The Necessity Of Being Still

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


"Be still, or your piggie-tails will be crooked!"
"I can't!  I just can't be still!"

This is an argument that Ladybug and I have at least once a week, if not more.  She loves to wear her hair in pig-tails, but just as much hates having to be still for the process.  I can't even imagine what we would have to endure if I could actually braid hair.  Ladybug is an active four-and-a-half-year-old, and some part of her body is moving from the time she truly wakes up in the morning, until some point after we've tucked her in bed for the night.  She lives by this constant motion, and I believe she thinks she thrives by it.  To be still means to be missing out on something or not doing something that she is certain that she needs to do, even if it's just waving her arms as she sings a song she's making up in her head as she goes.

Isn't that us?  Isn't that our lives as adults in this fast-paced world, but with God telling us,
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” - Psalms 46:10
Like Ladybug tells me that she just can't be still, we tell God that, don't we?  "I just can't stop and take the time to spend in prayer and reading your Word today, God.  I've got to get the kid to school, pick up the dry-cleaning, get groceries, pick the kid back up from school, take her to after school activities." I know I caught myself doing just in the last week.  I just kept getting distracted and never sat still long enough really dive into my Bible as I know that I need and crave to do.

The second part of that conversation that Ladybug and I have is this, "Actually you CAN be still, you just don't want to.  Telling me that you can't is a lie.  You can make yourself be still.  I'm not asking you to stay still forever, just for a little while."

It's a lie when we tell ourselves, anyone else, and especially God that we don't have time for Him.  We don't have time to read our Bibles.  We don't have time to pray.  We must MAKE the time.  I mean, how can we not make the time to spend with the God who gifted us with the very breath in our lungs each and every single day?

I happened (not a coincidence, I'm sure) to be reading that passage of Psalms at the same time I was reading in The Gospel of Mark where Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-41), and it occurred to me that when Jesus yelled, "Peace! Be still!" he wasn't just commanding the wind and the sea.  He was also commanding the disciples, who were scared that they were going to die in the storm.  I can only imagine the chaos going on in that boat, while Jesus was trying to get a little rest.  Surely they should have known that everyone drowning in the sea was not a part of God's overall plan, and that they would be safe, but they didn't.  They were consumed with their own personal needs at that moment, just as we are often consumed by our busyness.

This thought leads me to think of another argument Ladybug and I have been having lately when we tell her to do something, and she gives us the excuse of, "I didn't hear you," when we admonish her for not doing as she was told.  Again, I'll tell her, "If you would be still and quiet, you would be able to listen and hear what I'm telling you to do."

How are we ever to know what God wants us to do if we never be still, if we're never quiet.  After all, like we taught our kids in Sunday school this past week,
"At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper." - 1 Kings 19:11-12
You can't hear a whisper if you won't be still and quiet.  All of the chaos of like will consume you.  I can't hear a whisper if I'm not still and paying attention, I know for a fact.  When Ladybug was little, she spoke so softly and quietly (she's gotten over that now) that we couldn't hear what she had to say unless we deliberately stopped what we were doing and listened to her.  If we didn't, we missed what she was telling us, and she would get upset.  We got even better results when we would take the time to get on her level to hear her.

We're always going to be like the disciples on the boat, sinking in the sea, just barely above water if we don't take the time to be still, stop all the chatter, be quiet, and reach to God in His word and through prayer.  We CAN be still, and we CAN be quiet.  He WILL speak, and we WILL hear Him if we seek Him with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand.  Perhaps, I'll remember these things myself.

The Importance Of 3 Little Words

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I originally posted this in June of 2015, but as I have been reading God's Word and working in a new Bible study, this post I wrote has come to mind so often that I had to share it again and add a little more to it.


The girls and I were outside this bright, sunshiny morning, just rejoicing in this blessed day the Lord has made, being serenaded by my playlist of some of my favorite Christian songs.  A song off of Christy Nockels new live album, "Let It Be Jesus" came on, and three of the first four lyrics stuck with me, making me think of all their meaning.  So much can be related in uttering those three words.  They're three words that are incredibly loaded when uttered together.  We all often say them lightly, but actually saying them entails a commitment.  They aren't words that should be said lightly, especially in this age of constant connectedness distractedness.   They aren't the three little words you're expecting.  They're "here I am."

The song we heard was "Find Me At the Feet Of Jesus."  It's about giving up the world and giving up yourself to bow down at the feet of Jesus.  It's about focusing solely, entirely on Jesus and nothing else.  The entire song/ album is quite powerful, but today it's those three words, "here I am," that I want to focus on.

To say, "Here I am," signifies five very important things:
  1. When you say, "Here I am," someone is calling out specifically TO YOU.  For whatever reason they want / need you for something that only you can do.  
  2. You have to to be truly listening to hear the call.  Be it a booming shout or a still, small voice you must be open and available to hear it, not distracted.  
  3. Saying "Here I am" means that you're opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable to whatever the person calling you wants or needs from you.  It's taking a risk.
  4. You have a choice to follow the call or not.  Often it seems easier to not, but we're can be held accountable when we choose not to. 
  5. If you should decide to follow the call and say, "Here I am," you have to be present.  You have to actually be there in body, mind, and spirit.  Again, you can't be distracted by something else.  You have to let go of whatever else you may be doing or want to be doing.  You don't come first.   The one who has called you comes first.
We often are being called.  We are called by God.  We're called by our spouses.  We're called by our children.  We're called by our friends, our churches, our jobs, and countless other people and things.  Every morning when Ladybug wakes up, she calls out, "Momma!"  Sometimes I try to put her off a moment or two in order to finish whatever I'm doing, but she won't have it.  At that moment, she wants my full attention.  The laundry, the housework, the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, even my quiet time with The Lord - they all have to be put aside, because she wants me then and there.  When I tell her, "Here I am!" I have to mean it.

How often do we say "Here I am" and not really mean it?  We aren't open and available.  We're distracted.  We allow ourselves to be distracted.  Or, we choose not to answer at all.  We do it to God, we do it to our spouses and our children.  We do it to everyone.  We never open ourselves up to God or anyone else, closing ourselves from everyone and everything.  Just like saying "I love you" without putting anything or any thought into the weight of those words, we say, "Here I am" without thinking.  And we miss it.

We miss out on the smiles, the conversations, and just being "there" for our loved ones and especially our children.  How often do we sit in the same room and ignore each other?  We're there, but not really engaged with each other.  I know that I do it all too often.  We miss it with our families, and we miss it with God.

We especially miss it with God.  He, more than Ladybug, demands my full attention, and I don't give it to Him.  Most of the time we don't even say, "Here I am" to Him.  We don't want to.  We're afraid to.  It brings to mind 1 Samuel 3, when God was called Samuel as a child.  Samuel kept responding, thinking it was Eli saying, "Here I am."  To God he said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

*** This month I started a new Bible Study, "Seamless" by Angie Smith and I have also been slowly, deliberately reading through Genesis and the Old Testament on my own.  Whenever God called out to someone, and they replied, "Here I am" He did great things through them, even if what God was promising seemed absolutely impossible.  When God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise and through whom Abraham was supposed to have as many descendants as there were stars in the sky, Abraham responded, "Here I am!" both initially and just in time when God provided a ram in place of Isaac for the sacrifice.  I don't believe I could have responded that way if God asked me to sacrifice Ladybug.  When God called to Jacob, and he responded by saying, "Here I am!" God always provided for him.  Moses responded at the burning bush with "Here I am!" and God used him to deliver his people out of bondage.

