Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grace on a Thursday: The Fender-Bender

Last weekend, on the way to a birthday party, someone slammed into the back of our car on the freeway.

My husband was driving, and our car had been completely stopped in traffic when we were solidly hit by the guy behind us. Then another car hit him. The very loud double crash was quickly followed by the interrogation from the kids in the backseat, "WHAT was THAT!?"

"Well, guys, another car just crashed into us."

"What do we do now?" and "What's going to happen?" and "Can we get out and look?"

"NO you cannot get out and look!"

We crept through the rows of traffic and pulled off the freeway at the next exit, the oldish Honda following behind. I got a glimpse of the driver in the mirror. He was a young man. I wondered how my husband and he would interact.

We found a shady corner of a gas station parking lot where the business end of things would be addressed. After my husband got out, I twisted around in my seat and tried to spy the driver of the Honda. I couldn't quite make sense of what was happening though. He opened his door, but the man stayed seated in the car and I saw his hands flailing wildly near his own face. Was he upset? He didn't look angry. I squinted through the glare on the windows. In fact, his expression looked intensely grieved. And then I understood. The young man was severely handicapped with something that resembled cerebral palsy. The uncoordinated movement of his hands and arms astonished me, not because I hadn't seen someone like that before, but because he was alone in the driver's seat of a car. Not to mention the fact that he'd been driving on the freeway, in the fast lane.  

As my husband stood near the open door of the Honda, I knew his heart would go out to him, and I knew, no matter how he felt about the dents on our bumper, he would treat this man with grace. They exchanged insurance information, as the backside of my Volvo now has a perfect imprint of the man's front license plate in it. But I'm sure you can guess that I didn't care much about the dent.

I was most thankful that, firstly, everyone was unharmed. My daughter said, "We can be thankful that wasn't a lot worse." Yes indeed, my little Pollyanna. And secondly, that it was a great opportunity for a teachable moment. My husband displayed a soft heart in a potentially tense situation. He offered unmerited favor to the handicapped man who was so pleadingly apologetic. That, in fact, was why his face looked so grieved, I learned later. He just kept saying how sorry he was. He probably expected anger and condemnation. But that was not what he got, and praise God my kids had front row seats to that show.

Incidentally, the car that hit the Honda did not pull over. He dented the Honda just as badly as he dented us, but the white truck sped off without concern. That was lesson number two for my kids. Some people make bad choices and think only of themselves. Some people are too afraid to do what is right.

Maybe one day, when one of my children is wronged by someone else, they will duplicate my husband's demeanor. They will calmly asses the damage, and offer grace to the offender. Maybe they'll recall what it looks like to use self-control and treat a stranger with respect.

Maybe that "maybe" makes our little accident totally worth it.


Lately I've been running on faith

It's hard to define exactly what faith is.

I know some who use faith as a synonym for wishing. Having faith in God means wishing for a certain thing really badly.

I know some who use faith as a term for a general sort of spirituality, God-centered or not.

I know some who use the word faith interchangeably with belief. "I have faith in God" equals "I believe in God."

But I'm not sure how to tell you what it means to me. What I do know is that faith is really important, and so we have to figure it out. In the Bible, Hebrews 11:6 says, Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

I've tried to please God in a lot of ways that have nothing to do with faith. There are so many ways we try to perform for Him, get His attention, earn His love. None of that is really what He wants from me. God is interested in something deeper. The rest of Hebrews 11:6 says this: ...because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

I see three things in that statement. Coming to Him. Believing in Him. And trusting Him.

So my understanding is that faith MUST involve not only a belief that He exists, but also a hopeful expectation of what He is willing to do in and through our lives. We won't come to Him unless we have a shred of hope that He cares. And we won't trust Him with our lives unless we have an expectation that He is willing to do something good within our lives. If we do have those things, well, then that's faith.

So maybe now, I can apply that to my perspective and tell you what faith means to me today. My faith has been tested a few times in recent months. And testing does not usually come during smooth times. Rough times bubble up questions whispered in my soul: Do you have a hopeful expectation of Me? Or are you too afraid of the dark? Are you watching for Me to walk out onto the water to meet you in the midst of the storm? Or are you holding on for dear life, afraid you've been abandoned?

Fear always spits in the face of faith. But when I've pushed through fear's clouds, I've been finding hope and the peaceful anticipation of the Lord's work. He is a God of action, of this I'm certain. It's only a matter of time before my faith becomes sight and I get a glimpse of His faithful work.

