Monthly Archives: October 2013

Birthday Letter


October 21, 2013

Dear Cameron,

Happy 6th Birthday!

So much is on my heart.  You fill it up, you know– my heart.  You, of all my children, baffle and intrigue me the most!  I can’t call you my favorite, because I truly don’t have favorite children, but there is something about you that grabs me.  You are special.

You will make a mark on this world.

It terrifies me, because I think, “But what if it’s a black, murky mark?”  You are so strong and determined, sometimes I have absolutely no idea what to do with you.  Except love you.  So I love you fully and completely, and with the wild and peaceful thought that it’s all out of my control.  Only God can win you completely over to His side, and implant in you a burning passion to match your strong will to His even stronger one.  I can’t do that.

I can pray, and I can guide, and I can keep soaking up your kisses.  Those kisses you plant on people with no thought as to whether or not they’re wanted.  Son, keep giving that love.  Follow that voice inside you that tells you to love people.

Follow that path God is showing you even now, that path that may look twisted and rough to me and Dad.  It’s your path.  For you, I don’t worry that someone will talk you into stepping off your own path to follow theirs.  You are a born leader.  Talk the whole entire world into following God’s path with you!

You will make a mark on this world.

It thrills me, because I know that as of right now, you desire to make a mark for Jesus.  (“Please, Lord God, grow that desire in my son until it’s an all-consuming drive.”) I was with you when you prayed and asked God to be Lord and Savior in your life.  This is one of my special bonds with you alone.  Daddy prayed that prayer with Kirstyn, and Auntie Anna was with Cory when he prayed, so you are my crowning moment.   Following Jesus is THE most important decision you will ever make, and I got to be with you when you made that decision!  I have no greater joy, truly.  Keep following Jesus.  Keep yielding to Him!

Yielding is hard for you.  I know.  I don’t ever want to break your will, sweet child.  Your strong will is your greatest asset as it is your greatest downfall.  I will try my hardest to help you use it in wise, appropriate, kind, respectful, amazing ways.

I watched today as you helped your cousin up after knocking her down.  It’s a step, Cameron.  I see it.  I see every single step you take down that path of growth, son, and I am cheering wildly for you!  It melted my heart when you assured Megan recently of your protection.  She was talking about how some people might be mean to her, and you said, “Oh Megan!  Just tell me if someone is mean to you.  I can go punch them in the face.”

So.  We have to work on execution, but I saw your heart full of kindness.  Keep it full of that love, Cam, and you’ll find your path a fulfilling one.  God’s Kingdom is all about loving unconditionally.  Even when it’s hard.  When it hurts.  When people aren’t loving you back.  I’m sure you will have many days when people don’t understand you, but you keep on loving those people, and you keep on walking your path.  I am so proud of you.

I love you, Cameron James!

I smile now, when I think of how fitting your name is!  The literal meaning of “Cameron” is “crooked nose.”  Man of Distinction.  “James” means “supplanter.”  Mover of Men.  Yes, my wonderful boy, you will make a mark on this world!

Thank you for letting me be a part of your world, and for being a part of mine.  I love that you choose to hang out with me in my flowers and trees.  You’re my pruning buddy!  I’m really hoping you keep it up, because there’s no way on earth I’ll be able to prune all my maple trees and rose bushes when I’m 70 years old.  You’ll come help me, right?  You won’t have to drive far, since you plan on building out back.  Remember that conversation?  You told me you’d like to live with me and Daddy forever, and I told you your wife might want her own house.  I convinced you that no, you couldn’t just take over somebody else’s house either, so you finally settled on building a house on the back property.  If you could get enough sleep at the same time.

You are so delightful.  When I take the time to stop and listen to your observations and ideas, you amaze me.  You wow me every time!  Your thought process is so different from the average kid, and that is something to treasure and encourage, not tear down.  Please forgive me if I ever tell you to be normal.  That translates into “average kid,” and I want you to be your own unique self!

Love always,


On burning up


My Megan girl has this candle.  It’s a small, white, ceramic thing, filled with wax and wick.   Wildflowers are etched into the side, and one ceramic violet decorates the lid.  I don’t remember where it came from!  Maybe a gift from Grandma?

