Where is Your Sign?


Photo: Danny Merz

Driving home from soccer practice this week, I noticed a rickety old sign hanging outside an equally dilapidated church. The place looked like it was in bad shape, but the message on their sign was quite the opposite.

It read “Don’t pray for a lighter burden. Pray for a stronger back.”

Yes!  A great message I may have missed if had overlooked that little ramshackle church.  Look around and find your signs. They are everywhere.

I Feel Like An Amateur

Do you ever have one of those days, maybe your kids are playing at the park, giddily swinging, legs reaching for the clouds, singing a made-up song, while you watch from the bench? And on this day you look at your sweet little brood and wonder how the heck you got there? I mean, logistically you know, but really who decided you were grown up enough to be in charge of a gang of dependent little people?

I have these days every once in a while, as if I’m watching my own life in a dream. It’s a little hazy around the edges, feels a bit surreal, vibrant colors, it feels perfect and I wonder how I came to be a mother.

I have trouble waking up early, I’m impatient, I like quiet and solitude and time by myself. I can’t sew or fold a fitted sheet or make a homemade Halloween costume. I hate hearing babies cry, I loathe clunky, noisy, brightly hued plastic toys and playing Candy Land. Those qualities don’t make a perfect mother.

But on these dreamy days, every once in a while, I throw all my cares out the window. I take my sweet little clan to the park and watch them swing their legs up to the clouds, trying with all their might to touch the sky. And I look up too, the blue so big and bright, full of hope and possibilities. And I’m thankful. Thankful for being loved so perfectly, despite my imperfections.

Birthdays Are Big Around Here


We are celebrating a birthday!  I love birthdays, for the kids especially, but the one tough thing about birthdays is the emotional aspect. The kids are growing up, changing, getting older. I, too, am growing up, changing and definitely getting older. As the birthday girl’s face glowed in the light from her candles, I watched in wonder at this child, who just a few years ago could be held balanced on my forearm, nursed while I made dinner, slept in a mechanical swing that rocked her into sleepy oblivion.

As happy as I was for her, eyes sparkling, ready to delve into her stack of gifts and sprinkled birthday cake, I was mourning. Mourning who she was just yesterday, mourning the loss of the child she was, the one who couldn’t yet read or tie her shoes or stand to be away from Mommy ever.  I mourned for myself as well. I’m not going to be around for every birthday she will celebrate. Someday her father and I will be absent from the table as she looks wide-eyed in excitement at her cake and gifts. Will she be surrounded by people who love and care for her as deeply as I do now? If I could only know for sure the answer to that question would be yes.

But I keep my chin up, comfort myself with the fact that I’m here NOW. She will never be this girl again, tomorrow she will be a different girl from today, next week she will be growing and stretching her mind in new ways and I will struggle to keep up. In the pain of letting her go I am forced to confront my own mortality, but let go I must. It’s our job to watch them stand up in the nest, we encourage them to look around and explore, support their attempts at flying, patiently awaiting their return.

As my birthday girl closes her eyes, makes a wish and blows out her candles, I too make a silent wish in my own heart. I wish for her a happy, healthy, joy filled life, strengthened by faith and when I’m no longer around to sing Happy Birthday with tears in my eyes, I pray she has a room filled with her best friends and family who will do it for me.

What I Do When I’m Lost

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

I’ve needed guidance lately. As a mother, some days I think I’ve got all the answers, I’m doing the right things, my world is chugging along at just the right pace, but then there are those days. Days I don’t know which way is up, whether to say yes or no, what to do about anything. On those days I pray. I give thanks for my many blessings, then I pray for guidance, for a sign to lead me in the right direction. My simple prayer goes a little something like this:

God, I’m struggling with what to do about (this is between me and God y’all) and I need your help. Please guide me in the direction I need to be headed. Lead me to the path and I will follow. I need a sign, loud and clear, to know what my decision should be. I’m your humble sheep, but I’m a humble sheep who wears glasses, so make your sign a big one.  Amen

I’m still waiting for my sign. But it’s coming. I just know it.

I Am So Much Bigger Than The Life I Am Living

Some days they are just so many things I want to do, places I want to see, people I want to meet, knowledge I long to know, sides of myself I’d like to explore, art I want to create, food I want to savor, love I yearn to make, drafts I’d like to finish, rooms I want to clean, prayers I need to say, ideas I’d love to share, children I wish to shape, money I want to make, and time I’d like to have.

I am so much bigger than the life I am living. I’m bursting at the seams to go and do and become. As a mother, these needs and desires become even more acute, more important to accomplish. My life is rich and full, but I am so much more than my life.

Paper Dolls

am paper dolls

Photo: ana_ng

While driving in the car today M. pipes up from the backseat, “Mom, did you know leaves regrow? It’s magic. It’s God’s magic. He didn’t make us out of paper ya know. I’m squishy. Paper is not squishy. I’m squishy.”  And she started humming, back in her own little happy world.

I sat there smiling, just taking in the wonder and wiseness of her words.

Then I realized…I’m squishy too.