Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{Compassion} Kids are waiting

Waiting is hard.

Maybe you're waiting for your Prince Charming. Maybe you're waiting to have a baby. Perhaps you're waiting to hear the results of a medical test or whether you got that job.

Or maybe you're a child living in a poverty-stricken country and you're waiting for someone to help.

Wherever you are in life, waiting can be discouraging and draining. I waited to have a baby, praying and praying that I would become pregnant. Turns out that wasn't God's plan, but he heard the desire of my heart, which was really to have a family. In his time and his way, he put together our family. I don't think our story is over, but I'm waiting to see how it continues to unfold.

There are other kids throughout the world waiting.

They're waiting for immunizations, food, a chance to go to school, a Bible to read, life-skills training, and an opportunity to experience the kingdom of God. And you could be just the person who ends their waiting.

Through Compassion International 1.2 million children in 26 countries are kept from waiting for some of life's most basic needs. But there are more still waiting. Some have been waiting for six months or longer for someone to sponsor them. For $38/month {with at least 80 percent of that going to the actual program to help the child and not administrative costs}, you can help a specific child. You'll also have a chance to write letters of encouragement and get to know your child.

View children who needs sponsors here, and perhaps one less child will have to be waiting. When we sponsored our second child late last year, we looked for a boy who shared our son's birthday. We found a few and chose Jean Carlos in Ecuador who had been waiting.

As a bonus, when you sponsor a child from the longest-waiting list, you'll receive a free Compassion scrapbook that you can use to organize those letters you'll receive from your child. Trust me, you'll want to read them over and over again. This scrapbook is available when you sign-up for a sponsorship online and make your first payment with a credit or debit card. {This promotion is available only to U.S. residents.}

So, really, what are you waiting for?

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again and again and yet again

"Hey, Ben, hold my hand as we walk."

"Ben, hold my hand, please."


Repeating instructions and requests to my kids gets me frustrated as quickly as just about anything else. And, yes, unfortunately my tone of voice escalates quicker and louder than it should. It's one of my personality downfalls I'm working on. 

While traveling through the Dallas airport Monday, I answered my 3-year-old girl's question with a snippy, I-already-said-this answer and then turned to my husband that is kinder and more patient than me and said, "Didn't you just explain that to her?" 

"Yes, but she's 4." 

Technically, Cate's 4 years and almost 10 months. 

But, yes, she's a kid still comprehending and discovering the world. She's still figuring out boundaries and expectations, which change and expand as she grows up. 

I'm her momma. My role is to teach her and guide her and shape her. But I'm not in this alone, thankfully. I have a husband who excels as a dad and as a leader, starting in our home. And, more importantly, we have a God who is a father. He sacrificed his son for me and Greg and Cate and Ben and you and him and her and them. Then he adopted us as his children who have an eternal inheritance awaiting us because we choose to believe his son is the way, the truth and the life. He brings us into his kingdom so we can make him known. 

I believe this with my whole heart. It shapes my views and expectations. 

But I didn't figure it all out the first time God spoke to my heart. That was 16 years ago. I've certainly changed since then, thanks to God's grace. I'm his workmanship. And he's not finished.

It's a process. And it requires God repeating expectations and convictions and ideas and truths. Over and over. It involves building upon what I know so I can be trusted with more. 

And, you know, I don't hear my Father fussing at me. May I be more like you, God, as you help me figure out motherhood. Thank you for repeating and molding and repeating some more.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faith like a child along the way

The air up high in the sky was turbulent. The seatbelt sign remained on the entire flight.

We hit an especially rough patch between Nashville and Kansas City. And my kids just laughed. And said, "Tickle. Tickle. Tickle." over and over between giggles.

No fear.

They think they're flight experts because this isn't their first time in the air. Cate flew across the world, literally, for the first time when she was 2 years and 3 months old. It took us 23 1/2 hours from first gate to our destination gate in New Zealand and we lost almost a whole day in time changes.

Her second time was a shorter trip, but most would be compared to flying to a country that is 17 hours ahead of us. She was 4 years and 4 months old this more recent time and had a 22-month-old brother along for the ride.

Would you believe this photo isn't staged? Seriously. My kids are funny.

And now my boy Ben is 2 years and 3 months -- the same age as Cate's first flight -- and he's got two air trips under his belt ... er ... elastic diaper band. Granted, his first one was in the United States.

