Tuesday, September 11, 2018

On Moving Kids to College

This is for everyone who's asked if it gets easier...moving kids to college.

This was Logan's first year, 2010.

Jim had a conflict on the scheduled Freshman move-in day, so we got permission to move Logan's stuff in early (so Jim could help us with the heavy stuff), and then Logan came back home for a couple of days.

This picture was taken the actual morning he was leaving, driving to his college...to stay.

I think my face says it all.

Although Logan was so happy, I felt like my heart was ripping wide open.

I guess that's kind of part of parenting...where you give your whole heart, and pray like there's no tomorrow; where you train them up the best way you know how, leaning on God, and looking to Him for wisdom and guidance...and for strength each day.

And then you let them go.

Over and over again.

That part, for me, never really got that much easier.

After all, when this picture was taken, Holly was starting her senior year of college, so I'd already been through this drill 4 times!

All you Mommas (and daddies) out there...my heart is so tender for you this week.

"So the Lord answers, “Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you." Isaiah 49:15

Monday, September 10, 2018

Our Kids and The Tackle Boxes

When our kids were little, my mother-in-law got them tackle boxes, similar to this one, to hold their favorite toys. She thought they were the greatest gifts ever, and they really were! 

These “toy boxes” went EVERYWHERE with us...to visit the grandparents, to the beach, to fancy (and not fancy) hotels. They held all the favorites...like army men and Star Wars toys. 

I remember one year...we all tagged along on one of Jim’s business trips, and we got to stay in NICE hotel. The lobby was beautifully decorated with flowers and plants, and there was a huuuuge tower of fancy glasses on a table. All I could think of was, “please, Lord, don’t let my kids knock that over!” 

Jim was up at the counter, checking in, and trying to act like he didn’t even know the hooligans behind him. I was trying to corral 4 kids, who had been cooped up for hours in the car. They were crashing around the lobby, each carrying those plastic toy boxes...dropping them on the marble floors every time they stopped running. 

Quite a different scene from the professional men and women, with the matching luggage, and the leather briefcases...who were milling around the lobby; men and women wearing dark suits and dress shoes, sipping fancy drinks on their way up to their rooms. 

Because then there were: THE GARLANDS. 

Jim kind of groaned when he turned around and saw all of us. He couldn’t get us to the elevator fast enough. Our luggage cart was stacked with mismatched bags and totes. We also had a box that said “blow-up bed” on the side...because even tho we got a room for 4, we were a family of SIX. I remember we had one of those inflatable duck things kids use to float in the pool...hanging off one side of the luggage cart. 

One of us was not amused at the situation, but the other one of us laughed til she cried...because this picture was everything that Jim was trying hard NOT to be in front of his colleagues. The big kids were carrying their plastic toy boxes, and crashing into everything. They were fighting over who got to push the elevator button...and I’m pretty sure we left a trail of goldfish all the way to our room. 

The staff asked us if we wanted a complimentary drink. I was thinking, “you have GOT to be kidding!” Who looks at a scene like that, and thinks, “we should really offer these parents alcohol?” I mean, if they really wanted to make our visit pleasant, they would’ve offered to watch the kids. 

Because what we really wanted...was a NAP.

"Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me." Psalm 116:7

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Insight of Joshua: Jesus is the Scarlet Thread

“He won’t ever...He will never...He can’t.” 

These words have been said to me about this one...many, many times. 

Well, you know what? 

I’ll iron his clothes, if he’s afraid he’ll burn himself. I’ll cut up a piece of meat for him, if there’s ever a situation when he can’t. I’ll figure out how much change he should get back, or how much to leave for a tip. 

I will do my best to make sure he always feels comfortable, safe, and welcome in our home. 

And I will drive him anywhere he needs to go, every day for the rest of my life, for as long as I am able. 

Because this insight right here? I’ll take it. Every.single.day: “[God] used a Passover lamb to represent His future promise of deliverance.”

"In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and [b]the Word was God Himself." John 1:1 (Amplified Version)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Kroger, The Young Me, and The Missed Opportunity

I missed an opportunity today.

I was in Kroger, and another lady and I were trying to turn our buggies down the same aisle at the same time. I motioned for her to go first, and she said, "no, really..." and she took a deep breath, "I don't even know."

And right then, I saw the young me.

The young me at the grocery, with 4 kids, and a mile-long list.

The kids would be talking non-stop, and I could not even hear myself think. I would look at my kids...and at my list...and say under my breath, "I don't even know..."

