#WhyIMarch

I told my sister I was proud that she was marching, but I could not do it. I was very anxious about being in crowds upon crowds of people. Then, she decided to march close to home, in Atlanta. I decided if I could name the reasons I should march, then I would do it. Here is what I came up with. This is why I plan to march on January 21, 2017. Because marching is a visual signal of the multitude of people who have something to say. It’s one thing to claim “alot of people.” It is quite another thing to see the impact on cities around the globe when people show up by the thousands, stand in city streets, and speak. This visual reminder becomes part of our imagination when we talk about “We, the People.” Because I am choosing to have trust in those who love me. I am trusting that they will love me more than they dislike my views. There is some risk for me in marching, in that my presence there will offend some family and friends. My husband and my Dad wholeheartedly support me marching, even thought they will not be there. I know that others may be surprised, offended or confused that I would participate. I am trusting that they will continue to love me in spite of how we see things differently. I have listened when they share. I have respectfully watched Fox News when it is on in their homes. Mostly, I don’t bring up political thoughts, because I am usually not interested in that being the focus....

Hairnets and Hope: #stophungernow

My friends and I made over 12,000 meals last Sunday afternoon. If that number sounds staggering, it did to me, too. We hosted a meal-packing event with an organization called Stop Hunger Now. In less than two hours, we worked together to pour, package, seal and box thousands of meals. The meals will go to areas of the world where hunger and starvation are a crisis. We know that the number of people in this world who are hungry is staggering. When I first heard about this organization, I knew we had to host a meal-packing day. Our congregation needed this event. I needed this event. We needed this moment of joining together in work that reaches people in need. To be sure, my congregation does a lot of faithful work to help people in need. But something about the simplicity of the work – scooping, bagging, boxing – set next to the complexity of world hunger seemed like just the sort of challenge that would impact us. We got busy planning. We set the date and invited people to come. The one question I heard about 12,000 times regarding these 12,000 meals was: So, how does this work exactly? What will we do? It was difficult to imagine how the whole project would come together, especially since a major selling point of our invitation to people was: This is an event for the whole family. All generations from preschoolers to senior adults. We had never done an event exactly like this before, and some folks had a hard time understanding how we would get it done. My friend Jeff leaned...

Just Like the Story

I’ve learned a little something about parenting a preschooler: there is always some kind of liquid on the floor. Maybe water because you splashed the sink full of legos when you were supposed to be washing your hands. Maybe juice, because who doesn’t carry juice to go potty? You can’t set that stuff down, it must be carried throughout the house and the cup must be lid-free. Maybe (usually) the liquid on the floor is pee. Because, boys. I’ve come to terms with the wet floors in my house. So, I was surprised by my almost four-year old in the bathroom screaming at the top of his lungs, “MOM!! Come quick, it’s a ‘mergency!” The ‘mergency was that he became distracted while standing at the potty. What was supposed to go in, went everywhere but in. ALL over the floor, his clothes and his feet. We are a tad bit high drama around here, so with fair warning that this was an emergency, he began to weep. My job was clear: calm, wipe, flush, wipe, then scoop him up. “My feet, mama! What will we do?!?” (I have no idea where he gets his flair for the dramatic) “Freeze!” I said. He froze in place. I scooped him up, ran some warm water in the sink and plopped his pee-covered feet into the sink. His tears became laughter as I tickled his dirty, little toes with soap. “Mama, we are just like the story!” I wasn’t following. “You are like Jesus, and you’re washing my feet ‘cause I’m the disciple.” Lord, in your mercy. Hear my prayers. He remembered...

7 Ways to Survive Temporary Solo Parenting

This is a picture is from Day 5. The fifth day of the hubs being out of town for work recently. My dear neighbor had asked me that afternoon, “What are you cooking for dinner?” “Um, cereal? Cereal is about all I’ve got in me.” We were fine, really. This is not a complaint about the trip, which was great for Jake. I have no room to complain, because trips away are infrequent in our house. Often when they happen, I am blessed to have my mom or sister visit. Even as I share this, I completely get the fact that my set up is pretty fantastic. But I realized, on about Day 4, that I was making a mental list of little nuggets of wisdom I had collected to share with anyone else who was facing a couple of days of parenting solo until their spouse got back. Just as quickly, I realized there are a few friends who could write an entire book about temporary solo parenting (TSP). I called my friend Angela who parents like a champ while her Air Force husband is frequently sent out on short term assignments called TDY. Her words of wisdom made me spit out my cereal laughing. My friend LeAnn survives the occasional business trip away with hilarious texts and the genius to have a babysitter at the ready. My friend Alyson is superhero mom who parents her three young kiddos while her husband is deployed out of the country for months at a time. Over holidays. Holy. Cow. I collected some of our best practices (read:survival tactics) here. An...
God Colors

God Colors

This one has been sitting in the quiet with me for a while. I’m not a fan of the quiet. Stillness is beautiful. Quiet gets on my very last nerve. Like the clean, white canvas that stared back at me a couple of weeks ago, I have no idea what to do with quiet. I’ve recently gotten into coloring. Like many of my friends, I bought the coloring books with intricate designs and the fine tip markers. As it turns out, coloring is calming. Mindlessly tracing and filling in the patterns on the page is fantastic to empty your mind or at least sort through it. I enjoy it, and when I find a stopping point on the page, I notice my breathing is more calm, and I am generally more relaxed. Take that feeling and then think of the opposite of it. That’s the extreme sense of frustration, inadequacy and fear I felt at a “Paint Night” event two weeks ago. About 20 of us gathered at my friend Wimberley’s studio, and the event itself was just lovely. Painting, drinks, and friends from church in her absolutlely beautiful studio. Wimberley gave us the idea and some instructions: Paint a fall branch set against a colorful stained glass backdrop. Such a beautiful idea, and her example was just gorgeous. Most of us there are not what you might call artsy. Folks laughed, grabbed a paintbrush and began dabbing colors on the canvas like preschoolers with fingerpaints. Except me. I just swirled my paintbrush in the clear water and stared. I may have laughed with friends and joked about the...

Easy like Sunday Morning?

Sometimes getting inside the church building is hard. I’ve talked to a few friends recently about what it takes to collect all they’ve got and bring it into Sunday’s gathering. Some people get to roll in on Sunday, hands free. They’re ready to smile and mean it. Some folks face obstacles just getting to the door. Like last Sunday. My friend and I compared notes and laughed about how ridiculous it is getting preschoolers fed, dressed, pottied, and ready to walk into church on a sunny day, much less a tornado-like rainy day like we were having. She was by herself, bringing three littles to church. This superhero mom told me it took three trips in and out of the building with the umbrella, supplies and kids ages 6, 2 1/2 and 8 months. We’re talking American Ninja Warrior skills, friends. I had just the one little guy by myself to wrangle into the building during the stormy mess it was a disaster. For me, balancing the umbrella and getting the threenager to steer away from the fun puddles and run with me to the door still meant we were both ridiculously soaked when we reached the door. Another friend told me how she has to take deep, calming breaths to walk towards the sanctuary. Just walking in that door takes her back to her husband’s funeral. She makes it, almost every Sunday. When I think about the way she has to set her face and open her heart I have a new picture of what strength looks like. For her, being in that space means being present with...