Monday, December 16, 2013


Its not that life really seems to move at a frenetic pace right now.  Partly, thats a choice that we've made as a family.  We've had the luxury of many low key family days this Fall.  And its been good for us.  Good for our little family.

Its just that there are certain hours of the day that seem to be filled with frenzy.  Like the hours between 4:30pm and 7:30pm.  Those hours right after rest time.  Right during suppertime.  And right through bedtime.  Frenzy.  By the time we're in the final steps (of what has somehow become a zillion step process) of getting Buster and his baby sister horizontal in bed, I'm spent.  And I'm definitely not "living in the moment".  In fact, I find myself far too often living in the moments that begin with 7:31pm.

The other night, we were somewhere between the steps of one and a zillion in the bedtime dance.  Buster got it in his mind that we needed to (ie. must) go outside to see the "bright shiny moon".

Somehow, I relented.

With a sigh, I shoved my feet into my snow boots and picked up my jammie-clad boy.  As I walked out the door, I sighed, again, as I saw the bag of trash, sitting on our front stoop.  I sighed as I looked at the bedraggled crew of outdoor toys, mostly covered with a pile of dirty snow.  I sighed as we walked to the middle of our icy parking lot.  "Just a little further, Momma, the moon is hiding behind the trees."  I sighed, again, as I looked around our little neighborhood and noticed the half-strewn Christmas lights (flashing, of course) of some neighbors who seemed to have given their decorating a fifty percent effort.

And I stood still as two long legs that have become much more boy than baby wrapped around my waist.  He put both arms around my neck as he craned his to the sky. "I see stars too!!!"  And he was silent for a moment before he whispered reverently into my ear:  "Its soooo beautiful.  Thank you Momma".

And for just a moment, the frenzy ceased.  And my breath caught.  Momentarily, I saw the moon, and the stars, and the world through the living-in-the-moment eyes of my three year old.

And I exhaled.  Slow, quiet, peaceful.

For just a moment.

"Momma. I'm freezing my bippy!! Let's go inside!"  And in we went and onto the next step towards a zillion.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Grace?

Recently, we welcomed, for the second time, the most wonderful gift into our lives.  A new baby.  This time, a girl.  And though we are tired and somewhat overwhelmed in all the ways that are typical with a newborn in the house, I think its fair to say that we are also completely humbled by being entrusted with two lives.

A son and a daughter.


As soon as we knew we were going to have a little girl, I knew (and luckily my husband agreed) that her middle name should be Grace.  Aside from the fact that "Grace" is simply a beautiful name, I wanted my little girl to bear the reminder that all life is a good and unearned gift.  And, somehow, I know that I need that reminder on a regular basis.

I work in a field where I regularly encounter people who have rarely experienced grace.  They are often the folks who are instead intimately acquainted with judgement, condemnation, failure, and fear.  Ungrace.

Theologically, I am convinced that grace is the basis of God's heart towards us.  But, I have also come to believe that most of us have great difficulty trusting or even acknowledging this definitive nature of God's intention.  Most of us feel more comfortable operating in a theological paradigm that is heavy on the very things that have become prisons for many of my counseling clients:  judgement, condemnation, failure and fear.  Ungrace.

And, I've learned that I need to be constantly reminded of grace.  I need grace in order the be the counselor that I believe I was designed to be.  I need it be be the wife that I long to be.  I need it to be the mom that my kids deserve.  I need it to find the peace that God has promised by His very presence.  Grace.

The most tangible reminders of grace in my life at this moment reside in the two tiny people that have been entrusted my care.  Two amazing and unearned gifts.  My children.  Grace.

And so, as a reminder to myself, as a statement to the world, and as a hope for our new baby girl, we have given her this powerful and life giving middle name to bear.


Sunday, January 20, 2013


I love the fact that with Buster's increasing verbal skills comes increasing potential for conversation.  Granted, we sometimes have the same conversation, oh, maybe a thousand times a day.  Such as:
       Buster: Where Daddy go?
       Me:  Daddy went to work.  
       Buster:  Daddy ride a bus?
       Me:  Yes, Daddy parked his truck in the parking lot and rode a bus to work.
       Buster:  Daddy ride a gone-o-la?
       Me:  Yes, Daddy probably rode the gondola today at work.

And five minutes later...
       Buster:  Where Daddy go?

I think you get the drift.

But still, I love listening to his language develop and watching his mind start to make connections about the world he lives in.  Just last week, after months of talking about Buster's "baby sister in Mommy's tummy", he started to ask questions.  I think prior to this he has been in a little bit of denial and was using the defense mechanism of avoidance around the subject of a new baby.  Last week, however, something changed.  It may have been that each question he asked opened up a whole new set of questions for his little mind to crank out.

       Buster:  Where baby sister live?
       Me:  When baby sister comes, she'll live in this house with us.
       Buster (looking a bit surprised):  Where baby sister sleep?
       Me:  Well, when baby sister is a little bit bigger she will sleep in Buster's room.
       Buster (now looking shocked):  Her sleep in Buster's bed?!!
       Me:  No, she'll have her own bed.
       Buster (with his eyebrows furrowed):  Who baby sister Daddy?
       Me:  Good question.  Buster's Daddy is also baby sister's Daddy.
       Buster (now showing true signs of paradigm shift):  Who baby sister Momma?
       Me (pointing to myself):  I'm baby sister's Momma.  But I'll always be Buster's Momma too.
The conversation continued with a few other concerned questions and then Buster summarized:  When baby sister comes out of Momma's tummy (gesturing as if he's throwing up, or spitting something out of his mouth), baby sister ride a "gone-o-la".  

