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My Zoe is the sweetest girl. In the 8 years she’s been brightening up this planet, she has taught me nearly as much as I aim to teach her. I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that parenting a little girl would be this big of a learning experience for a momma. Guiding such a beautiful creature through the minefield of childhood has forced me to swiftly unpack and de-clutter my baggage so that I don’t pass it on to her. It’s not hers to carry, and just having her around like a mini-me mirror has made me painfully (and joyfully) aware that I don’t have to continue carrying it either.

Before I ever saw girl parts on an ultrasound, I knew that’s what we were having, and I was terrified. Paralyzing questions plagued my dreams and my fierce, mama bear heart grew stronger with each stretch of my belly. How would I protect her? How would I teach her to protect herself? I know these words are telling as much as I know that it is difficult to be the daughter of a survivor and I want more for her than that legacy. As is the pattern of my life, when I was sure I’d be overwhelmed, God stepped in and calmed my fears with two simple, difficult, beautiful words, “Trust Me.”

I was reminded that the very first mother had no mother of her own to call for advice. It was just her and God. She had no other option but to trust Him. Choice sometimes makes things harder, don’t you think? If Eve could do it without the support that I have from the incredible women in my life, then I can certainly do it. Have you ever trusted God out of sheer determination to do so? Or are you giggling at my silliness? 😉

How do I parent my pink-loving spitfire of a child? Very purposefully.

Like all children, she knows how to stall at bed time, and her favorite excuse goes something like this: “Can we have Mommy/Zoe time tonight?” (Cue the dimples and the sparkling chocolate-brown eyes) And when the answer is yes, we lie on her bed and star gaze as we chat about her tragedies and triumphs, and dream about the future. I answer her questions in honest, age appropriate language, and ask her some of my own. It’s in this place of comfort that we giggle and listen to Beethoven at Bedtime, talk about her first crush – JB, how annoying her brothers are, her crazy unique fashion sense, and whether or not I think she’s pretty. Yes, she’s already asking that one a lot. This time is precious to us both, but she needs her sleep, so we either need to find a better Mommy/Zoe time of the day, or she needs to go to bed earlier.  It’s imperative I work that out because my window of opportunity is shrinking. Want proof?

Try this eye-opening exercise:

Take out a sheet of paper and turn it horizontally. Draw a straight line across the paper. At the beginning of the line, make a mark indicating the day you were born. Now keep making marks across the line to represent every five years of your life until you reach 100. Next, mark off the years you spent in school (K-12, college if you attended, etc.), your wedding date if you’re married, and any other major life events you’ve experienced so far. Mark off the year you plan to retire. Here’s where it gets interesting. Make a mark on your time line to represent when your child was born, then tick off 18 years – assuming he/she moves out of your home at that age. If you have multiple children, put them on your time line too. Now put down your pencil. What do you see?

When someone taught me this exercise several years ago, it helped me put the “toddler and 2 babies in diapers” phase of my life in perspective. I needed this visual to convince me that the day would come when everyone in my house would be wiping themselves, they would grow up and eventually move out on their own, it had not taken up my entire life, and though I was a mom, I was so much more than that. There is life before and after kids.

I am grateful for this parenting time-line exercise and now and then I repeat it. But now it’s to remind me that my window is a small one and I want to savor these Mommy/Zoe moments while I can because one of these days I’m going to blink and she’ll be having those moments with her own child.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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gratituesdaynov09

It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve participated in Gratituesday which is hosted by my college friend Laura over at HeavenlyHomemakers.com. Frankly, I’ve been missing the weekly reminder to list (if only mentally) all of the things I have to be grateful for. What better way to get back on schedule after a long trip?

Today I’m grateful for my home. My family returned yesterday from a month-long fund-raising trip for our ministry. After enjoying the hospitality of friends in 3 states, and living out of the back of our van for 4 weeks, we were all happy to sleep in our own beds last night. As I walked through the front door, I thanked God for taking care of my home while I was away. There were no burglaries, busted pipes (Denver got a freak snowstorm while we were away), or funny smells. Everything was as I had left it and I realized how blessed I am to have this big space to call my own and share with my family and friends. It was warm, safe, and welcoming. The kids ran to their bedrooms exclaiming, “My bed! My toys!” and I knew how they felt. I smiled as I entered my office – the place that holds all of my favorite belongings – and looking around, I happy sighed.

My home. Neither palace nor shack, it’s my little corner of the world where I feel creative and accepted and loved. The place where I am queen, artist, organizer, teacher, story-teller to little ones, and so much more. There’s no place like HOME!

Please join us for  Gratituesday at  Heavenly Homemakers!

While Gratituesday comes around every week during the year…this month we’re focussing on being extra thankful!  Read about the November Gratitude Challenge here and take part in the joy of praising God for how He has blessed us all!

 

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I didn’t realize that my assigned blog tour date was on a Tuesday, so I’m committed to 2 posts on the same day. I thought I’d post my Gratituesday topic a little early. 🙂

I LOVE books. Mysteries, chick-lit, mom-lit, suspense, epic tales, allegories, fantasies (think LOTR and Narnia), non-fiction, literary classics and spiritual growth. You name it, I’d probably read it…and blog about it. lol I have been in love with the written word since I learned to read at three years old. I love libraries both public and private. I love the feel of old leather covers and the slickness of shiny new book jackets. I love the smell of books, both the paper and the ink. I love my library card. I love bookstores. I love thrift stores that allow me to support my habit on my limited budget. I love the research, the hard work, and the creativity that goes into each story I read. I love the emotions books evoke in me and the growth and change that takes place as I reflect on truths I encounter in the pages I turn.

When I was little, my Mom told me that books could take me anywhere. It’s one of the things I’m most grateful for – her teaching me how to read. Books have taken me to far off adventures and unexpected places of brokenness within myself. They have lifted me to new heights of imagination and possibility and plunged me to the depths of human suffering and the places God comes to meet us. Books have challenged me to change who I am to become more like Christ and they’ve affirmed that I am who I am, a deeply loved creation willing to learn and then take the new knowledge gained and pass it along to others through my own gifts and story. Books can merely be an entertaining way to pass time and have a good laugh or cry.

The first book printed on the newly invented Gutenberg printing press in the 1400’s was the Bible. I love the many ways in which story has emerged, from the oral traditions to print, to music, and now movies. With all of the above, I look for Christ and His messages. I’m grateful for what books have been and continue to be in my life. A vessel for truth, entertainment, and the endless tales of what life boils down to…relationships.

I know that I am who I am partly due to the books I have read.

Want to join us for Gratituesday?

Head on over to Laura’s blog – Heavenly Homemakers and link up.

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