But it's easy to lose my hopeful expectation in the face of looming enemies, and uncharted territory. So much of life tries to chip away at our faith, doesn't it? We slip into thinking, "I guess this is the way things will always be." Whether it's a low point in our marriage, a challenging season in parenting, or a relationship that never seems to improve, I know I'm going to a bad place when I resign myself to hopelessness and rename it "realistic." Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews starts off with this definition: Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

We can't be assured of too much in this life. No one can promise me that something bad won't ever happen in my family. So my confidence cannot be in the circumstances that I hope for. But in my heart of hearts, what I hope for is to be loved and secure, come what may. Love casts out all fear (I John 4:18), and so that's what keeps me safe. God's love for me. His awesome, never-stopping, never-giving up love is what fuels my faith, and gives me a hopeful expectation that at the end of the day - every day - I'm always in the palm of His hand.

This is the stuff I've been working out lately, living and praying through, and choosing. It feels good, in the end, to have your faith tested, because it gives God an opportunity to prove Himself. He smiles and says, "Try me. Just lean in, and see what happens." It's terrifying at first, of course. But choosing to come to Him, believe in Him, and then trust Him for what's next brings me surprising amounts of peace and even joy. I've had the lyrics on my heart, "'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word..." because it is exactly how it feels. Sweet.

Time and again, I find kindness and love and peace when I trust Him. Even when my faith is a mustard seed. He is always enough.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Star Wars rock painting

Last week, we got this funny book.

And one thing left on our summer list was "paint rocks." So when we came across the page for turning rocks into Star Wars faces, we were sold.

What a beautiful marrying of two things we love over here....Star Wars, and rock painting!

We decided to take it all down to our community pool, since it was so hot, and we had friends who wanted to try their hands at some rock lightsabers.

It went: swimming, then painting the base color of the face, then swimming, then painting the details in.

This photo features crazy swimming hair and non-descript rocks. One is some obscure Star Wars weapon known only to experts.

Check out my Jabba the Hut (or Job of the Hut, depending on who you ask in my house).

The metallic gold paint made a very nice C3PO.

This guy is a LEGO Pirate. Some detoured from the theme. And some got paint on their little noses.

Being at the pool, of course, was a little distracting, so the actual painting time was sorta sporadic. But it was still fun. My daughter said after, "Well that was a fun experience!" I agree.

Now...what to do with the special rocks....Hmm. They may just have cameos in our Easter garden next year.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Is there even a question? I'm doing this.

Friends. Oh my gosh.

I'm a teensy bit wildly excited about finding Rachael's blog Squiggly Rainbow yesterday while linking up with Kristy. (See, I'm #11 and Rachael is #12 right next to me...well, the Cake & Cotton me?)

Is this confusing?

All you need to know is this.

Rachael is doing a Bunting Swap. Because she is a genius. And she is in Australia, so I'm sure lots of her ladies participating are abroad. Which is why we need to spread her little bit of genius here (if you are here) in the U.S. of A. So I'm signing up!

Read her post to see the "rules"....basically, she has a general dimension for a piece, and how ever many you want to make, that is also how many you will receive back. I think I want to do 5. Or maybe more. But wouldn't it be so cute to hang a little shortie bunting over my sewing desk, all pieces handmade by blog friends around the world? Ok, maybe more than 5. I don't know. I'm just excited.

Mmmm, also she has lots of pretty photos on her blog of different buntings she found on Pinterest. So inspiring.

C'mon, I know you want to do it with me! Because now that your kids are back in school, what the heck else do you have to do?! That was a joke, of course. 

Have a great Saturday. 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grace on a Thursday: The wordless kind

Today I realized how much grace I can speak without words.

When my son plops down on the carpet of the store, hands on his face crying because he's lost his Lego guy, when I have no patience left to deal with irresponsibility, and we're behind schedule, and I've searched for it for fifteen minutes already....all I have left is wordless grace. A rub to his hair, and a helping hand to stand.

When my husband is angry with me...I misunderstood what he said...he felt disrespected, I felt surprised and confused...all that can be heard is wordless grace. My hands on his back, my cheek on his shoulder.