I decided to leave that summary alone.

My favorite recent conversation, however, took place in the car.  Out doing some errands, Buster's little boy voice piped up from the backseat:  "Momma, where God?".  I tried to explain His omnipresence as honestly and understandably as I could and said, simply, "He's everywhere".  I looked in my review mirror for a response; Buster was just gazing out the window.  Then I ventured a little further, "He can also live inside your heart, if you want Him to".

No verbal response from Buster, just a smile.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Almost two.  How can it be?  It seems like a million images instantly flash through my mind when I think on the past two years of being Buster's mom.  A few things that I don't want to forget from the past few months:

  • Buster loved going to our community outdoor pool just about every week this summer.  Even though the pool is now closed for the season, if you ask Buster where he is going or where he would like to go, he will just about always say "pool".
  • Buster has developed a deep "tough guy" voice that he uses when he is being particularly silly.
  • He is possibly even more attached to Beloved Roy than before.  Now, if he gets hurt, its a toss up if he'll want a kiss from Momma or a kiss from Roy.  When he decides Roy will handle the situation best, he gets him and pretends that Roy is kissing whatever the injury of the moment is.
  • One of his favorite activities is fishing with Dad.  He imitates a pretty good 10-2 fly rod casting motion.  He's most interested in the reel, though.
  • Buster still loves trucks, tractors, buses, etc.  He now wants to ride them all.  Yesterday, as we were walking home from the Post Office, he spotted a tractor and said "Momma, I ride big big tractor".
  • He sings songs that he makes up.  Usually, if you ask him what he is singing about, he'll say "cats".
  • If it were his choice, he probably would only sit down to eat, and even then he would prefer to be moving or, at least, standing.  He is all about running, climbing, "tunneling", jumping, spinning, rolling, tackling, wrestling....moving.
  • He laughs at and imitates noises that his (or anyone else's) body makes.  He's a boy.  You can probably guess to what I'm referring.
  • Buster has a best friend, Mattias.  They either hug or give each other "high fives" at the end of their playdates.
  • He has another friend, Tommy.  Buster thinks his name is "Tummy" and shows us his belly when he is referring to Tommy.
  • He has a grin that lights up his whole face.  But, sometimes, when he is the most contentedly, genuinely happy, he simply smiles with his eyes.

And, of all the things that I don't want to forget about this time in Buster's life, the most humbling, sobering, challenging, and wonderful thing is that we've been entrusted with him.  Amazing. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Spiderman Kisses.

Somewhere between one and a half and two.  Not really a baby.  Not fully described by the word "toddler".  All boy.  Part comedian.  Part explorer.  Part stunt-man.  Very silly.  All intertwined with a sweetness that sometimes catches me by surprise.

Buster is fairly selective with his expressions of love through physical touch.  He gives sweet hugs and kisses to his daddy and me and he's been known to do the same to grandparents upon request.  He also voluntarily hugs his best little buddy, Mattias.  They like to hug at the beginning and end of each playdate.  Outside of this circle, Buster usually sticks to "high fives".

Recently, we were making our daily expedition to our neighborhood playground.  As we got closer, Buster let out a slightly surprised "oh".  In the sand, with his torso partly buried, was a Spiderman figurine.  His head was missing.  As I watched, Buster trotted over to him and picked him up.  Noticing, I think, that Spidey did not have a head, Buster gently gave him a kiss.

That little gesture embodies a whole lot of what I hope I never forget about this sweet boy at this age.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


It snowed.  We explored.  Buster walked ahead of me for a long time.  Then, he got tired.  And turned around to find me.  And lifted his arms up so that he could be carried for a while.  Little big-guy.  My arms regretted it, but my heart loved it.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I've been slow to post.  I'll chalk it up to toddler induced attention deficit issues.  Buster has an attention span of about one minute.  Maybe a few more if I'm letting him watch vintage Sesame Street on DVD.  (Nope, we're not anti-television around here.  We're just very limited and highly selective television when it comes to Buster.  And, I feel pretty good about vintage Sesame Street.)  But, I digress.  It think I was writing about my attention deficit issues?

So I have a couple posts rolling around in my mind.  One about some "nesting" that Buster likes to do, especially in the evening right before bed.  And one about the ever growing rock pile that is the result of Buster's new rock collecting hobby.  Every venture outdoors results in at least two rocks being added to the pile.  (And, he's learning life lessons about the differences between rocks and doggie poo - sometimes things that look the same on the outside are entirely different on the inside.)

But, I'm going to save those posts for another time.  Its just about the end of Buster's morning nap, and I'm banking on about five more minutes.  Tops.

So, instead, I'm just going to write that, somehow, over the course of the past sixteen months, Buster has become a little person that I love spending time with.  I've always loved him.  No doubt.  And, its been hard for me to be away from him, like on the day that I am at work.  But, I've just realized recently that when I'm out and about without him, I miss him.  I see things that I wish he could see because he would be so excited:  school buses, trash trucks, crows, dogs, and smoke coming from just about anything.  And, he's funny.  He can be so silly.  On purpose.  And it makes me laugh.  Hard.

Life with a toddler certainly has its challenges and ever increasing responsibilities.  My daily prayer is that by God's grace and by the power of His Spirit we would raise Buster well.

At this moment, however, I am just reveling in the fact that I love spending time with my little boy.