Monday, June 28, 2010

The day that Hip Hop died

A few months ago, Brian ordered a butterfly larvae kit for the girls. It finally arrived last week and they have spent every day watching the caterpillars morph into butterflies.

Today, all but one had come out of his cocoon, but it was shaking, so Brian had to help break the cocoon open. Since most of the others had been out for a day or two, they released them--all except for the one. It was unable to fly, so the girls spent the day "training" it. They named him Hip Hop and carried him from room to butterfly habitat. They talked to him and told me in pained voices, that he was probably going to die.

After the girls went to bed, I checked on Hip Hop and he is not moving--even though he is sitting on an orange slice the girls put in the habitat to help him gain his strength. When they wake in the morning, they will be heartbroken.

I know these moments are supposed to be the teachable ones, but they totally suck! I thought about writing a post tonight about saying goodbye to the old life and hello to the new--I even had a great analogy about our soccer experience to embellish it. But when I sat down to write, I just couldn't. I keep hearing my girl's voices as they were coaxing Hip Hop to fly and I don't care about any lessons--I just want them to wake up excited to see the stinkin butterfly alive so they can release him, too.

While I know it's just a butterfly, not a person or a pet, it is still a big part of their world for today. I guess that is part of parenting--acknowledging the things that they grieve over them and not making light of them. (But, I'd still rather the stinkin butterfly would come back to life).

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I read a quote by John Ortberg today that I just loved: "God never grows 2 people the same way, God is a hand-crafter, not a mass-producer. God does not do 'One size fits all.'"

Oh, how that makes me so happy! It sounds simple, but so often I find myself in the trap of trying to do things that work for other people, but are so against who I am at my core.

My girls are such a perfect example of this. Hope hates new environments; Caroline sees them as new opportunities to make more friends. Hope would rather be outside playing hard; Caroline is quite content to stay inside and snuggle in front of the tv. Hope is a thinker; Caroline is a feeler. I don't parent them the same way. If I did that, neither one would ever excel at being themselves. So why do I think that God wants me to grow the same way as He is growing someone else?

Just as my job is to parent my kids based on who they are in their core, my job is to worship God in the way that He made me to worship Him--not the way He made Brian to worship Him (which I'm really glad, because Brian's idea of great worship is sitting in a tree-stand for hours watching the nature God has created--that is soooo not my idea of worship).

I wish I could say I knew exactly how He wired me. I've spent so many years trying to live up to certain expectations--some set by me, some by others--that it may take me a while to figure out what really makes me come alive. In the past, this might have overwhelmed me (Hope is, after all, my daughter), but right now, in the place I am, it is very freeing. It makes me feel that anticipation like I felt when I was a kid and could hear the ice cream man on the next block--I just knew he was coming down my street next and I was out front, on my sidewalk, money in hand, waiting to see what kind of goodies I was about to get.

So for today, I'm being a bit sacrilegious and choosing to view God as the driver of an ice cream truck (if I'd ever been to the famous Frisco Snow Cone Lady, I'd probably think of Him in that way, but just haven't had the patience to stand in a line yet that wraps around the block). Once again, I've gone off my mark here--back to why I'm being sacrilegious.

Just like the ice cream man, I believe God knows I would love to have those goodies, but if I'm not outside when the ice cream man passes by, then I miss out. I don't believe I will ever miss-out on God's goodies, He'll continue to circle around the block for me, but I do have a responsiblity to listen for Him and go where I know He is. Although, He won't charge me an arm and a leg for my goodie that I could have bought a whole box of at the store for the same cost... And I don't believe He's a creepy-looking guy like a lot of the ice cream truck drivers I've seen... And He never runs out of the goodie I want...

So, maybe the ice cream man wasn't such a good example. You get my point anyway...I hope.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Family fun at the DMA

Today was one of those days I hope my girls remember when they are grown. It was a fun day that we spent together as a family, doing stuff that each of us enjoyed. That doesn't happen often--that we ALL have fun doing the same thing.

We went to the Dallas Museum of Art. The girls were given paper and pencils to draw in the African gallery. As a family, we all did self-portraits. Actually, Brian and I drew each other instead of ourselves. It was fun to just sit and create--knowing that our sketches looked very little like each other. Caroline was entirely free with hers--no cares on what anyone thought. Hope was a bit more concerned about being perfect, but after she saw me and Brian's, she loosened up a bit. I still think my drawing of Brian looks like it should be on a Wanted poster (he just thinks I gave him too much hair).

After looking at some of the paintings, we went back to pick up our sketches and sat down at the "materials bar" where we grabbed random materials and created stuff. I loved that there were no scissors--we had to tear our paper and cardboard. There was also a place for them to do rubbings. There's something very freeing about rubbing crayons over different surfaces

All in all, it was a peaceful day. Don't get me wrong--we still had arguments over when to eat and what we were going to do next, but they didn't make up the majority of the day.

I always forget how much I enjoy creating. I don't allow myself to do much of that these days. There's already enough of a mess to clean up that I just don't want to drag out any more to do. Plus, I feel guilty when I'm doing stuff that looks silly when there are piles of dishes and laundry to be washed--not to mention sheets on the beds that have been there for almost 2 weeks.

What I was reminded of today was that art is good for the soul--whether creating it or just looking at it. It makes me reflect on the uniqueness of everything around me. The verse "Your works are wonderful. That I know full well." kept running through my head as I was sitting at the table doing a rubbing over a tile with nails on it. Pretty silly stuff, but it restored my spirit and gave me a bigger sense of who I am and how I was created.