When I am in the middle of cleaning the kitchen, company on its way, dripping dishes and piled counters, my little girl needs help with her braid. She's tried and tried, and only bigger hands can separate three even strands of hair...all I should say about my agenda is nothing, and instead I offer wordless grace, stopping my words and my work and gently braiding to the ends.

I rely too much on words, really, and sometimes don't remember the power of affection. But touch is healing, and people who make mistakes, who expect rejection and a push back, need to be embraced. People who have weak spots, or feel alone, or who are weary need touch. People who need grace need affection.

When I push into the matter further, I wonder where I've missed an opportunity. What about my friend in a difficult marriage? When have I last offered her a hug? What about my neighbor who is a widow? I'm certain she is lonely. What would it mean to take her hands in mine the next time we talk on the sidewalk? I would never want to make someone uncomfortable, but I think it's important to pursue simple affection as a way to extend grace.

Try it.

Take his hand. Brush her hair. Hug your friends.

When you don't know what to say, reach out your hand instead. When you forgive, hug. When you're exasperated, open your arms to someone. Touch softens everyone. All three of those scenarios above really happened to me today, and offering wordless grace through touch helped my heart possibly most of all.

Someone needs some wordless grace from you today, because it's Thursday, and it's hot outside, and summer is almost over, and no one thought life would be this difficult.

Wish I could give you a hug today. Because if you were sitting next to me right now, I would.

You know, we both could use a little grace.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wrapping up the summer

Here are a few glimpses of things we've checked off our summer list this year...

1. Basketball - we got a basketball hoop for the first time, and have had fun learning how to dribble, do fancy tricks, and play a little "PONY."

Little guys like to play basketball in their PJ's in between laps on their bikes.

2. Learn to Surf - my big girl got a board for her 9th birthday in May. And wow! I've gotten to see her grab a hold of perseverance and bravery like never before. So awesome.

Little brother got a try too. That made me nervous. He's 6, people. Daddy stayed close.

3. Kids Cook - I thought they were old enough to try making a meal together for the family. They decided to make a baked potato bar, Ceasar salad (from a bag), and chips and guacamole. They decided all the toppings needed, and we grocery shopped together. Frozen veggies meant no chopping, and easy to thaw in the microwave. I simply baked the potatoes and smushed them open. They did all the rest. They even chose to sit at the coffee table, decorated it, and passed out stuffed animals to each person. They were so proud of themselves!


4. Chalk Paint - This was fun. Equal parts water and cornstarch, plus about 5 drops of food coloring per cup. The colors dried nice and bright on the driveway, but faded to nearly white after about 20 minutes in the sun.

I asked her what she was writing. She said, "An acrostic poem for the word 'swim'."  Mmmkay. She is a smart cookie. A good speller? Not so much. (First word is supposed to be 'super'.)

This guy kept walking through the chalk paint, trying to do his own art. Then he wouldn't hold still for a photo. Callahan, you're so uncooperative. (He was on my first vlog with me here.)

Here's my little friend who loves animals with all his little heart. Imagine my voice over this scene: "I know the sun's in your eyes. Just lay there!"

Rainbows aren't the only things that give joy.

5. VBS - Well, our church has to be different, and actually calls it SVBS - Super Vacation Bible Sensation. It was pretty super, actually.

Here's me leading the pack.

And gosh, there were so many more great moments that I DIDN'T capture, except in my own memory. One of my favorite nights was Nacho Night, Gina's genius idea, where we had a nacho bar (each person built their own nacho platter inside a disposable aluminum tray that could be easily broiled for a few minutes) and then we watched Nacho Libre. Super fun. I also loved all the painting, and the night swims, and the summertime treats....shaved ice, trix pops, trips to ice cream, and times I got to say "YES" because it's summer.

I think that's what I love most about summer. Saying "YES" to my kids. And maybe that's what they love most too.

Don't tell, but we're squeezing in one more surprise adventure this weekend to wrap up the summer - "Water park." Shhh.

So is your family wrapping up summer like we are, or are you already back to the books?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Teachers

My son was in Kindergarten this past year. I wasn't happy with the way the year went. Without getting into politics and the sad state of California public education, I'll just say that he was never challenged. He was among the more capable children, and those children were more or less left to coast, while the completely overburdened teacher had to teach the rest who were achieving below the benchmark. I helped in the class almost weekly, and so I witnessed this firsthand. I certainly don't blame his teacher. No one could effectively teach the large number of five year olds who were in her classroom daily, especially with so many who were lagging. By Christmas, I took it upon myself to challenge my son for the rest of the year at home in the afternoons while my oldest was doing her homework. I knew that was the only way he would grow and actually progress as a student. I knew that was the choice I needed to make in order to best parent my son.

