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Practicing for the Future

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When we were in middle school, a friend of my mom's asked me and my sister to rake leaves for her. She told us she'd pay us $10 each, if I remember correctly. For a girl who made $4 an hour babysitting those days, this seemed like a deal. Never mind the fact that we'd never really raked anything before other than a pile for jumping...

So we started raking. And raking. After an hour, we realized we really stunk at it. Seriously. We raked until sundown, and went home with swollen, red, calloused hands, knowing the next day we still had many, many hours of raking left. Either the job was worth more than $20 or we were just painstakingly bad and slow. (Looking back, I'd say it was us.)

The next day my parents drove us over to the woman's house to finish, when lo and behold we saw that the raking was done! Hallelujah! "Who did this?" we screamed in delight. Mom winked at dad and said, "Your dad came over this morning and finished in about 30 minutes." …

Missing: Baby Jesus

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My sweet seven-year-old, Shelby, is the official decorator in our house. [She's actually the only decorator. She loves all things beautiful and fancy and season-attentive. I appreciate it but don't put in the time. My husband and son may not even notice if we put a tree in the middle of the tub.]

And though she set up her own pink Christmas tree in September (not kidding), I told her she needed to wait until the week of Thanksgiving to set up the nativity. She gathered everything from her closet (yes, that's where it's stored; I told you she was our decorator) and started setting it up in our living room. 

After some minutes, she solemnly came up to me and softly confided, "Mom, I can't find baby Jesus. And you know we can't have a nativity without Him."

I loved her sweet heart and her childlike understanding of the manger scene. And as I sent her to her room to look a little more, I pondered the depth of her statement: Can I tell you right now where Jes…

"You have no idea" (Parenting Version)

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I love my kids. They make me laugh, they teach me, they inspire me, and they give me hope not only for the world but for my family. My left-brain son analyzes everything, tries to be efficient in all he does, and at this moment has a room disgustingly littered with pieces of robots and light sabers. My right-brained daughter does all she can to add beauty and color to everything; I'm constantly finding art projects and journal entries scattered everywhere. 

Just like I did in my last post, I'm trying to make it very clear that I love my kids and love being a mom because what I'm about to write might sound like the opposite.

I really do love being a mom...today. This moment. But that's not always the case; it hasn't always been the case. I struggled with motherhood for years and, though I loved my children, I didn't love all that came with being a mom. And, quite honestly, I struggled to find women who were honest with me about their own struggles. Maybe I can do …

"You Have No Idea" (Marriage Version)

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I love weddings. I love dressing up and seeing all the beauty. I love young love, I love the vows, and I love the reunion feel. I love burly men crying as they watch their baby girls come down the aisle. I love the determination on the faces of the young couple, full of hope and joy and celebration. 

And I want say to the bride and groom, in all the love and honesty I can muster: You have no idea what this will require of you. But I refrain; I don't want to be that crazy woman who spouts gloom and doom at the ceremony. 

I've been married eighteen and a half years; my parents have been married for well over forty. I belong to an extended family in which my grandparents, their four kids, and the eight kids belonging to them have never been divorced; what an anomaly and a blessing. I believe in marriage, I believe it is good and right and proper.

But I have seen too many young couples walk into marriage with no idea of what's coming. I don't know where we get the notion that…

Needing a New Want

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When I wrote a recent post about the value of our wants, I did not anticipate that it was a two-part article. In fact, I went on with my life, even writing another post on an entirely different topic.

However, God was not done with me. Or the issue of wants. 

The lingering feeling that I'd left something out of my post on wants left me pondering it. I kept checking my scriptures, praying over truth, and re-reading it; I felt at peace. Still, I felt the nagging sensation that I had missed something, and I even found this very topic in what I was reading and studying. I just wasn't sure what I lacked.

And then on Sunday morning God showed me.

I got to church, SO EXCITED for what that morning would be: DNOW wrap-up. The teenagers at my church had been at DNOW all weekend, and Sunday morning was always their time for reflection and testimony. I love this specific Sunday morning every year. Because of my work schedule, I can't be a part of DNOW, so Sunday morning is kinda my time t…

Try the Opposite

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A few years ago, my daughter Shelby was having a hard day. She cried about things that normally didn't faze her. She argued constantly with her brother. She couldn't find one happy point in the whole day. 

As we brushed her teeth that evening, I was at my wit's end. She would not do anything that normally happened during brushing teeth: holding her mouth open, standing still, looking at me. She was obstinate, disobedient, and the look in her eye said, "I will no do anything you say."

I considered my options: I could send her to bed early. I could talk to her about the importance of obedience. I could swat her rear. All these were things I wanted to do and, felt pretty confident, should do.

Instead, though, I did the opposite of every single impulse running through my head: I put down her toothbrush and hugged her as tightly as I could, right there in the bathroom floor. For about 5 seconds she seemed confused; then I felt her go limp. She cried tears of frustration …

Shout-out to the Wants

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You started learning about "needs" and "wants" in kindergarten. Like the worksheet pictured, you get a list of things you "need" and a list of things you "want," and it's usually pretty easy to tell which goes in which category. 

[Pause right here: This is not a blog to those who do not have their needs met. I look at the word "blanket" in this picture and think about people all over the world who do not have a bed. I see "shelter" and think about the homeless, the abandoned, the unwanted. I see "food" and know that even in my own town there are children who do not get enough calories or nutrients for their brains to function as they should. I am not talking to people in need; I'm talking to those of us who function primarily in what the world considers to be luxury. Unpause.]

As a mom, I'm used to hearing my kids say, "I need you to cut this out for me...I need you circle which math problems to do...…