The phrases, "Here I am" and "Speak, for your servant is listening," mean much the same thing, but the latter shows more intent.  We're afraid of what intentionally opening ourselves bare to God entails, because once we say "Here I am" to Him things always change at least some.  Just as Jacob walked with a limp after wrestling with God, saying "Here I am" means giving up something of ourselves and what we think life should be.  Saying "Here I am" means being selfless rather than selfish.  It means no longer running.  It means trusting God when what He is telling you seems impossible but knowing that nothing is impossible with God.  Like I said, they're loaded words.  It certainly has me thinking about how I approach everything.

Tell me, when was the last time you said, "Here I am" and meant "I am listening?"


*** edited from the original post

The (Not-So) Wonderful World of Throwing Up

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Since Ladybug has turned four, she has decided to do a great many more "grown up" things, such as: not having a fit when I clean her ears, helping with the dishes, getting her own food out of the kitchen with the aid of a step-stool, and listening to and obeying her parents better.  Overall, her belief that she can do more (without help) since becoming "a four-year-old" and experiencing more has been great.  There is one new thing that Ladybug has experienced since turning four that none of us has enjoyed.  Last night she threw up in her sleep and spend the entire night throwing up.  Until last night, the only times she ever threw up were when she was upset and/or congested.  This was her first full-on session of the throw-ups.

Let's just say it was a learning experience, especially for her.  She had to learn to throw up in the toilet, a bowl, or in a trash can and not on well, ME.  I'm Mom, and I'm supposed to make everything better, so she kept turning to me when she needed to throw up  I changed clothes a few times.  It was a long night, and the washing machine hasn't stopped.  Thankfully around 4:30 am Ladybug stopped.  I stayed in her room with her, and we got to sleep until she noticed the sun starting to peek through the windows around 6:45.  Then we got up and started continued washing everything that had been contaminated.

Everything has been washed / sprayed with Lysol, and wiped clean.  L begged for breakfast this morning, but I made her hold out for toast and crackers at lunch.  Poor girl didn't need to learn the hard way that you need to slowly reintroduce food to your stomach after such gastrointestinal acrobatics.  I'm sure she thought I was being cruel.  She also didn't like that I told her she couldn't go on a playdate at her friend M's house today.  I tried to nicely explain, "Baby, they don't want you at their house after you spent last night throwing up!"  Hopefully we'll all stay well so she can attend a birthday party Saturday and church on Sunday.

We're super tired, and Bart is bringing home Chick Fil-A for supper, because no one feels like fixing a meal.  The poor dogs are even pooped.  Everyone was worried about our girl.  Lucy and Dory got up with us.  It reminded me of the few (horrible) times we had all-nighters with her when she was a teething baby.  You don't really realize dogs can have circles under their eyes until you go through a night like that with them.

Ladybug's nurses were hard at work last night.
The good news is that we spent a very restful day recuperating at home.  L has spent time pretending to ice skate and flying her Wonder Woman and Super Girl Action Dolls around the house.  She napped for four hours today, and hopefully will sleep through the night tonight.  Now, let's just pray that Bart and I don't catch this lovely bug.

Keeping It Classy Since 1980

Monday, August 17, 2015

A week from now I will have already dropped off and picked up my only baby from her very first day of preschool.  This week we're taking it easy, just chilling together before the bid day arrives.  I am completely a jumble of emotions over this.  I'm thrilled, I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm nostalgic, I'm sad, and I'm completely perplexed by the complexity of modern day packed lunches.

L and Chewy enjoying a morning of Disney Junior before our life is far more scheduled.

— I haven't packed a school lunch in probably twenty-three or twenty-four years.  It's probably been since the first George Bush was in office that I've bothered with it.  When I did take my lunch, it contained a ham and cheese sandwich safely placed in a ziplock sandwich bag, some sort of Frito Lays potato chips, a Little Debbie snack cake of some sort, and some sort drink like Hi-C Ecto Cooler, Kool Aid Burst, or my favorite a Squeezit.  If none of those were available, I would buy a chocolate milk at school.  Maybe occasionally there would be some apples or grapes, but not usually.  All of this was encased in a Jem and the Holograms lunchbox curtesy of Aladdin.

Today, so I've learned, lunches are something far more elaborate.  Milk is supplied at school, and I'm pretty sure Michelle Obama herself would breath fire if anyone wanted chocolate.  We must have a protein, dairy, fruit, vegetable, and a starch.  So, Ladybug is going to have either ham or chicken, cheese, apple slices, baby carrots, and crackers.  She will not have her food lovingly packed in Ziplock bags.  Oh no, I've ordered these things called Bento boxes to place her food just so in her personalized Wonder Woman lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids.The big question will be if she eats any of it.  She is a notoriously picky eater, but thankfully she is trying new things every day.  I'm not at all against my daughter eating a balanced meal, but I kind of hate how the government has overstepped their authority in dictating what I can and cannot pack in my child's Wonder Woman lunchbox.

— Beyond all of my emotions regarding Ladybug starting preschool, I have suddenly found myself in the position of mom who volunteers for things.  Ladybug is starting Children's Choir at church next month.  I was of the opinion that since I would be taking her every week, I might as well help.  That isn't the biggest thing I've volunteered for though.  Our church is in serious need of parents who will step up and teach Sunday School, especially in the preschool department.  Ladybug's teachers last year did a great job, especially considering they had roughly twenty or more 2-3 year olds every week.  We even started a monthly rotation of parents coming in to help control the chaos.  When it was time for them to move up to the 3 yo class and get new teachers, they needed enough teachers to be able to split the group into two classes.

I saw request after request for teachers, because they only had one out of four needed and I prayed about it.  I really didn't want to leave our awesome Sunday School class or leave Bart alone in there, and I honestly don't feel equipped to teach preschoolers.  I prayed about it and prayed about it, then told the preschool director that I would step up.  Thankfully my friend  Kerry did too, so we're muddling through this together.  I never thought I would volunteer to help a preschool class. I've always related better with teenagers.  I even studied secondary education in college.  However God prepares us for where we need to be. I have spent a lot of time with almost all of these kids, and I just love them.  I think God has been preparing my heart for this.  They're a great group of kids and doing great in the smaller class setting.  It's going to be a great year, but please pray we can teach them about Jesus and not screw up royally.

— On a lighter note, Sunday as we were driving to church, Bart mentioned that it sounded like we had some sort of rope flapping against the car.  I looked down and noticed that I had shut the car door on my dress.  Ever so discreetly I pulled it out of the door.  I asked Bart if the flapping stopped, and he asked what it was.  I told him, "Oh, that was just the bottom of my dress, flapping down I-49."  That's me, folks.  Adrienne Gilbreath, keeping it classy since 1980.

So It Is August

Monday, August 3, 2015

And so it is now August, the month our family has simultaneously looked forward to and also somewhat dreaded.  Ladybug starts preschool three weeks from today.  As I turned the Frozen calendar in her bedroom from July to August this weekend, I pointed out her first day of school to her, "This day is your first day of school."  That revelation was met with a resounding, "YES!  I'm going to LOVE that day!"  I'm thrilled that she's so excited about starting school.