Here's where this post turns a big corner. Because it really has nothing to do with Kindergarten. It has to do with me, and what God showed me last week. He reminded me that a Good Teacher challenges His students.

And boy have I been challenged. In the past month or two, I've been having some serious ups and downs. And I'm not even going to do it justice with words right now. I'll tell you how it feels. To the best of my knowledge and experience, it feels like spiritual attack. And what that feels like is periodic confused thoughts about myself, my family members, my anything really. It feels like a heaviness, from time to time, that makes me want to shut out the world or just go to sleep. Once in a while, it feels like depression, like something is pushing me down, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot shake the feeling. It feels like doubt and negativity and things I NEVER normally struggle with. But the main reason I understand it to be spiritually rooted is that this negativity tries to shake up what I know to be true.

They say in medicine that the remedy identifies the sickness. In other words, if taking an antibiotic makes you well, then it's safe to assume you had a bacterial infection. In my case, focusing on truth, spending time with God, and listening and reading His word, all keep me above the fray. Staying close to Him picks me up out of the mess, and so I feel assured that I am being subjected to spiritual assault.

Which has made me, this past week, ask, "Why?" A few days ago in my quiet time, with a degree of desperation in me, I asked God why He's seemingly removed some sort of protection from my heart and mind lately, and allowed me to be so attacked by the Enemy. He had a clear answer: "Because you need to learn to fight."

He brought to mind the exact situation with my son I described above, and I understood the parallel immediately. A good teacher challenges his students. I've known for a while that I've had some shielding from the Lord in the last few years due to rough times in our marriage, and I get the feeling that the winds are shifting. It's not that the Lord will stop protecting me. I don't believe that. But I know that He is challenging me in a new way, in order to strengthen me for the battles of this life.

As I was thinking and listening - still in my quiet time - He also brought to mind Ephesians 6, where He lays out all the parts of the armor of God. I know much of it by heart, but He said to learn it all. Go over and over it. Practice it when the attacks come. Walk through the tools He has given me to fight my battles for truth.

Because aren't all battles ultimately rooted in the war between truth and lies? What a person believes to be true determines a whole lot. And so naturally, our Enemy works to steal and corrupt whatever truth he can. If he can get me to believe that I'm not good at anything (yes, that was what I was tempted to believe last week for an entire day), then won't I become totally ineffective? If he can get me to believe that my husband doesn't really care, then won't I see all he does through that twisted lens, creating a path of destruction through my home? If the Enemy can get me to believe that God isn't listening, then won't I stop talking?

Friends. This is not just my story, here. It is yours too. We are all, more or less, under regular spiritual attack by Satan. He is the father of lies, and no truth is in him at all. I sort of wish I lived under a bubble of protection from all things dark and deceitful. But God knows best. He is a Good Teacher who challenges His loved children so that they grow.

So that they learn to wield their weapons.

So that they can experience what it feels like to be more than conquerors.

You and I both know that sitting in the corner "coasting" is not even suitable for a small child. Our brains and bodies and hearts were created to be stretched and worked and matured.

So I'm hitting the books. Well, the Book. Quiz me on Ephesians 6 next week.  

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18

He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grace on a Thursday: Marriage edition, Part 2

I feel like one post (last week's) is not enough to talk about grace in the context of marriage. Don't you agree?

Last week, I decided to focus on the things for which I needed grace, of course from God, but also from my husband. But this week, I want to talk about grace in tougher times, a longer-term kind that keeps a marriage afloat when little else is. I want to remind myself and us all that our vows did not commit us to endure "for better or for best." We said, "for better or for worse." And some days, it's very, very difficult to recognize exactly when we're in the "for worse" part.

Don't we just long for the "for better" part every single day? And when things start to go sideways, we simply wish for it even harder, never stopping to realize that we've crossed over into a worse season. I'm starting to notice that if we can't see the "worse" for what it is, we won't remember to courageously persevere. We'll simply try to survive until we get back to "better". I don't know about you, but the idea of simply surviving my life makes my skin crawl.