I took four airplane trips before I married Greg when I was 23 {and three months, to the day ...}. Add six more in the past nine-plus years. I think my kids will have me beat.

And not just in airline miles.

They giggle because they have no fear. I'm not afraid of flying, but I certainly resist letting go and truly living in the moment. They consider the ride an adventure. Sure, they're excited about the destination that includes an aunt and uncle and a trip to the zoo. But getting there is part of the fun.

They're kids. And their faith is just like Jesus encourages ours to be. Simple. Pure. Without hesitation.

And they invite the people around them in to their joy. The guy behind us said, "They thought that turbulence was a roller coaster." As she was exiting, a woman said, "They were so good." And another guy near us kept glancing back and grinning.

Those people wanted what my kids have. I want what they have too. Pure, abundant joy with no worries weighing them down.


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

This Season

Seems like spring is coming. Apparently today's high of 75 degrees ties the record high in our Kentucky home. The "normal" is 52. We've soaked in some sun these last two days. Yesterday's high was a little less and included more wind, but we played outside then too anyway ...

{Please ignore my daughter's snotty nose. That's Kentucky for you. Weather changes and congestion seem to go hand-in-hand ... }

My boy loves to run, especially outside. I realized yesterday this summer is going to be a whole new adventure with him. We walked to the park yesterday without a stroller. Granted, I wouldn't go any farther than that without the stroller for my all-boy 2-year-old child. But it was a nice change of pace to let him explore on a day that was worth being out in and didn't include many commitments.

He did manage to fall out of a swing. But he got up, I dusted him off and he went right back to it. His sister isn't quite as fearless and needed to take a break from the swing accident that included her also falling. 'Tis the season for falling and playing and running and going at it again and exploring.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There's power in words.

Shy doesn't even begin to describe me as a kid.

I'd hide behind my mom, literally. And I'd avoid grocery store aisles if I recognized someone, mostly because I worried they wouldn't recognize me and awkwardness would ensue. I lost count of how many times Mom told me my shyness would come across as snobbishness. Speaking in front of a group still ranks up there with my greatest fears.

But I gradually leg go of my mom's leg, accepted I'd never like dancing, avoided Public Speaking 101 in college, sorted out my jumbled thoughts while writing, started asking strangers questions, and kept writing.

Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mom and wife of an attorney who requests my bookkeeping help once a week.

But I still think I'm a writer. 

I blame Rochelle Riley.

Raised in North Carolina by her grandparents, she's a black, single mom to a grown daughter. She lives and works and writes in Detroit, although our paths crossed when she did the same in Louisville. And she reached out to kids like me.

In the high school journalism workshop she hosted at The Courier-Journal my senior year, Rochelle inspired me and encouraged me to pursue a career as a journalist and embrace who I was as a writer, even at 18 years old. I went on to college, majored in print journalism, worked at some newspapers and The Associated Press, and settled in small-town America at a desk of a six-day-a-week paper.

During that time, we talked a couple times. But I read her columns and books often. I would grasp onto her words and want to hold on ... so tightly. She can write about things that are so far removed from my daily life and I still finish her story and see a little of myself. That's how she tells stories. Her words capture the world. And I am left wondering how I can give more and do more and write more and love more.

I've been taken back to May of 1997 more than once. I had decided upon Murray State University, which seemed to be a world away from my near-Louisville home. But I was ready to go. I needed something new. That's what happened when I stopped hiding behind my mom's leg.

What Rochelle said -- it was written, of course -- at the end of our high school journalism helped me step out, move on, write more, and embrace life. While capturing moments in her own mind, Rochelle wrote, "I remember that Kristin Hill seemed the most like me, serious, but able to crack a joke. Her writing showed that she may one day have a desk near mine." 

My desk sits in Murray, Ky., in my home while hers sits in a big city. Yet her encouragement still comes. I drew confidence from her then and I gain hope from her still. Usually it's indirect, through her Facebook posts or her columns written to a broad audience. But we've emailed and talked a couple of times, and I want to hang onto every word.

There's power in words. I've learned that over and over, thanks to Rochelle. And all those stories really are worth telling and, more importantly, living.


Life with kids can be chaotic, but I want to make sure I don't miss an opportunity to encourage my own kids or someone else's kids to embrace what they love to do, especially if it means stepping out in faith. I'm not the only one who believes in the power of someone's words. It may be brief, but it can still be life-changing. Compassion International's President Wess Stafford wrote a book about just that. "Just a Minute" is next on my reading list. 