It wasn't all that long ago I was worried she would never want to go to school or do anything away from home.  I feared she would be so painfully shy that being out would be just miserable for her. Thankfully, I think, she has come out of her shell almost entirely in the past year and resembles more the happy baby she was before teething and fear periods took over for a while I was worried that she would have a difficult time making friends, but so far I've had several people say that their kids happily tell them that Ladybug is their friend.  Of course so far she's only been places where she's comfortable.  I'm hoping that she can take this comfort and confidence with her wherever she goes.

So far her biggest worry about starting school is, "I don't have any school shoes yet."  This was said after her declaration that she would love the day she starts school.  Bart and I took her shopping for clothes this weekend, buying just about everything she could need to wear until at least January, but decided to wait on shoes to see what she would need to go with her clothes.  I assured her that she would have probably several new pairs of shoes and boots before long.  I have a tree-year-old clothes horse, y'all.  She's very much my child in that she loves to be comfortable at home, but if she's going to be out and seen, she wants to look good.  She's definitely more into accessories than I've ever been.

More important than being more stylish than me, I love that at the age of three and a half, she is fairly confident already, able to make friends easily, and is just generally outgoing.  I sometimes wonder if would have been more comfortable making friends and being in new situations during my elementary school years had I been given the exposure to other children and experiences that Ladybug has already had.  There was no preschool in Heavener, Oklahoma until I was in the third or fourth grade, just head-start for some.  I had  a few occasional neighborhood friends, but at church there were only a couple of other kids there my age, and they weren't very regular attendees.  My sister was so much older than me that as a child, I could relate with teenagers and young adults far better than my own peers.  I was sometimes accused of being an adult in a child's body.  I don't think that I was ever truly comfortable in my own skin until high school, and then that was only as much as any teenage girl can be.

I want her to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, but not conceited. I love that yesterday at church a little girl in L's class said, "She's my friend!"  I want her to be popular, but not in the manner so many young girls are.  I want her to be known as a friend.  I want her to be known for being kind, friendly, and caring to all.  I hope she never loses that.

Meanwhile, my only baby is starting her educational career soon.  I'll try not to get too sentimental this next month.  Maybe it's a good thing our church is hosting a night devoted to anxiety the week L starts.  I'm thinking we'll do a lot of celebrating that weekend, with a cookout, maybe some leftover sparklers, and possibly a Razorback Volleyball game, since Ladybug seems to think she's into hat now.  Goodness, can you believe this baby is going to preschool this month?  At least we've broken her book-eating habit.

In Which I'm Concerned About Doc McStuffins' Career Change

Thursday, July 23, 2015

— It has come to my attention that as a mom, I often have to pull rabbits out of a bag of tricks in order to get Ladybug to comply with me.  Case in point, a couple weeks ago I took Ladybug in to our local Pigtails and Crewcuts to trim her dead-ends.  While she was busy flying her airplane like the Red Baron, a mom and daughter came in with an interesting dilemma.  The daughter, who looked all of eight years old, had been at a sleep-away camp and had decided not to brush or comb her hair at all for the entire week.  I think they ended up having to cut her hair super-short it was so tangled.  We've also been reading a very abridged version of Anne of Green Gables, and she remembers very distinctly that Anne had to cut her hair off after accidentally dying in green.  I have since reminded Ladybug of this every day when she doesn't want her hair brushed.  She knows that her hair is very beautiful and doesn't want it cut off "like Anne of Green Gables."  Hey, I'll use whatever means necessary to get my stubborn child to comply.


—  I saw yesterday on Facebook where Doc McStuffins is going to shift her field of practice from toys and stuffed animals to pets.  I told Bart, and he was concerned she would be cutting up animals and encouraging kids to so.  I reminded him that Doc is a cartoon, and I don't think they're going to go all Dexter on a Disney Junior show.  I don't even think they'll go all Grey's Anatomy and do an exploratory surgery.  To further our delusional concern, let me say that I hope that Doc has at least completed a fellowship program at a reputable, teaching veterinary hospital.  You know, preferably more Seattle Grace than Mercy West.

It does not escape my notice that I'm so concerned about a cartoon Ladybug may or may not even watch.  Though she had a Doc McStuffins birthday party a year and a half ago, she almost always complains when Doc comes on TV these days.  I assume she feels it is beneath her.  She is more of a Sofia the First girl in the Disney Junior way of thinking.  That, and the ever present Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Oh, she'll play Doc McStuffins, but not often on her toys.  Why should she do that when she has a Mama and a Lucy and Dory dog to heal?  At any rate, it looks like Doc got some new clothes out of the change in specialty.



—The other morning I was in the mood for some of my favorite comfort food, a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos.  Ladybug and I picked up a bag of assorted chips on our last Walmart run, and I should have listened to her when she mentioned fire being on the Doritos bags, because those were not regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, the were Spicy Nacho Cheese Doritos.  I found this out after eating several then welling up in tears because they were so hot.  I thought I was going to die.

I was born with a condition called "Geographic Tongue," a chronic condition with no real treatment because most of the time, it's not a problem.  Though I love the taste of really hot, spicy foods, I've learned to stay away from them due to the painful whelps they cause me.  It's sort of like how I love the taste of shrimp, crab, and any other assortment of shellfish but don't really care for the abdominal cramps or my throat closing up.  Anyway, Frito-Lay needs to do more to distinguish between the two types of Nacho Cheese Doritos with their packaging, because that was not a nice surprise.  The flames coming from the chips are not enough warning.  I'm thinking an alarm that screams, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" would be more appropriate.



— We recently received a mailer from Build-a-Bear Workshop which Ladybug promptly took and obsessed over.  One side was geared toward girls with something all pink, purple, and glittery called the "Honey Girls."  The other side was geared toward boys with new Star Wars bears.  This just goes to show you that girls often not only dislike the pink-washed alternatives to things businesses think girls want, but that can outright hate them.  Ladybug loves Star Wars, not some version where Princess Leia wears a pink dress and tiara.  I wish toy companies would learn that girls neither need nor want to have a coat of pink paint slapped on something to love it.  Ladybug has already decided to take her own money to BABW tomorrow and purchase her very own Chewbacca, complete with sound.




—  The other morning I was told a very emphatic "I don't like you!" by Ladybug when I threatened to take away her little V-Tech camera she was playing with when I told her to go upstairs and put on her shoes.  I responded with a cool, "I can live with that."  I can live with her being mad at me, not liking me, and even sometimes not loving me as she says because,  1). I know that she doesn't really mean it, and 2). I'm her mom, not her best friend.  I like that we're buddies, but I'm her mom first.


—  I finished reading "The Astronaut Wives Club" this morning.  Now I'm looking for my next book to devour.  Any suggestions?  I've been thinking about reading "The Right Stuff," but frankly I like looking at the Mercury Seven and the other astronauts from the wives' eyes.

Hanging Crooked, Reading Books, and Doing Nothing

Sunday, July 19, 2015

— There is a rousing rendition of "Do Lord" being sung in the play room while I type this, because I finally added Ladybug's cd of VBS songs to her iPad this morning.  I am ecstatic that she loved VBS so much that she wants to hear the songs all of the time.  However as an adult, I can only hear those adrenaline-charged, repetitive songs maybe ten times a day... each before I need an Excedrin.

— I have finally gotten around to putting new pictures and frames up all through our house.  This endeavor has also included purchasing a new bulletin board and a new dry erase board for the kitchen.  It's the best time for those new items, because everything is stocked and at great prices for Back To School.  Anyway, after buying the stuff to replace the old, dingy stuff in the kitchen, I got a bug up my bonnet to hang them myself.  You see, I realized that I am 35 years old and have never really hung a picture up on my own in any of my homes. I don't think I've hung anything up since my Monet prints in my college dorm room.  I was really industrious and even learned how to use Bart's drill so I could do it right.  Once I was finished I realized something.  Do you know why I never hang pictures (or anything else)?  I don't see straight and even using a level, those two boards are as crooked as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  This is of course driving Bart, the perfectionist, insane, and it won't be too long before he corrects my mishaps.

