I Brave

I Brave

The grocery store could have given me a little warning. Maybe I should have paid attention to the pumpkins and mums outside. Or used common sense to know that it is Fall, even if it’s still one thousand degrees and humid outside. It didn’t occur to me that our normal trip to Kroger turn into a trip of terror for my toddler. We made it as far as the grocery carts, when he began to shriek, cry, and rapidly crawl UP MY FACE. Terror. What in the world was wrong? The Halloween display. A gigantic display of ghoulish masks and ghosts. Real cute, Kroger. There we stood, in the entrance to the grocery store. Me, thinking through the few things we did in fact HAVE to buy. Him, shaking with fear and crying on my shoulder, refusing to sit in the cart. For a million minutes we stood in the entrance, while I glared at anyone who seemed annoyed at the little parenting moment I was having right there. I thought about hopping back in the car and trying this again another time. I thought about begging the check-out girl to run and get me some milk and dog food. Then, I had a moment of Mom clarity and realized this is one of those moments where I had to change the story and let my child know that fear was not bigger than him. He finally made it back into the shopping cart. (There may have been fruit snacks involved.) We used a little self-talk and dramatic play throughout the entire produce section. (The smiles from the grandmas made me...
Rambling Imagination

Rambling Imagination

Know what this is? It is, according to my two year old, a tunnel. For his beloved choo-choo trains. Know what this is? A choo-choo train, of course. And what might this be? Not, as you might imagine, a mess for mommy to clean up. I was informed, with much excitement, “Yook, Mama – a twack!” (Look, mama, a track). For the car. The car that was his cracker. He had taken his straw full of milk and used it to “draw” a track for his cracker-car to go round and round in. Messy as it may be, my little one is reminding me of the power of imagination. I would say I am surprised by these little sparks of imagination, but my boy comes from a long line of wonderers. I’m a constant daydreamer. Hubby has a tell-tale face that means he is waist-deep in an ocean of thought. Brilliant things often come out of this thought ocean: sometimes sermons, sometimes ways to fix the broken things in the garage, sometimes a random argument in favor of him buying and restoring an old muscle car (Um, no). The Queen of Imagination was my Grandma Gladys. She used to make Brother, Sister and I go “rambling.” Rambling meant that we’d walk with her, along any little sidewalk, in a garden, beside the lake, or in the woods. I make it sound like we had these long hikes through nature. Nope. We were suburb kids and she lived in the city of Lakeland, FL. So most of our rambling happened on well-paved paths that looked a lot like culdesacs and mowed lawns. A few times, she dragged us on nature trails...
A Prayer for Teachers

A Prayer for Teachers

Teachers, I’ve had you on my mind this week. Walking through the school supply aisle gets me all googly-eyed for pretty folders and pens, and crayons. Oh, the smell of crayons. Which gets me thinking of all the heroes I know. The teachers who work and give and love and fight for our kids. My thinking turns to praying and my praying leads to remembering. This time last year, Sister was beginning a new gig as a longterm sub in an Atlanta school. She’s a sharp one, and a quick learner, which made her perfect for jumping head first into an elementary school culture.  But I still got a few daily calls from her with stories that ended with, “Is this FOR REAL?” From the wisdom of my ten years teaching school, I would answer her . . . Yes. This is for real. Teachers know, more than anyone else knows, that some of the things you do and see will make you ask, a few times a day, Is this junk for real? My first year of teaching was in a North Carolina middle school. I loved those 8th graders. Two things one must posses to survive in middle school: laughter and appreciation for a good eye roll. Never underestimate how often these two can happen with 8th graders. I learned to rate the rolling of the eyes like an olympic judge, never really giving a 10.0 until the day LaTravia and I had a “come to Jesus” moment. Looking back, I might have done things differently now. But in the moment, I was pretty proud of my first...
Stranded: A Litany For the Side of the Road

Stranded: A Litany For the Side of the Road

The side of the road is one of my least favorite places in the world. Roads, I love. Lately I have traveled many of them visiting people I love, moving to a new house, running errands. Rarely do I bother to glance at the people with me on the road, unless they’re going too slow. Tonight, though, I spent several hours with a few hundred new friends on the side of the road. I was supposed to be meeting my sister for a long awaited night out in Atlanta seeing Glennon Melton from Momastery. I was supposed to be enjoying dinner, relaxing, catching up on all of Sister’s gossip. I had put on make-up, rocked a new outfit, and my hair was NOT in a ponytail. When the cars began to slow down, I got nervous. After sitting in traffic for 10 minutes, I called Sister and said I might be late to dinner. After 30 minutes of having my car parked on I75, I knew my plans were not going to turn out like I thought. Bummed. Seriously bummed. I began to notice the cars around me. People were starting to get out of their cars, probably to avoid overheating. I glanced at the car’s thermometer: 95 degrees. Sweet Lord of all air conditioning, hear our prayers. I noticed a conspicuous bus two cars back from me: State Prisoners. In my mind, I wondered if this whole traffic jam was an elaborate escape attempt. I began creating stories about how every other car on the road was related to the prisoners and their role in the escape that...
I Won’t Let Go – A Mother’s Day Story

I Won’t Let Go – A Mother’s Day Story

My sister blogs at Clothesline Confessional, and she wrote about her struggle with infertility on Mother’s Day. She asked for others to share their story on The Laundry, and this is what I shared: I quietly avoided Mother’s day for a few years. Quietly, in the sense that our journey through infertility was deeply private and personal and I just couldn’t bear silly platitudes or awful questions people think they can throw out when they are faced with something as baffling as infertility. Inside, however, I was not quiet.  Storms of emotion raged. My answer was to just avoid church on Mother’s Day, with whatever excuse I could think up. So much so that one year I actually chose to go sweat and work outside rather than be at church.  In April 2011, tornadoes devastated many parts of AL and GA.  One of those parts is near and dear to my sister: Tuscaloosa.  As we heard about the loss of homes, water, power and lives there, we wanted badly to help. Several organizations were right there on the ground, immediately, helping. Sister wept for the damage to this community she loved and when she heard that her best partner in crime was heading to Tuscaloosa to do disaster relief, she called me: “Sister, we’re going to Tuscaloosa. Storm relief. Want to come?” I informed her that most organizations were saying donate money to the red cross (which we did) and pray (which we did) and wait to see what needs emerged. She said, “That’s nice. We’re going anyway. Have no idea what we’ll do there, but we’re going.” I...
Just What I Need

Just What I Need

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. —Matthew 6:5-8 We have been seen by others, and they think they know exactly who we are. The Netflix account in our house keeps our favorite movies just a click away, which is perfect for my husband Jake, the movie buff. With data about the movies you watch, the types of stories you like, and the lead actors you favor, Netflix sets up a genre for you. Jake became rather proud of the category he had curated: “visually striking cerebral dramas.” Smarty pants. He was less than pleased when he turned on Netflix after a few visits from my mother. Her night owl movie choices had created a whole new image for us. Apparently, Jake was likely to enjoy “British comedies with strong female leads.” We laughed, but he claimed Mom was messing with his image. Amazon thinks they have us down to a science too. They can now use “anticipatory package shipping,”...