them with a lightly beaded black Ann Taylor Loft shirt and handmade trendy red cowl, but really these things are beyond fashion redemption.  Ob.Nox.Ious.

Apparently I've hit the age where the "Not cool? Don't care" club becomes real.  And I think I can hear my dad laughing about it heavenside.

Sorry, Grace, these bad boys are coming out again next Sunday.  GO NINERS!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Promoting Abstinence With Humor: Get Special Pam Stenzel Prices this New Year

2014 is here and most people are actively striving to meet their own resolutions, but my dear friend and co-author, Pam Stenzel, is asking what she can give.  Because, while we adults want to make our lives better, she wants to promote the betterment of our children and help them resolve to live a healthier, happier life.  You're class act, Pam!

To do that she is offering great deals for dates yet available in February and March.

Did you know:

1 in 3 teen girls in the United States is estimated to get pregnant at least once before age 20. 

STDs are the most common diseases in American next to the common cold and flu, with 65 million Americans already infected with an incurable one.

source credit: Peer Challenge 

1 in 2 sexually active youth will contact a disease by age 25.

1 in 5 teens have sent or posted a nude video of themselves.

2 out of 3 sexually experienced teens wish they would have waited longer to have sex.

Individuals who engage in premarital sexual activity are 50% more likely to divorce later in life than those who do not.

Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to protect the heart and prevent risk for pregnancy and disease.  Thankfully, the most recent statistics show that more teens are waiting to have sex than in years past.  This pendulum is swinging back in a healthy direction.  But, for that to continue, we as parents, youth leaders, and school workers need to do our part in sharing the truth so that students are educated and empowered to choose the best for their future.

Find video clips of Pam on GodTube and book her today.  She's the best speaker you will ever gift the teens you love with on the topic AND she's hilarious so your students will actually want to listen. :)  This is a New Year's resolve worth buying in to! 

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