— As you know, I anticipated "Go Set a Watchman" for months, so I read it in a day.  That said, once I was finished reading it, I felt that void you do after you finish a book you really love.  Friday I decided to start reading "The Astronaut Wives Club:  A True Story" by Lily Koppel.  It's the book that inspired the TV series by the same name that Bart and I have been addicted to this summer.  I'm taking it a little slower with this book, but I really like learning about the women behind our first astronauts, the Mercury Seven.  Let me tell you, they put up with a lot more than most wives would these days.

— A huge part of me has felt that I should start back to writing rather than get stuck in another book for a while.  The thing is, it's not easy writing fiction and taking care of Ladybug.  She's going to be in preschool soon, so I hope to spend part of that time writing.  Then I can get lost in my character's lives until it's time to go wait in car line without feeling guilty for ignoring my child for my own imaginary friends.

— I took our "Week of Nothing" very seriously.  Ladybug and I left the house to buy groceries and that was about it.  It was the perfect week for this, since we're finally having a normal (meaning HOT!!!) summer.  We went to the mall Friday night with Bart to shop for school clothes for Ladybug.  I can hardly believe we're buying her school clothes, even for two-day-a-week-preschool.

—  I mentioned previously how nice Ladybug and I have had it for the past three and a half years, just taking life slowly.  I just want to go on the record by saying that I have loved it.  There's nowhere else I would have rather been.  I was listening to an old podcast of the Big Boo Cast by Big Mama and Boo Mama, and they were talking about how they purposefully don't schedule to be away from home as much as they could, because that's where their people are, and they don't want to miss anything.  That's how I feel about my time so far as a SAHM.

I remember a friend who had had a baby a little over a year after I had L asked me how I could stand to be home all the time.  I'll admit that the first six months to a year was hard, because little babies don't do much but need you.  Then you know what?  In between all the teething and the potty-training, it got really good.  Ladybug will probably phase out naps after starting preschool.  I'm going to miss our mid-day nap ritual where I read to her before her nap.  We've read everything from Green Eggs and Ham to The Secret Garden together this way.

I think of Ladybug's first steps, her first words, and all the goofball moments that have and will occur.  I never wanted someone else to text me pictures and videos of those moments, I wanted to experience them myself, and I did.  I may still be driving the same car we bought eight years ago, we may not take many vacations, but what I have been given is so much greater.  Ladybug has also benefitted too.  She has had this great life that hasn't been overly scheduled.  She's been able to just be a kid, playing on her own.  She even has an imaginary friend, AND she's very sociable with other kids.  I just can't imagine missing this.  I love spending my days with my smart, silly, sweet goofball.  It has been a most precious time, and I'm glad she's only going to be in school two days a week so far.

The Importance Of Doing Nothing

Wednesday, June 24, 2015



I often look at Ladybug and I think that we should be doing more.  Our time should be more structured.  I should be more *buzzword alert* intentional with every moment of our time together.  We should take more advantage of all the programs offered to children in our area, especially during the summer.  I should do more to make each moment of every day count for something.  Then I remember two things.  The first is that it is summer.  The second is that  Ladybug is only three years old.

Summer.  I loved summer vacation when I was a kid.  End of school activities kept my schedule so busy, that I was burned out by the time that last bell rang for the year.  So I was more than ready to doing nothing almost every day.  Sure there were camps and Bible school, but most of my days were spent waking when my body was ready, staying around the house during the hottest hours, then spending the evening hours swimming and playing to the music of crickets and cicadas.  I lived for those days.  I read voraciously, and my imagination had free reign.  As a teenager those were the days when I really began to write, creating whole worlds and lives within my head.  Even though Ladybug isn't in school yet, we still keep a busy schedule during the school months and lead a more structured life.

Then here's the big one, she's only three years old.  I'm all for her doing things with her peers and learning and discovering.  I love to get out with her and do special things, go on playdates, and attend things specifically designed with children in mind.  However, I think it's great for her to just be at home and chill more often than not.  This is when she builds things with her Legos, when she makes things with her Play-Doh, when she makes up her own silly songs, plays with her dolls, and lets her imagination run free.  She couldn't do these things if I was busy trying to make every moment count by taking her from one activity outside of the home to another.  She has this wonderful, active, and creative imagination.  I would hate to stifle that because I won't let her just be a kid.

Altogether, childhood is short.  We seem to be making it shorter and shorter as time passes by filling our children's' days with one activity after another, trying to make each moment count.   In just a couple of months, L will be starting preschool two days a week, we'll have Bible study, and she'll have children's choir at church.  In a couple of years, it will be kindergarten and sports and other activities as well as church.  Before I know it, she'll be spending her summers at church camps, band camps, and / or whatever other camp she'll be interested in.  Then she'll be in college and working in the summers.  She'll be an adult, longing for those simple summer days when her imagination was one of her best friends.

The other day she was playing with her one of toys and told me, "It's just for kids, but you can play with it when you become a kid again."  I had to burst her bubble and explain that once you're grown up, you don't become a kid again.  Then I told her that's why she doesn't need to be in too big of a hurry to grow up.  It's also why I want to give her the chance to just be a kid for as long as possible.  She's still doing and learning this summer, including learning to read, but I'm also just letting her be her as well.  I don't want her to become a person who is always expecting someone else to tell her what to do and how to entertain herself.  I want her to be creative and take initiative, and I think doing nothing at times allows her to learn to do just that.

The Importance Of Three Little Words

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


The girls and I were outside this bright, sunshiny morning, just rejoicing in this blessed day the Lord has made, being serenaded by my playlist of some of my favorite Christian songs.  A song off of Christy Nockels new live album, "Let It Be Jesus" came on, and three of the first four lyrics stuck with me, making me think of all their meaning.  So much can be related in uttering those three words.  They're three words that are incredibly loaded when uttered together.  We all often say them lightly, but actually saying them entails a commitment.  They aren't words that should be said lightly, especially in this age of constant connectedness distractedness.   They aren't the three little words you're expecting.  They're "here I am."

The song we heard was "Find Me At the Feet Of Jesus."  It's about giving up the world and giving up yourself to bow down at the feet of Jesus.  It's about focusing solely, entirely on Jesus and nothing else.  The entire song/ album is quite powerful, but today it's those three words, "here I am," that I want to focus on.

To say, "Here I am," signifies five very important things:
  1. When you say, "Here I am," someone is calling out specifically TO YOU.  For whatever reason they want / need you for something that only you can do.  
  2. You have to to be truly listening to hear the call.  Be it a booming shout or a still, small voice you must be open and available to hear it, not distracted.  
  3. Saying "Here I am" means that you're opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable to whatever the person calling you wants or needs from you.  It's taking a risk.
  4. You have a choice to follow the call or not.  Often it seems easier to not, but we're can be held accountable when we choose not to. 
  5. If you should decide to follow the call and say, "Here I am," you have to be present.  You have to actually be there in body, mind, and spirit.  Again, you can't be distracted by something else.  You have to let go of whatever else you may be doing or want to be doing.  You don't come first.   The one who has called you comes first.
We often are being called.  We are called by God.  We're called by our spouses.  We're called by our children.  We're called by our friends, our churches, our jobs, and countless other people and things.  Every morning when Ladybug wakes up, she calls out, "Momma!"  Sometimes I try to put her off a moment or two in order to finish whatever I'm doing, but she won't have it.  At that moment, she wants my full attention.  The laundry, the housework, the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, even my quiet time with The Lord - they all have to be put aside, because she wants me then and there.  When I tell her, "Here I am!" I have to mean it.