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bustin' the Bracket

You may have seen, there was a Racer party on ESPN last night. Dick Vitale even joined the 8,825 people and the most media I've ever seen at the CFSB Center. The Racers ... well ... raced over St. Mary's, settling some national talk about whether Murray State was legitimate.

And we had fun watching.

Former copy editors at The Murray State News unite. It was a fun time sharing our row with Alyson and her family. They like the Racers as much as we do. And our girls bonded from the moment they met at our pre-game meal at Los Portales ...

Yes, she's proud of her sign. And Greg looks awfully serious, especially considering he's wearing an Afro. If you've watched a Murray State basketball game, you've probably noticed #2. He has big hair. And he likes to dunk. And take charges. And he usually wins the Racers the tip.

So that's Ed Daniel. He has great hair and he plays tough.

And he and Dickie V inspired a poster. A newspaper friend Photoshopped Ed's hair onto Dickie V's head and I printed it as an 18-by-24-inch poster at Office Depot and added cut-out letters. And this all was inspired at 11 p.m. Friday -- 18 hours before tip-off.

But the sign was a success.

Even Dickie V thought so.

Not only was Dickie V in the house for the BracketBuster game, but it was also Senior Night. These three seniors -- Ivan Aska, Donte Poole and Jewuan Long -- tied the number of wins by a class with their win over St. Mary's last night. It's not over yet. There are two more regular-season games and hopefully some post-season wins. And that's not all. They've given to this community and treated people right.

People hung around after the game because it was really more of a Racer party and nobody wanted it to end. So we took a family photo while we were waiting. Coach Prohm had an extended Senior Night with a highlight video and comments from Coach Kennedy, who had coached all these guys until this season. Lots of media -- really, more media than I've ever seen anywhere in Murray -- were there to watch ...

Yeah, OK, one more shot of our sign ...

Seriously. AWESOME, BABY! is right. About the whole night.

And, really, the season so far ...

They're still hoping there's more to the story. The fans are too. Trust me. But we're proud of our Ohio Valley Conference champions.

Really, it's worth dancing about. Right, girls?


Yes, of course, I took more photos. Feel free to browse. Want more? Subscribe to get "Insights" in your inbox. Or follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Words of Compassion

I've always liked having letter-writing friends. When I was a kid I had various pen pals at different times. I also regularly wrote my uncle who lives in Yellowstone National Park letters. Even as a grown-up, I like writing my friends letters. 

In December, we started sponsoring our second child through Compassion International. We chose a boy with our son's birthday -- although he's eight years older. I had been thinking about Jean and hoping to hear from him soon. We got a letter earlier this week, and I suddenly felt connected to a 10-year-old boy in Ecuador, a country I know very little about. But I know enough to know our lives are very different. 

Yet I felt bonded through the translated letter. 

Maybe it's because he called his 3-year-old sister "frisky," and that's a word that could apply to my 2-year-old boy who shares Jean's birthday. Or maybe it's because he listed some of his favorite things, as if he was inviting me into his life. 

Either way, I'm happy the letter-writing ball is rolling with Jean. And I'm looking forward to sharing our life with him, praying God blesses his and and let's His Kingdom come.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

'Boke, momma ...'

All boy, I tell you. 
Ben needed to know how this card worked. 

And, seriously, the only thing worse than a Valentine with Chipmunk voices that a 2-year-old boy plays with continuously is one that sounds like a dying cat. How do I know, you ask? Well, that's exactly what this card sounded like when Ben continued to play with it after disassembling it.

But, you know, he's one of the best Valentines a mom could have -- even with his curious, slightly destructive ways. He's full of joy and love that often overflow in loud, boy ways.


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Thursday, February 16, 2012


The Murray State Racers are 25-1 and Ohio Valley Conference champions. Yep, that makes us happy around here. Cate is particularly excited that Donte Poole came out of his basketball slump last night.

"Why did Daddy say, 'Donte Poole is back!'? Where did he go?"

You can join in our excitement on Saturday. The Racers play St. Mary's at 5 p.m. central time on ESPN. Oh, and, Dick Vitale will be one of the announcers.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I gave this to Greg for First-Date Day. It's not a manly gift, but it does sum up what we strive for as a family. And Greg has certainly helped shape this family into what we are. For that I'm so very grateful. 