Yes, one version of enduring the "worse" is when sad circumstances happen to or around us. That's not what I mean. I mean the times when one of us is personally down for the count. Whether it's an emotional struggle, faith crisis, infertility, job loss, sickness, or something else pushing one of us to the ground, each of our marriages will go through hard seasons because one of the halves of the marriage is going through a hard season. These times don't last for days. They last weeks, months, or possibly years. The spouse still standing must be equipped with a special kind of grace, the kind that continues to sweep the mess aside and pass on that grace when there is no good reason to give. It is lasting, broad-brush grace....well, exactly the kind that God gave and continues to give us. Friends, there is no human way to muster that kind up. I've tried. Only God can fuel us with love and grace that powerful to cling to our spouse when they have no strength to cling back. Which means we have to cling to Him first.

You understand I'm not encouraging anyone to cling to someone who is dangerous. There are moral boundaries that, if crossed by your spouse, change the game of commitment. I get that. But in today's society, it is all too easy to let go of each other during the "for worse" seasons. We all know friends who have. So I sometimes need to remind myself: the reason to courageously cling to my spouse when it seems so unreasonable is that when we let go of God, He didn't let go of us.

I know some of you have been in those rough times. We certainly have in the past. And let me tell you this. When you embrace the fact that this is your real life, and your life is dangling in the "worse," and you choose to allow grace to flood into your find freedom.

Grace is a way of letting go. It is relinquishing control over the ugly stuff, letting God do HIS job in you and your spouse, and choosing love despite the mess. Choosing, at times, a moment-by-moment process of forgiveness. It is so freeing not having to be in charge, and not having to play judge over who should get what. Grace says that you get love whether you deserve it or not.

Part of me wonders if I'm making any sense to anyone but myself right now. I must be writing these words for a reason, and you know if you're that reason. If you are, feel comforted by the fact that I'm the reason too. At top of the page, I'm always writing to myself, because God is currently teaching me everything I share with you.

Right at this moment, I'm thankful for my marriage, and the many times God has helped us cling to each other. And I'm so very thankful that when I stop trying, when I lose my courage, it is grace that picks me up, breathes new life into me, and gives me another chance. I really don't know how a marriage can survive without grace. Who can stand before their spouse and give account for all their brokenness? Everyone is too broken, and none of us are forgiving enough. Grace is the only thing that can set us free, and truly teach us how to love.   


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Hi friends! Happy Tuesday. How'd you survive that Monday this week? We have three weeks of summer left, and I'm trying to squeeze in as much time as I can being present with my little people. I'm not even going to face the sadness I know I'll feel - like I do every year - when they have to go back.

So here's what's going on in my world right this minute. I just seam-ripped a whole sewing project that I attempted last night. I hate seam-ripping.

I'm not very good at sewing, but I try. I can manage certain things, and the things I can't...well, I blame it on the machine. Last night, I tried to sew a large blanket, not realizing that one of the fabrics was stretchy. By the time I stitched down the entire first side, I had about 6 inches extra of the stretchy one! Darn! So I turned the corner, deciding in my mind that the blanket would be fine if I just kept going. I guess I was hearing Tim Gunn in my head, and his whole "Make it work!" mantra. I could always cut off the extra later anyway, before I turned it. What a plan.

By the time I was sewing down the home stretch on the last side, I had to face the fact that it was an official disaster. I plopped the blanket on my chair, exhausted and annoyed, and put off the seam-ripping until the next night.

And who knew! Tonight, I figured it out. I fixed it, and successfully finished the blanket.

Then I sat myself down on the couch to write a little something, and thought of part of the Sunday message at church. Our pastor mentioned this verse, and I so needed the reminder:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6  

The dots connected immediately in my mind. I am so like the messed up blanket. The events, hurts, and disasters of my life stitch me up in ways that just don't follow God's pattern for me. He has to rip those messy seams open, and continue HIS good work, ever so gently stitching me back together according to His ideas for me. He undoes the bad work, and replaces it with good work.

But seam-ripping is never fun. I have been feeling and witnessing and experiencing it in and around me the last few days. And I am reminded that God is in the business of repairing and reversing damage. He is always ripping out old broken threads that tie us down in the wrong ways. And the best promise is that He will continue His good work in me until my days are done. Oh, thank you Jesus that you are never tired of this messy project! You never plop me down on your workbench, and put me off until later, exhausted and annoyed. You carefully, patiently hold me and make me more beautiful with every stitch.