How often do we say "Here I am" and not really mean it?  We aren't open and available.  We're distracted.  We allow ourselves to be distracted.  Or, we choose not to answer at all.  We do it to God, we do it to our spouses and our children.  We do it to everyone.  We never open ourselves up to God or anyone else, closing ourselves from everyone and everything.  Just like saying "I love you" without putting anything or any thought into the weight of those words, we say, "Here I am" without thinking.  And we miss it.

We miss out on the smiles, the conversations, and just being "there" for our loved ones and especially our children.  How often do we sit in the same room and ignore each other?  We're there, but not really engaged with each other.  I know that I do it all to often.  We miss it with our families, and we miss it with God.

We especially miss it with God.  He, more than Ladybug, demands my full attention, and I don't give it to Him.  Most of the time we don't even say, "Here I am" to Him.  We don't want to.  We're afraid to.  It brings to mind 1 Samuel 3, when God was called Samuel as a child.  Samuel kept responding, thinking it was Eli saying, "Here I am."  To God he said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
The phrases mean much the same thing, but the latter shows more intent.  We're afraid of what intentionally opening ourselves bare to God entails, because once we say "Here I am" to Him things always change at least some.  Saying "Here I am" means giving up something of ourselves and what we think life should be.  Saying "Here I am" means being selfless rather than selfish.  Like I said, they're loaded words.  It certainly has me thinking about how I approach everything.

Tell me, when was the last time you said, "Here I am" and meant "I am listening?"

Every Day I Fail: Grace In Motherhood

Sunday, May 10, 2015




Each and every day, I pray that I am the above things as a wife, a mother, a friend, and just a general person.  Then almost each and every single day, I fail at one or more.  I lose patience.  I am unkind. I am prideful.  I am ungrateful.  I am selfish.  I fail to understand.  I allow little things to irritate me.  I lose my temper.  I fail.  

Some days are easier than others.  Some take everything out of me, and again I feel as if I am constantly failing.  I feel like I don't do enough (whatever enough may be).  I feel as though I should be more (again, what exactly is more?).  We are always being fed pictures of the lives of others who seem to have it all together on social media.  I must constantly remind myself that I'm seeing what others want me to see, not necessarily the whole story.  I don't see the messes, the tantrums, or the frustration.  Sometimes that's all I see in my own life.  I only hear the whining.  I only see the uncleaned house, and I feel as if I have failed.

That's it though.  I feel as if I have failed.  Some days I really do fail, and some I don't.  Most days I'm just battling through the trials of trying to raise a small person to be all the things I pray to be, and it isn't easy.  Kids aren't born good, they aren't born these things.  They are taught them.

So, with every, "Thank you, Mom, for giving me clean laundry." and "Thank you, Mom for changing my sheets." and "Thank you, Mom for reading books to me," I realize that I'm not really failing after all.  The days can be long and hard, but I'm investing in the long haul, the big picture, even if it's difficult in the moment.

None of us is perfect, and there are always those days when we're at our wit's end.  That's when grace comes in.  We are saved by the grace of God and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), meaning we can't do more and enough works to get into Heaven.  So also, we must realize that not one of us is a perfect mother, and we will not raise perfect children.  We must pray diligently and lead our children by example, just as Jesus is our example.  I don't know about you, but just as Jesus grants us grace, I'm constantly having to be merciful with L and give her grace as well.  

Motherhood is hard.  Not one of us is perfect.  We all fall.  We all fail.  Thank goodness occasionally failing at the little things doesn't mean we've failed at motherhood or life as a whole.  There's always grace, and we while we're doling it out to our children, we should remember to save a portion for ourselves.  Being a mom is hard enough.  It would be impossible without grace.

I'll Admit When I'm Wrong

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So...  a year and a half ago I wrote this post about how I would never let Ladybug become all obsessed with princesses.  If any of you know me, you know that I have had to eat those words in a major way this past year.  The thing is, I'm okay with that.  I can admit that I was wrong - at least in some part.

Blame Frozen
It all started back in February, when I had had just about all that I could take of what was a long, snowy, frigid winter.  I needed something different to do with Ladybug on those long, cold days we were basically trapped inside the house.  So I purchased Frozen on iTunes.  I didn't expect to hate it, but I didn't realize that not only Ladybug would like it, but so would I (and Bart).  That little movie about two sisters, which was written better than many of the movies I watched growing up, was our gateway drug into the world of Disney Princesses.

After that, we bought Tangled and Brave.  I adore Tangled.  I'm serious.  The lantern scene is just...  well, it's the most romantic thing I've seen in a movie in a very long time.  It left me all verklempt.  Seriously.  I.LOVED.IT and so did Ladybug.  Bart liked it so much that he bought a Pascal to keep in his truck.  No, I'm not kidding.  The thing is, these princesses aren't like the old, boring ones who just waited on their prince to come.  They have personality.  They do things.  They're the heroes.

After that, we got The Little Mermaid.  I like The Little Mermaid, but I don't just love it.  It's just a little too much of that whole "You can't marry a man you just met" thing that Elsa tried to explain to Anna in Frozen.  It didn't matter that it wasn't my favorite though, because Ladybug loved it.  She also loves Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  She likes Beauty and the Beast, but it's a little scary for her at times.

I Still Don't Care For the Original Three
I have always had a soft spot for the book-loving Belle, but I only tolerate Cinderella and downright dislike Sleeping Beauty.  They and Snow White are the reasons I have spent most of my life disliking the princesses.  They have NO PERSONALITY!  Cinderella maybe has some, but Sleeping Beauty just annoys me.  When L watches it, I want to bang my head up against a wall.  I don't allow my dislike of it to keep Ladybug from enjoying it though, which she does wholeheartedly.  She is all about the princesses and playing make-believe to be one.

Change Of Heart
What caused my change of heart?  I guess it's because I love my daughter, and she loves all of this.   Do I plan on allowing her to behave like a spoiled princess ever?  No.  I do have to remember that when I was a kid I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, She-Ra, Jem and the Holograms, and Cabbage Patch Kids.  It's okay for her to like girly things.  She also likes Lego Friends, the Disney Fairies, and My Little Ponies though not quite as much as the princesses.  I prefer that to Bratz or those creepy Monster High dolls.

She doesn't want to be a princess when she grows up, she wants to go to OU and study weather.  She wants to do the weather like Gina on TV.  She told me so herself recently.  So, right now I'm letting her enjoy the things that allow her imagination to expand.  I'm not raising Adrienne 2.0 after all.  I'm raising Ladybug, and she's pretty awesome just who she is and wants to be.  I even have some princesses being cryogenically kept in my garage for Christmas and birthday.


A photo posted by Adrienne (@addy_lane) on

To 17-Year-Old Me

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I had a wonderful, insightful piece originally written, but it was quickly destroyed within seconds by an accidental cut and paste and Blogger's often handy but sometimes harmful autosave features.  Nonetheless I hope to bring back at least part of the spirit of the original.