Happy Valentine's Day, friends. Love one another.


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14 years ago ...

{Originally published in 2009. Updated for today.}

We must have liked each other: I brought him
to La Grange; he stole my OCHS shirt.

Picking up where I left off ...

I actually ran into Greg on campus the Friday before our first date. I walked with him up to the audio/video studio in the Fine Arts building and ended up having lunch with him in the campus cafeteria.

Then the next afternoon -- Feb. 14, 1998 -- he pulled his 1978 International Scout {like this one, but without the stripes ...} in front of my door. I met him out there for our date. We went to Baskin-Robbins, where he ordered a sundae because it was the special. I have no idea what I ordered. But we took our desserts to the park. You never know with Kentucky weather, so it must not have been too cold out.

We parted ways afterward, but our day ended up not being over. He called from the student center, which was across the street from my dorm, because he needed to borrow a CD player. Turns out I had one, and was willing to bring it over. His family -- his entire family, which if you know anything about Taylors, involves many, many people! -- rented one of the ballrooms there for his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Conveniently, Greg had to return the CD player after the party. We ended up talking ... all night. It's the only time in my whole life I've stayed up all night. I think I got a couple hours sleep early that morning, which was good because my mom drove down from Louisville that Sunday to spend a few hours with me.

I told her I met a boy that I really liked. She sort of shrugged her shoulders like she thought I was just making friends. Well, I was, but turns out this friend really stuck around.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dynamite -- again!

I did not teach my girl to dance.

And, really, this isn't the first time I've recorded her dancing to "Dynamite" at a Murray State game. I'm not sure what any of this says about us.

But she's funny.

So, here's the version from last year:


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Let your kingdom come

Shaun Groves led worship at our church this morning. He played some of his own songs and some other worship songs. He made me laugh and think. And he told stories that made me want to give up Diet Dr Pepper, travel to Ethiopia, and sponsor a community of children.

I'm not sure if those exact things will happen, but I do know that his message that we are saved for something and not just from something really spoke to my heart. God's Kingdom is here. There are people in Ethiopia and India and down my street who need to know the Kingdom is coming to them. They need their daily bread.

And my kids need me to teach them the ways they should go. They need my kind, loving, consistent words, not my sighs of frustration. Of course they're acting like kids. They are kids. Part of teaching them the ways they should go is emphasizing thinking beyond our little family that has everything {and more than} we need. We've started to do that with Roselyn and Jean. And we'll continue to do it that way and in other ways.

Thankfully, 16 more kids are now sponsored through Compassion International, thanks to Shaun's encouragement and information on the ministry for which he sings. Those kids will know God's Kingdom is with them because their physical and spiritual needs will be met because someone decided to give up $38 each month for the well-being of someone else. Someone there, where there isn't enough. All because God's Kingdom is now.

{What? You want to sponsor one too? You can. Right from that chair in which you're sitting. Right now.}

Yes, we're saved from eternal death. But because we believe Jesus saves us means we are called to live our lives in ways that give God glory and make His Kingdom known. Here. There. Now.

‘Til the sword is spared
And the bread is shared
‘Til the dying’s done
Let your kingdom come
‘Til the rich ones give
And the poor ones live
‘Til the weak are strong
Let your kingdom come

Thank you, Shaun, for that reminder.

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Friday, February 10, 2012


Our Racers lost last night. I wasn't necessarily anticipating that specific loss, but a loss was bound to happen at some point. But, really, to say a team's first loss came in February is impressive. And now the Racers sit at 23-1, which is still {tied for} the best record in Division 1 men's basketball.

All of what the back of that T-shirt pictured above says remains true. Best start in school and conference history. Highest national rankings ever. Last of the unbeaten teams.

I'll take it.

And so better all those other fans who have been selling out the CFSB Center. I'm going to be disappointed if there's not a packed house again tomorrow night. It's rivalry game. The regular-season conference championship and seeding for the conference tournament, which sends the winner to the NCAA Tournament, are on the line. And we're proud to be Racers.

A game was lost. But nothing more. This university for which we cheer is still doing good things for this small town in which we live. And the coach and his team are still setting a good example of how to play on the court and live off the court.

Each time I read an article on Coach Prohm, I like him more. Here's a favorite quote from an article I read this week: "Because if you don't stay on your wall -- your passion, your mission, your life's work -- you will fail, you will not succeed. If you do finish the task at hand, and I don't know where that will take this team this year, the glory goes to the success of God."