Like, I don't usually have trouble striking up a conversation with somebody at the grocery.

Oh, it's definitely not my nature. But about 20 years ago, this month, I was stopped in my tracks by the reality of how short life is...so I am continually in the process of training myself to speak up.

I looked at this lady as she passed by: a child walking by her side, one sitting in the buggy, and an infant in an infant car seat.

And then she was gone...and I missed it.

I missed telling her that I understand, that she had a beautiful family, that it wouldn't always be so hard.

I missed asking if she needed any help.

I also missed RESISTING THE URGE to tell her that the years are short, but the days are long...or telling her that, one day, she'll look back on these days and smile.

Me missing making comments like that was probably a blessing, because no Mom wants to hear some old lady telling her things like that, when she's in the middle of the grocery store with a bunch of kids, AMIRIGHT?

We have opportunities to show kindness every day...if we will just open our eyes to see what's going on around us, and if we'll just take the time to do it.

"So let’s not get tireof doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." Galatians 6:9

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Scary Friday Night: Salt Bowl 2018

We moved to Bryant, Arkansas in 2007...Jim was transferred with his job. Because Logan was starting high school, and we knew this would likely be a harder transition for him than for Clark, Jim told Logan he could choose which school he wanted to attend: Benton, Bryant, Bauxite, Central...even Arkansas Baptist (now Baptist Prep). 

Logan chose Bryant...I think because of their football program, but I could be wrong. 

We had never heard of the Salt Bowl, but we were so excited to see what it was all about. All we knew was that it was a rival game, and that the game...and the events leading up to it...was about bringing the community together. 

Not all the football boys got to go with the team on the bus, and very few sophomores got to go. Logan was a sophomore, AND a new kid...he certainly didn’t expect that he would go...but somehow he made the list! 

During Salt Bowl week, Coach took the boys to War Memorial Stadium for a “walk-through.” 

Logan says he can remember walking through the tunnel and onto the field. He told me how he looked up in the stands, and tried to imagine what it would be like on game night, when it was filled with people cheering. 

In Searcy (where we used to live), football was big...but in Bryant, it was even bigger. Logan couldn’t believe he was going to be playing under the lights on that field! 

In the week leading up to the game, there were pep rallies and team dinners and media opportunities...all gearing up for this one big game. 

And everyone in town was going. I mean, of course they were. Little kids, big kids, grandparents, business leaders, church groups...it was so fun, y’all. My friends, Stacy and Tori, came that first year...and it was so great to have familiar faces sitting beside me. 

Fast forward 11 years to last night. Jim, Joshua, and I talked about going to the game, and bringing Rhodie...but since it was so hot, we ended up keeping him at home. 

Hearing the reports of the events of last night make me angry, frustrated, and sick to my stomach...because even if the reports of gunfire weren’t real (and I had friends there who said it was, and others who said it wasn’t)...the FEAR was real. 

And watching families jump up from their seats, and run...was real. 

And seeing mommas turn around and scan seas of panicked faces, looking for their children...that was real. 

What really got me was watching those football boys, and the cheerleaders, sprinting off the field to the exits...because I remembered my own football boy and his cheerleader, and the years they participated in the Salt Bowl. I know they would’ve been the ones running TO each other...they always and forever run to each other...because nothing on earth would make him leave without her. 

For the ones saying the panic was unjustified...you do you, and stay calm and help. 

Everyone else was just doing the best they could in a scary and uncertain situation...and sometimes that is not well thought out and rational. 

We might all be a little jumpy...with good reason. 

This is the world we live in now, where every “safe” place...churches, shopping malls, marathons, ball fields, concerts...is a potential battleground. 

Yall, I’m so frustrated. 

WHY CAN’T WE DO FUN THINGS ANYMORE? 

Ugh. 

I’m so very thankful for both teams of athletic trainers that were providing aid. I’m thankful to the police, and other first responders, who were there helping. I’m thankful for the parents and friends who gathered children who weren’t their own, and calmed them down, and kept them safe, and contacted their parents. 

I hope and pray that the ones responsible for causing this ruckus are punished, because they ruined this night for everyone. 

It takes so much time, money, and energy to put this thing on, and I’m sad for everyone who worked so hard to prepare for and invest in this event. To have it end like that is disappointing and discouraging. 

But Bryant and Benton are both great communities. I’m certain they will come together to make changes and implement strategies to ensure that next year’s Salt Bowl is even better!

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment." 2 Timothy 1:7