Today I am thirty-four years old.  For a while I thought that I was going to be thirty-five, because around November I usually start considering myself the age I am going to be rather than the age that I am.  That gets very confusing when my actual birthday rolls around.  Once I realized that I am actually still just thirty-four it occurred to me that I am now twice the age I was that I once considered the happiest time of my life.

I loved being seventeen.  It's one of those ages you either love or hate, and I will always be thankful for that wonderful time in the latter years of my high school career.  A great deal of who I am was forged then and refined in the fires of early adulthood.  Still, I often wonder what life would have been like if the me of today could write a letter to the me of then.  It would go something like this:



Dear Adrienne,
So, you are seventeen years old.  You have the world ahead of you, and you know it.  You have a lot of the answers to life, but you're going to be amazed at what you don't know.  In fact, one of the most important lessons you'll learn in college is just how much you don't know.  That's okay though.  You're not supposed to know everything.  There are things that can only be learned through experience, and usually those are the most important lessons in life. There's only so much one can learn where you are now. Here's a list of some of those things:

  • Enjoy this time.  There will never be another like it.  You have so much freedom now that you'll never again know.  Appreciate the days when the biggest thing on your mind is what you're going to do next with your friends.  Soon enough the worries of the world will start to weigh on your shoulders.  Appreciate the freedom of just being able to get in your purple car and enjoy being young with your friends.
  • Love your friends.  You have an amazing group of friends.  Right now you can't imagine life without them, but it won't be long before you're all scattered about, living your own lives.  You'll keep in touch, but those weekends of endless girls' nights, summer nights at the drive-in, or just hanging out have an expiration date.
  • Scavenger hunts that require you to find deer poop at the deer pens aren't a good idea.
  • Know right here and now that the guy you just know is the one, isn't.  You two never get together.  You remain friends, but that is all.  Both of you end up in very happy marriages.  You will get married and have a family.  None of it will come easily.  You'll meet your husband in the most unexpected place, and quite honestly it won't happen until you've spent a great deal of time learning exactly what it is to be lonely.
  • Hug your Granny as often as possible.  Your going to spend most of your adulthood missing her and also the special times with your family at her house.
  • Don't let Melissa fix you up with a guy from college.  You two aren't a great fit.  It doesn't matter if you're both funny.  You'll find him annoying, full of himself, and in the end he's going to end up being a Democratic politician.  That's just about the worst thing imaginable.  Also, it's just not cool to be taken to Burger King for your first date, then end up having to pay.  You can and will do better, Adrienne!
  • Enjoy waiting on the trains to get from one side of town to the next.  It's just preparation for waiting in honest to goodness traffic.  You'll actually miss is some day.
  • Keep reading books and keep writing.  It's a part of you.  It doesn't matter what you're reading, or what you're writing, just never let that part of you die.
  • Enjoy your remaining time in that little town you call home.  You may visit it occasionally, but you'll never really be able to go back there again.  Things will both change and remain achingly the same when all the rest of the world has changed.  Even the Rooster Tree will eventually disappear.
  • Give your Junior Prom date a huge hug.  He won't see the age of thirty.
  • Don't listen to idle gossip, and especially don't repeat it.  The only thing it accomplishes is to leave a path of hurt in its wake.  Seriously, just because someone says something doesn't make it true or right for you to repeat it.
  • Remember that comparison is the thief of joy.  If you spend your time comparing your life to others, you'll never be happy.  Appreciate the blessing God has given you.
  • Remember that you are surrounded by so many good, godly women.  They will continue to be an influence in your life long after they're no longer a regular part of your life and even after some are gone.
  • Behind every smile is another person's hurt, pain, and whatever battles they are going through.  Think of that before you pass judgement.
  • There is being witty, and there is being mean and hurtful.  Be one and not the other.
  • Don't let Stephanie talk you into returning her homecoming dress to Dillard's for her.  It's just not a good idea at all.
  • This is going to sound horrible, but trust me.  Don't listen to your mother... just don't.  
  • Don't let anyone diminish who you are in order to make themselves feel better.  Don't let them tell you hurtful things in order to get their way with guilt.  People who love you shouldn't do that.
  • Life isn't going to go exactly the way you planned.  The thing is, the journey is amazing and a blessing.  Even during the most difficult of times, God has plans for your life and is right there with you.  He's teaching you with every step forward and every mistake.  Know that.  Know that it's all about the journey, and appreciate each and every day for the blessing that it is.




Learning Grace As a Parent

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I never really thought much about Grace until recently - not deeply at least.  Having grown up in church, grace has never been a foreign word to me.  "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound," and other hymns have *ahem* graced my lips all of my life.  I have been fascinated by the word, even naming characters for it.  I don't know if I really understood the actual definition of what grace really is though.  It was something I believe that I took for granted and (oh how I hated the thought) felt entitled to it.  It was to me, something that was that I didn't really ponder.  Then my precious, sweet, easy-going baby grew up to be a willful, determined, intelligent, opinionated toddler, and grace suddenly took on an entirely new meaning to me.


If you Google "Grace" you will see this definition.  The second noun is the one that is important to me; "the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings."  It's a mouthful, isn't it?  What does it mean, really?  Along with searching the Bible, I decided to read the book "Grace" by Max Lucado.  He pretty much sums it up by this quote, "Whenever God looks down at you, this is what he sees:  the prefect Lamb of God covering you."  Even at our best, we are but filthy rags to God.  Grace is Jesus covering us and filtering out our sin.

We are nearing the Easter and Passover season.  The Israelites were spared from the Angel of Death because of the lambs' blood covering their doorways.  Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice and freely gave himself to cover us, our dirty, sin-covered souls, so that God could look upon us.  No other sacrifices are needed, because he was blameless and perfect.  He covers us, so that God can look beyond our sin with love and yes, bestow blessings upon us.

As the mother of a toddler, I am faced every day with the dilemma of whether to hand out discipline to my child when she acts out, or to look beyond her defiance with love and just love on her.  I don't believe in not disciplining my child.  It is my duty to her to teach her right from wrong.  That said, I am not without understanding that sometimes there is more to her behavior than just acting out for the sake of acting out.  I need to take into account whether or not she is tired, if she isn't feeling well, and several other factors.  Often, though she is a strong-willed girl, her actions aren't a deliberate test of my authority but her way of letting me know that all is not well in the the land of Ladybug.  It is during those times that I realize that I need to cover her with love rather than punishment.  The lesson that she needs to learn is that there is nothing she can do to lose my love, just as there isn nothing we can do to lose God's.  That is grace.

I honestly don't know if I received a lot of grace as a child.  Guilt I was given in abundance, but grace.... I don't know.  I think that in a way it was thought that I was, but really it was sugar-coated guilt.  Maybe that's the opinion most children have, thinking more on the negative consequences of things.  I'd like to think that, but in all honestly I think one of the reasons I haven't thought much on it was because it really wasn't something I knew first hand from my own personal experiences.  I want Ladybug to know what grace is firsthand so that she won't have to be in her mid-thirties before the concept really starts to click.