Another thing it did for me, was to remind me of how creative my husband is. I often forget how good he is at making something out of nothing. In the busy-ness of life when we often don't look at each other but for a few seconds at a time, I miss the little things. I couldn't get Brian's eyes right when drawing them on my paper--they were so expressive--even when he was concentrating. There's nothing like staring at him for 30 minutes to remind me of how much I love those eyes and want to see them smile.

For my girls, I hope they remember the way their mom and dad laughed at each other's pictures and didn't get offended at how awful they were. I hope they remember the teamwork we had when someone needed help holding an item to be taped or tied or hole-punched. I hope they remember the joy of being together without just sitting. I hope they remember how awesome it felt to see a bunch of random materials and use their imaginations to create something from a pile of scraps. I hope they remember that they, themselves, are works of art.

We didn't have any great conversations today. We didn't have any A-ha moments. What we did have was a day of enjoying each other. But I believe that days like today will lead to the great conversations and the a-ha moments.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sounds I love to hear

I wrote this post over 7 months ago, but never finished it or published it. Thought I would go ahead and maybe I'll finish it one day.

As I sit here in anticipation of my doctor's appt today, I'm of course, worrying. What if he tells me that the hearing is going in my left ear and there is nothing they can do to fix it? Besides the fears of what would I do for a living and how would I contribute to my family, the thought of the sounds I would miss keeps running through my head:

hearing my girls giggle--even when they are doing something bad, the sound of a whole body of believers singing in unison. Hearing, "Mommy, I wuv you." Listening to Whitesnake, Steve Fee, Sara Groves, Martina McBride or the other random music artists I enjoy. My dogs paws clicking on the floor. Hope singing at the top of her lungs in the shower.

As I reflect on the sounds I would miss, I am struck by the many things we hear without words being spoken: a hug from my hubby, a smile from a shy child, a wave from a friend across the room.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Do you have a doll/toy/game that your kids love, but you just can't stand? That's Buddy in our house.

When Hope was little, I used to go to garage sales on Saturday mornings. This was back when only having one child who wasn't in sports yet allowed me the luxury of having a whole day off to do whatever I wanted.

Hope must have been 18 months or so, when she saw Buddy. Her face lit up when she hugged him, so I couldn't say No and Buddy came home with us. She named him and carried him everywhere--he was as big as her when he first came to live at our house. Buddy has the nappiest hair of any doll I have ever seen--someone once said he kinda looked like Chucky. At one point, when she wasn't as attached to Buddy, Brian hid him. A few months later, she found him and once again, started carrying him everywhere (he even took a road trip with us once to Missouri).

Hope eventually outgrew Buddy and he ended up in a bag with a bunch of her other stuffed animals that we planned to give away. Somehow, that bag didn't make it to Goodwill and Caroline discovered Buddy. I don't know if he had magic powers, but she was also immediately drawn to him and started carrying him everywhere--just as Hope used to do.

Buddy disappears for months at a time and all-of-a-sudden he reappears--usually being carried by one of the girls. I still don't know what the fascination is, but they were fighting over him tonight (until Caroline found another nappy-haired doll and they had a tea party).

There are some things you do, just because. Keeping Buddy is one of those "just because" things at our house. This is the parenting stuff the books don't tell you about. True parenting is allowing ugly dolls to sit next to you at the dinner table.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hopey Doodle Bug

There are some days when I look at pictures of my girls or think about them and feel totally overwhelmed with love for them. I wish that meant that I was a great mom and didn't yell or get frustrated with them, but there's still lots of progress I need to make there.

Yesterday, Hope brought home a book her class made for her. The title was "I'm special because..." and each page was a letter from a classmate with a picture they drew. Reading them made me smile. Some were just funny (like the girls who told her she had the best shirts) and others made me so stinkin proud of my Hope and the way she befriends others ( like the boy who thanked her for helping him adjust to a new school).

Hope is one of those kids that you know is destined for greatness. She is a leader. When she was 3 years old, we were in McDonalds and she wanted to play with a group of girls. When she asked them if she could join, they told her "No." As a mom, my heart broke and I was trying to figure out how to explain the meanness of others to her, but she came and sat down next to me and we were both quiet. After a minute, she got up and went to play. I kid you not--within 5 minutes all 4 of those girls were following her all over the play area. Not only was she playing with them, they were all doing what she wanted.

Hope is the kid I wanted to be. She is good at most things she does and she has a kind heart. She loves fiercely and is passionate about seeing justice prevail. She has the most beautiful features and her smile lights up everything around her. (I know I'm bragging, but this is my blog, so I get to say what I want.)

When I was pregnant and found out she was a girl, I began praying for a strong, passionate woman of God. There is no doubt that God has granted that prayer. As much as that strength frustrates me some days, I do know it will serve her well and am thankful for it. She will not be one to succumb to peer pressure just because everyone is doing it.

Watching her with her friends at school has been good for me. As her mom, I often focus on the negatives about her personality and forget to just delight in her. Seeing her interact with others makes me want to cry--she is so incredibly thoughtful and giving and just plain funny. She is well-liked and was voted "prettiest" in her class (although she didn't like that--she wanted most creative).

There is a verse that I have always considered Hope's:
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7

I absolutely adore my Hopey Doodle Bug and am so thankful that I get to be in her life!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Amazed or Taken For Granted?

A week ago today, I got my hearing back. My baha (a bone anchored hearing device) has been incredible. I won't bore you with the details of what all it does, but it allows me to hear on the right side of my head--which I haven't been able to do in 5 years.

Each morning, when I put it on, I am amazed at how loud everything is, but as the day wears on, I have to plug my good ear to see if it's still working. My body adjusts to it and it becomes normal to hear again.

Makes me wonder, how many other amazing gifts do we start out being grateful for, but gradually forget the wonder of them and take them for granted?