And, really, it's fun to be a Racer fan.

Sister-in-law Angela made this pouty-face fathead to hold up when there are calls with which we aren't pleased. It got used last night, and all who saw it seemed entertained. Wonder if the refs noticed?

And it's been a fun season to live in a small town that loves its basketball team. I even got a wreath made for my front door at a local florist. I did add the M.

Earlier this week, Ben and I went to a Racer-themed storytime. Those little kids were so cute in the blue and gold ...

They listened to a story about a horse and made a cheer banner, which Cate is holding while wearing a new dress I couldn't resist. Cate wasn't at the storytime but the coordinator who is a friend of mine knew she'd want in on the Racer crafting action.

And she's seriously Racer proud. Cate brought her craft to the game last night. And earlier this week while in Kroger's frozen food section, she said, "We are in row 11, like Donte Poole's number."

All of this Racer love and talk did accomplish one other thing last night: Cate seemed over her fear of costumed mascots.

She volunteered to pose with Dunker. I am sorry the girl we do not know had to share Dunker, but there was no stopping my excited girl who was ready to leap over her fear ... and into Dunker's arms. Perhaps that other girl got a solo picture after Cate ran back to our seats to hug me. That's simple joy if I've ever witnessed such.

So, don't be scared, say it with me, R-A-C-E-R-S! Racers! Racers! Goooo Racers!

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Like his daddy

My boy wants to be like his daddy. And I pray that he continues to cling to that example, trust God like his daddy, and grows to live intentionally and courageously.

Ben is 2. It's hard to see past the noise, messes, babble, and sweetness at times. But this season will pass. My boy will grow up. He'll become taller and stronger and more confident. He'll find passions and he'll make friends. He'll learn about the world around him and the God our family chooses to serve.

If he becomes patient and kind like his daddy, I'll be a happy momma. If he loves and serves people like his daddy, the world will be a better place. If he chooses what is right like his daddy, his community will be grateful. If he encourages his wife to be a better version of herself like his daddy does me, his family will thrive.

My boy, embrace the example your daddy is because there really isn't a better man to want to be like.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeking adventure

Yep, that's my boy. He's 2. And he's all boy, always ready for an adventure. Rather, I should probably say, he's always making life an adventure.

I've been reading books about boys. While reading the chapter on 2- to 4-year-old boys in "Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys" by Stephen James and David S. Thomas, the authors seemed to be describing my boy, who fits their title of "Explorer" perfectly. A few passages for you ...
Explorers are simultaneously delightful and demanding. Their moods swing on a dime, and nothing compares to the joy that overcomes them when they make a new discovery. Boys who are in the Explorer stage are active, aggressive, curious, and self-determined. ...

As strange as it sounds, boys in the Explorer stage demonstrate love and affection through wrestling, head butting, and sometimes even hitting. ...

Most of what an Explorer needs from his parents and his caregivers comes in the form of discipline, structure, and patience. For a boy to thrive as an Explorer, he requires boundaries, open space, consistency, and understanding.
And then even offered some tips. More than anything, I was encouraged that I'm not the first mom who has mothered a boy who sometimes hits his friends, is always moving, can go from frustrated and excited in seconds, and has no fear. Of course, I knew I wasn't alone because I have friends who are raising boys to be great men. But, somehow, hearing a stranger describe my son was comforting.

Yesterday, Ben ...
  • Climbed to the top of the netting around a ball pit at a local restaurant with the only decent indoor playground in this town and jumped, shoulder first, into the balls.
  • Chewed {multiple times} on said netting.
  • Stole an Andes mint from a neighboring table during the same restaurant outing and put it in his mouth with the paper still wrapping it before I noticed.
  • Found a pile of M&Ms from who knows where {probably the floor of restaurant} and then acted like he was gagging when I pulled the chocolaty mess from his mouth.
  • Quietly played with some AAA batteries and a vial of insulin that are kept in a zipper pound in my purse after eating the fruit snacks {Who knew he could even open the package?!} that are also stored in the pouch in case I have a blood sugar low.
  • Bit his sister. For the second time in less than a week.
I don't tell you these things to keep a list of his wrongdoings. I tell you {and remind myself} because these days can seem long, but I believe I will look back and laugh and be in awe of how far we've come. Parenting is a long-term investment in people, who matter, who learn to love and serve others, who give us a chance to give ourselves away. It's the hardest and best job I've ever had.