So, when she is seriously trying my patience I need to think (and pray) before I dole out punishment and consider whether or not she instead needs grace.  It's not always easy to give grace either.  There are times when sending her to her room for time-out seems just easier.  No one ever said being Mama was easy though.  How fortunate for me that I have a savior who bestows grace upon me and teaches me so much more about my relationship with Him through mine with my daughter!  Ladybug may not deserve to be hugged rather than punished at times, but then neither do I.  What a blessing parenthood is in that we can grow and learn just as much or more than our children if we are open to God's prodding!
 "Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.  And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus  so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus.  I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.  It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing."  Ephesians 2:5-10 New Century Version (NCV)

Mama, Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First of all, I want to thank you for all the prayers last week that we not have an ice storm and lose power.  We had mostly sleet, rather than freezing rain Sunday and never went without electricity.  So rather than huddling by the fire together with blankets, Ladybug and I introduced Bart to Frozen.  Even though it's a musical, he didn't hate it.  We have quickly grown to love the songs from the movie, especially "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?" and "Let It Go."  Ladybug can belt those two out like crazy. (And by crazy, I mean that sometimes she might sound a bit maniacal, but I love her)  Also, we like the movie, because it's not your run-of-the-mill princess movie.  We're fine with her enjoying it as long as being a princess doesn't become an obsession.  Right now, Ladybug is obsessed with Olaf.

Anyway, this new fascination with Frozen has brought with it a deepening of Ladybug's already growing interest in snow and snowmen.  Sunday when the sleet was falling hard, and the temperature falling harder, she begged to play outside in the snow.  Yesterday while it was still far too cold, she begged to play in the snow.  Today the sun came out, the temperature came up, and she really started begging to play outside in the snow.

At first I didn't want to.  I was afraid it would either be too cold or too muddy.  We needed to eat lunch.  She needed to take her nap.  I needed to do housework while and after she napped.  I had managed to get quite a bit accomplished earlier in the day, and I really wanted to just knock most of my weekly housework out of the way today.  Then she asked again to go play in the snow.  In.the.snow.  It was 41° today, and the snow was seriously beginning to melt.  It's March.  Hopefully (please, Please, PLEASE) this will be the last winter storm of the season.  I might be free the rest of the week to hang with Ladybug, but the snow would be gone.

We've played in the snow a lot this past winter and last, but we have never built a snowman with Ladybug.  The snow dripping off my roof was like a clock ticking, reminding me of why I'm home with Ladybug.  Yes, I'm supposed to do the housework, and my house if not overly dirty.  That said, my main purpose at home is to bring up Ladybug and be her Mama.

Housework will always be here.  As soon as something is finished, something else is waiting to be cleaned again.  Ladybug will only be two for eleven more months.  It might not snow at all next year. She might not always love the snow and snowmen as she does now.  I may not appreciate every moment of this stage of life, but I cherish as many as possible.  So today after nap time, I built a snowman with my daughter.
Actually we built a Snow Doc, but we did it together and had fun doing it, singing songs from Frozen.  I thought about building it while she slept, but I realized that she wanted to build a snowman.  She wanted that experience.  It may have been easier to do it alone, but wouldn't have been the same as doing it together.  I would do it again, because Ladybug's time with me as she is now is as fleeting as the snowman.  Soon enough I'll have all the time to clean house while Ladybug is out with her friends.  Right now she is mine, and I'll gladly drop everything to build a snowman with her.

Great Things

Sunday, January 26, 2014


I started off this year spending my quiet time reading from 1 Kings.  I know that's a little odd, because most people start in either Genesis or Matthew with their reading plans.  I have felt very led to spend more time in the Old Testament this year, and to start in areas I haven't spent nearly as much time reading.  Anyway, I have made it to 2 Kings and recently read the story of Naaman going to Elisha to be healed of leprosy in Chapter 5.

Basically to paraphrase, the commander of the Syrian army had leprosy, and with his king's permission he went into Israel to seek Elisha and be healed.  Elisha sent a messenger and told him in order to be healed, he had to dip into the the muddy Jordan River seven times.  Apparently Naaman, the commander, liked neither the method Elisha used to speak to him nor the solution he gave.  He thought he was great enough that Elisha should have gone out, spoken to him in person, waved his hands, and healed him.  He especially didn't want to bathe in the Jordan once, much less seven times! I imagine it would be the equivalent of one of us bathing in the Buriganga River (yes, I Googled "dirty rivers"). This was far beneath a man of Naaman's consequence.  Yet his servants pointed out the obvious to him.  "My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?" -  2 Kings 5: 13 NKJV  

In other words, if Elisha had told him to build great cities, wage war, or burn thousands of sacrifices, Naaman would gladly have done it.  He told him to just bathe in a dirty river seven times.  That's not exactly something you can proclaim at the city gates (or write about in a blog post).  It was something that required this man who was great in the eyes of the world to check his pride at the river bank and do something that could be humiliating.  He did humble himself do it though, and he was healed and proclaimed the greatness of God.

We all want to do great things.  A small part of each of us wants to be known.  We want to be successful, and a part of us wants for others to envy us or at least admire us just a little.  We are taught that we aren't successful if we don't do extremely huge, popular things that bring truckloads of accolades.  We want to be called by God to write the next bestseller devotional book or design something that will help many people.  We then feel like failures when that doesn't happen in our lives, even if we're doing what God has called us to do.  We let pride cloud our judgement and forget that we are called to be humble.

As a stay-at-home-mom, it is so very easy to feel like a failure and sometimes want more.  Now especially with a toddler, any given day can be my own Waterloo, and I am not Wellington.  Right now, most days it's a battle royale just to dress Ladybug, because she wants to stay in her pjs.  I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything, especially something great.

Then I hear her say, "Momma, I love you."  She wraps her arms around me, and gives me sweet, smacky kisses.  I realize that to her I am doing the greatest thing I can do, and I am doing great things.  I'm not successful in a business or worldy sense, but I am raising the most amazing young lady I have ever met.  I know without a doubt God called me to do this.  I may never gain fame or have my name proclaimed as great and awesome.  I may never have hundreds of followers, but I have this little person who watches every breath I take, every move I make, and every step I take.  Seriously, it's like she has taken advice from Sting.  I am doing great things in her, even when I'm reading a book while she sits on her potty chair.  The greatest things we do are often those little, seemingly insignificant ones God calls us to do every day that require humility rather than pride.  None of us is too great to do anything if it is what God has called us to do.  

Do you ever feel as if what you're doing is insignificant?  Do you ever let pride cloud your judgment?   Have you ever allowed it to prevent you from something your felt led to do?  I know that I do, have, and probably will again, but I'm slowly learning the importance of being humble.

Home

Monday, January 20, 2014

When I was a little girl, there was probably no place I loved to be more than home.  I remember feeling safe there and warm.  You know, that kind of warmth that's like a blanket that wraps around you on a cold day.  It was an older home with a porch that wrapped around two sides.  I loved that porch and spent many hours playing on it.  It didn't matter that it had only one bathroom, and that everyone's preferred route was through my bedroom rather than my older sister's.  It didn't matter that the central air went out at some point, and we used a huge window unit.  It was where my bed was, where my Cabbage Patch Kids and other toys were, and where I could just be me (for the most part).  It was where I was the most comfortable, most confidant, and had the least concerns.  It was paradise to me.  No other place could be as comfortable, as safe, or as perfect for me.  That security of home lasted until I was ten, and my Dad passed away.

Since then I have felt home-ish at times, but that security and warmth I knew my first ten years is lost.  That home I loved so dearly and felt so warm and secure in quickly became a cold, empty shell where I no longer felt very safe at all.  Though I have had many perfectly wonderful homes, that original perfect home for me is no more and will never be again here.  I love my home we have now, and I feel as safe and warm as any adult who knows the harshness of this world can be.  I can decorate it to my heart's content.  I can rearrange the furniture and even buy new furniture, but I will never completely reclaim that initial  absolute comfort and contentment.