Megan carries this candle around the house with her, from room to room.  It watches movies with her and has snugglebuggers in her fluffy blue blanket.   It’s her own candle, and she loves it!  So when she asked me to light it while she painted a picture, I wanted to make sure she understood what would happen.  I tried to talk her out of it.

“If I light your candle, it will burn up.  You understand that, right?  Your candle will be all gone.”

“I know,” she said, all smiles.  “I want to burn it!”

And so she sat at the table and painted with watercolors, her candle burning bright beside her.

I knew there was a lesson.  Kids are great teachers!  But it didn’t hit me until I was vacuuming my bathroom.  (I usually just clean when I’m mad at my husband, or my family’s coming to town.  My house is dirty right now, as you know, so I guess we’re on a pretty good marriage stretch!)

“Why be afraid to burn up?  Why be afraid to live, just so I stay the same?  Why do I want to stay the same?  Isn’t the Christian life in particular about giving, and giving, a giving?  Pouring ourselves out?  Burning up with passion for others?  Dying so that we might have new life?  And living with such abandon that others might be drawn to the Flame?  To Jesus?”

Yes.  That was it — the thought niggling at the back of my brain.  Thank you, sweet daughter, for living your life with all the reckless abandon of a 4 year old.  Your mama needed that!

Be burning-up lives with me this week, yes?  I know my kids will appreciate my warmth.

The post after my meltdown one


You guys.  You’re just so sweet!  All the Facebook love, the phone calls, the offers of dinner, a pedicure, and just hanging out time for me and my kids.  You know who you are!   It meant the world to me.

Ruby Peterson, you are my hero.  One day, I promise, I will repay all the kindness you’ve showered upon me.  I’ll find some young mom still in the trenches of motherhood, and I’ll sit and chat with them at the Christmas party, and really listen, as the rest of the world swirls around.  I’ll bring a meal over for no reason other than to be a huge blessing.  Thank you.

So.  The rest of my week was not uneventful.  I just had courage, thanks to you all!

There was the bedtime routine where nobody was in bed yet, and the baby was cranky so we couldn’t put her down to sweep up the broken, special dolphin that shattered glass everywhere and made Megan’s foot gush blood and both girls were wailing at each other…  And meanwhile, downstairs, Zach was putting the baby monitor and toothbrushes and apples in the potty.

Yeah.  There was that.

The chili is still on my curtains.  Removing it is just not high on my priority list!  Oh.  And?  My fridge that was brand new 6 months ago?  I realized recently that I haven’t cleaned it yet.  Not once.  It’s pretty scary in there!

But then…

Then there was the day I just hung out with my friend Michele and her kids, and I wondered why my husband didn’t seem interested in coming over to hang out with us when he got off work early.  Well!  It was because he wanted to get home and make a meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn for me.  So I didn’t have to worry about supper!  Oh. My. Word.  Serious heart melting right there, folks!

My baby wore an outfit yesterday that said, “Who needs a superhero when I have my dad?”  Isn’t that just the sweetest cheesy rhetorical question EVER?

(My husband teases me about Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Depp, but he knows that he’s my real favorite!)

I was forced into time-out/prolonged nap time for a couple of days by a breast infection.  Nasty, those infections!  Derek came home from work early on Wednesday to take care of me (see why he’s my favorite?), and my mother-in-law took care of the kids when he wasn’t home.  My poor oldest daughter thought I was dying.  Like, with breast cancer.  No, no, I tried to explain about the baby not drinking enough, and it’s like the milk gets rotten and gives me an infection, and so Mercy just needs to nurse more.  Cory says, “But she can’t drink rotten milk!”  OK, I give up.

I’ve been sitting in leaf piles this week.  And dancing.  And putting puzzles together.  And sharing my coffee time with children instead of shooing them away.

Because my children, those “animals that we don’t eat” (from The Croods… awesome movie!), they’re such unique creatures.  They make you want to tear your hair out and they tear your heart up at the same time.  I know I don’t need to explain this to you!  I love them.

I’ve been eating chocolate too.  Everyone knows that chocolate is good for the soul!

Have a good weekend, ya’ll!  May you also be blessed with chocolate, and yummy children too.