Friends, I hope you feel deep down in your soul this morning that if you know Him personally, Jesus is relentlessly creating a good work in you. He never tires of it, and He does all His work full of love and compassion. And He always will. Isn't that a promise you need today? I do.

Philippians 1:6 is so encouraging to me. As rough as life can be, one day this good work will be completed. And perfect. That sounds fun.


{linking up today with my girls, Amy & Jami. i like the sound of that.}

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A wise little owl once told me...

Wiley is our barn owl. OK, he's not exactly ours. But he lives in our neighborhood, and we've seen him so many times, we decided to name him.

He has a white face and looks pretty much exactly like this one (source).

He's a little guy, probably not more than ten inches tall. And we see him at night, along the very dark road that comes up behind our community. Our community is on the outskirts of the city, so we bump up against some wild, rolling hills. And because of that, we have quite the assortment of wildlife in our midst.

Wiley sits at the lowest point of the low, sagging telephone line in the pitch dark, staring down into the brush. We can only spot him as our glowing car headlights wash over him. Often, we stop the car and watch. He is motionless, silent, and looks down into even darker, shadowed brush. I have no idea how he can see anything moving below him. All of us are silent too.

Wiley waits for his dinner. Every time we see him, he is waiting, staring down into the black. We've seen him at 9 pm and 11 pm. He is always patiently waiting. He trusts his needs will be met. 

Tonight I thought of Wiley because I am waiting too. I can think of at least three situations that need answers in my life. I need the Lord to resolve them, and I'm tempted to feel anxious about them several times a day. I am trying to wait patiently, but I am staring down into the black and seeing nothing move. It is not easy.

In my Bible, I have scrawled on a torn piece of paper - actually it's a piece of a church bulletin from some years ago - this note:

Waiting on the Lord is a spiritual attitude that says
#1  I have a great God
#2  God has everything under control
#3  God's timing is always perfect
#4  THEREFORE I am not going to panic or take matters into my own hands

Know what? This is so simple, and yet I feel like it is never easy to follow with unfaltering faith. I don't so much panic, but I DO so much begin to sneakily take matters into my own hands. Even if only in my mind, as I walk through Plans B, C, and D, because A seems to be taking too long. That is not OK, my friends! It is a major mental discipline for me to stop the train of thought and WAIT.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1

Just like Wiley. Through the night, he feels his hunger, the darkness, the silence. Yet he is wholly believing he's going to be provided for. It's just a matter of time.

Owls are actually wise, aren't they?

I'm going to try to be like Wiley this week. I'm choosing to believe that if I keep watching, it's just a matter of time before I see something move. And that thing will be exactly what I need.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby teeth: trash or treasure?

So it's past 11 pm right now, as I'm up flittering around as a good tooth fairy should. Since my son is 6 now, I'm getting a lot of tooth fairy practice in lately.

This little tooth fairy folds her one dollar bill up really, really tiny. You know, because everything in tooth fairy land is super small.

A good little tooth fairy knows when the tooth is being placed under a pillow. That is, as long as the tooth-loser tells her. (While tucking in my little guy tonight, he informed me that he put his tooth under his pillow LAST night, but without success. Thanks for letting me know that the tooth fairy is sort of a slacker, little dude. My LAME first thought was to reply, "Well maybe tooth fairies have meetings on Wednesday nights." Isn't that the dumbest, most grown-up answer??!! Nice and imaginative, Les. The problem is that he sometimes likes to hold onto his lost teeth for a couple days before trading them in for some cash. But this one just came out yesterday! I can't keep up with his whims.)

This little tooth fairy also takes photos using a flash in her victim's customer's peaceful room.

And last but not least, this little tooth fairy has a confession: I just can't save those strange, gross baby teeth.

I've tried before. Honestly. But after a few months of looking at it, I get weirded out. The dried blood, the fact that it's a piece of bone detached from a body...I'm sorry, but my dad kept ours in a small glass vial, and pulled the vial out one day to proudly show us once we grew up. That image in my head of a vial full of twenty year old baby teeth is not going away anytime soon. Aren't you even a little bummed out about the top photo?

I'm like super sentimental and all. But too bad, so sad. Baby teeth go in the trash.

So tell me. Do you keep 'em (or plan to)? Am I crazy for throwing away the symbols of such precious little milestones??