That is how life is supposed to be though.  There is only one home for me, and it's not on this earth.  The home I had those first innocent years of my life was my earthly archetype of Heaven for me.  If that home filled with flawed parents and children was a paradise that I still dream of to this day, how much more awesomely wonderful will Heaven be?  To be in God's presence.  To never know pain or suffering again.  To be warmer and freer of troubles than I was even as a little child?  It's beyond my imagination!  I love and am thankful for the home I have now, but Heaven is the home I long for.  It is the only permanent home that neither wind nor rain, illness nor death can take away.

Today I have a little girl who loves home.  Every time she asks to go home when we've been away, and she proclaims uninhibited joy just at being home, I think on the home I knew when I was her age, and the home I shall go to some day.  I am thankful and pleased that this is her safe place.  This house, the home that Bart and I have created, this is where she feels completely safe, completely comfortable, and completely provided for.  It is her stability.  We have thankfully been able to give her a stable, safe, warm home where all of her needs are met.  That is our job.  I believe that is one of the most important jobs of every parent.  Every child should know the unequivocal joy, comfort, and stability of home.  How are we to convey to our children the wonders of Heaven if we do not give them the closest example on earth?  Just a thought on a Monday.  What are your thoughts?

 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
 - John 14:1-4 ESV

How Having Dogs Prepared Me For Motherhood

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I remember the day I became a mom.  It was a sunny day, but there was a bit of snow on the ground after an early-morning dusting.  I was all nervousness and excitement.  I had wanted this of what seemed like all of my life,  but was I ready for it?  Were we ready for it?  After all, we had never before been solely responsible for keeping another living being alive.  Then they handed her to me, with her red hair and sweet blue eyes, I just knew.  I was meant to be her mom, and she was my girl.  She must have been nervous about the sudden change in her surroundings, because BOY DID SHE HAVE GAS!  Those teeth, they were like tiny little razor blades!  When she wagged her little tail, my heart melted, and our lives have never been the same.  Lucy Snowflake Gilbreath was here to stay.

Teeth?  Tail?  What, were you expecting the heart-warming story of the morning Ladybug was born?  I could tell you about that, but that really wasn't the day I became a mom.  By the time Ladybug was born I had already been a mom to Lucy for just over four years, to Dory for a little longer than two years, and it had been two years since I had said goodbye to our first baby lost to miscarriage.  I have mentioned before how that short first pregnancy changed me and started preparing me to be Ladybug's mom, but today I want to share with you a few ways in which having dogs, or as I sometimes have called them "practice children," helped prepare me to be Ladybug's mom.

It's a lifetime commitment
First of all, getting a new puppy (or adopting a grown dog) is very much like bringing home a newborn.  It's a lifetime commitment.  When you bring home a dog, you're committing yourself to love and care for this dog for the rest of its life.  It's not something you should do just because puppies are cute, just as you shouldn't have a baby just because everyone else is doing it.  You should make sure you're ready to commit to the time, and for the money it takes.  Babies and dogs are both expensive.  A life is in your hands and depends on you for its every need to be met.  You have to feed her.  You have to get her medical care and vaccinations.  You are the responsible party.

Say, "Aloha!" to sleep for a while.
You're bringing her to an all-new environment.  It's going to take time for you to adjust to each other and the changes in your lives.  Be prepared for sleepless nights and don't start something if you're not willing to let it become the new norm.  Dory cried all night in her crate her first night home with us.  She was scared and alone, suffering from horrible separation anxiety after having been dumped on the side of the road then tossed from shelter to foster home to us.  Bart ended up putting her at the foot of our bed.  Almost four years later, she still sleeps there.  Nothing's moving that dog at night.  Most nights Ladybug sleeps through the night, but Lucy will wake me if she or Dory needs to potty.  I rarely get to sleep a whole night through.

You will never pee alone again.
I used to call Lucy my "poop coach," because she had a habit of staring me down while I was using the restroom.  Both dogs like to hang out while we shower or use the bathroom.  Lucy usually takes a nap at my feet.  Once the smoke detector started beeping because we needed to change the batteries.  She freaked out and jumped on my lap while I was trying to do my business.  So, the little fingers underneath the bathroom door and the soft knocks on it are old hat to me.  A little voice calling, "Momma!" is easy compared to eighty pounds of golden retriever in your lap when all you want is a couple minutes to yourself.

Nothing ever stays clean.
I vacuum our floors pretty much every other day on a good week.  Just as soon as I put the vacuum back in the kitchen pantry, Dory is usually rolling around on her back on the carpet getting that fine, super-soft, long hair on everything, and Ladybug has a bowl of goldfish and has managed to drop, step on, and crush a few.  Just mopped the floors?  Muddy feet will inevitably run across the tile, and sippy cups filled with juices that become sticky upon contact will manage to leak even though they're not supposed to.  I don't even want to talk about the windows.  Often I find all three girls with their noses pressed to the panes, staring at something or even nothing at all.  Bart recently mentioned that we should just accept that for the time being, nothing will ever remain perfectly clean for very long.  He's right too, and I'm ok with that.  We definitely have a house that is lived in.

They have to be played with - A LOT
You can't get a dog and not exercise her body and mind.  Dogs need to expend their energy, or they will act out.  When Lucy was young and an only dog, we couldn't keep up with her at times.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, I would hear her upstairs, looking for something to get in to, and running up and down the stairs with whatever she found to "play" with.  To this day, she has sudden, crazy spurts of zooms (energy).  When we don't pay attention to her and play with her, she will act out.  Ladybug also acts out when she doesn't get a chance to run and play.  Her acting out usually comes out as a tantrum rather than eating Bart's beloved vinyl copy of Garth Brooks' first record.  

Your words carry a lot of weight, as does your tone of voice.
Lucy and Dory are both very sensitive dogs who want to please us.  Dory is especially this way.  When irritated with them, or just exasperated with their behavior, I've learned that I can unintentionally hurt them not just by what I tell them, but how I tell them anything.  Dory will absolutely freak out if you start speaking to her in an accusatory tone.  I'm realizing that I can get them and Ladybug to mind without having to resort to harsh, hateful tones.  Sometimes they come out anyway, but I try to watch how I say the things I want Ladybug to pay attention to.  I can have authority without sounding harsh.


Change is good, and your heart will grow.
Bart and I were pretty happy just the two of us when we got Lucy.  Bart especially was worried about changing our family dynamic.  He hates change of any sort.  Once we had Lucy we couldn't imagine life without her.  Then, when I decided that Lucy and I both needed Dory, I had to talk Bart into that as well.  Once again, we had a good thing, and he wasn't sure we could love Dory as much as we do Lucy.  Of course we do love her, it's a little different than how we love Lucy, but we love her just as much.  The same fears surfaced before we had Ladybug, and are again as we discuss hopefully having one more baby some time.  The thing is, yes our family changes every time we add another member.  However each time it happens our hearts grow, and we grow with them.

Yes, sometimes my house is crazy.  At any given moment the doorbell could ring, sending everyone into a frenzy.  My living room floor is sometimes used as a WWE mat.  I pick up up toddler and dog toys multiple times a day.  Sometimes it would just be easier if we didn't have dogs, but I wouldn't trade them or what their being members of our family has meant to us.  They really have helped me to be a better mom to Ladybug.  They are blessings in my life, and I am thankful for them.





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