We're even believe we're supposed to expand our family. But that doesn't mean some days aren't hard. I'm pretty sure my mom wrapped up our phone conversation yesterday afternoon because she knew chaos was abounding in the next room. I knew it too. But sometimes escaping for a few moments gives me perspective.

Because not every day is like this.

And not every day will be like this.

Just like my first-born girl isn't like my second-born son in many ways, moments and days and seasons are their own. And right now, I'm on an adventure. My boy thinks he's leading the way, but I'm praying the grown-up half of this family is actually guiding the way. Hence the information gathering mission I'm on. I've also been reading "Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons" by Meg Meeker. Wisdom and encouraging reminders are in those pages too. And I've been consulting my heavenly Father, which teaches me plenty because He's used to his kids messing up and finding the way in the life.

What about you? Do you have wisdom or encouragement for us mommas of boys?

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012


What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. --Romans 6:1-4

I heard Coach Steve Prohm say in an interview after the Racers' come-from-behind victory over SEMO last week that he didn't change who he was at halftime. His Racers were trailing, despite their perfect record. He said he didn't yell at his team to get his point across. He remained who he is and encouraged them in ways to play better.

{That's totally a paraphrase of what I remember.}

I thought about his perspective in church Sunday when our pastor was talking about Romans 6. Of course we aren't supposed to continuing sinning so grace can abound. We are made new and are no longer slaves to sin.

But we still sin. Because we aren't Jesus. We aren't perfect. But we need Jesus so when our lives stray from righteousness, we can remain who we are because of what Jesus did for us. He was perfect. And he fulfilled God's plan for his life so we could live with him because we certainly can't do it alone.

We need half-time pep talks rooted in truth. When life gets hard, sometimes we'll feel behind in the game, but we shouldn't what's inside us. God's Spirit lives inside us and what's in will come out. I pray I can let Him overflow out of me when days are hard, feelings are hurt, and parenting challenges me.

I may want to yell. And control. And point out what others are doing wrong. But I've been made new and instead need to cling to who I am and what I believe so God's grace can abound.

And in the end I'll win.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

14 years ago ...

{Originally published in 2009. Updated for today.}

In my dorm room. Probably 1999.

I went to Paducah with an acquaintance 14 years ago and ended up meeting my husband.

OK, so, Greg and I didn't get married that night, but we started to get to know each other. And from there, we went on a date the next week, broke up a couple of times over the next few years because of my insecurities, had a long-distance relationship across the state during his first year of law school, lived closer together but still not in the same town, got married, lived in an apartment, moved into what used to be his great-grandmother's house, started new jobs, experienced a trying time of trying to have a baby, adopted our beautiful daughter, started a real estate company, bungy jumped, moved 1.1 miles across town, and adopted our son.

I suppose that covers the past 14 years.

Yes, 14 years. That seems like a long time.

But in other ways it seems like just yesterday when Greg and I struck up conversation at Steak-n-Shake in Paducah surrounded by his friends, my friends, and our mutual acquaintance. I say "mutual acquaintance" because Feb. 7, 1998, was the only time either of us hung out with Darryl. Turns out it was a good social outing, considering we really haven't stopped talking since.

After Steak-n-Shake, Greg and I talked the entire ride back from Murray {That's about 45 minutes, for those of you unfamiliar with the drive ...} while we were two of three passengers in the back seat of a small car. I remember being impressed he knew where Oldham County was. {Little did I know that geography would be one of his many trivia specialties!} And I remember not being impressed with his tapered-leg jeans. But I knew that conversation and character were important than his fashion.

After my friend and I got out of Darryl's car in front of my dorm, I was on my way to the door when I heard Greg asked for my number. I said told it to him quickly, as I kept walking. He ended up calling a few days later, after some convincing from his friends Laura and Sarah {who became my friends too} and asked me if I liked ice cream. Um, yeah, I suppose. I didn't mention that it was February and maybe there was a more suitable dessert. {I later learned there is never any more suitable dessert for Greg than ice cream.} We made plans for a date to Baskin-Robbins on the following Saturday, which happened to be Valentine's Day.

To be continued ...

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Monday, February 6, 2012

4 years 9 months

Cate seems like she's grown up right before my eyes lately.

She's outgrown several pairs of size 5 pants and says things that seem deep and well thought out. She's making more lowercase letters when she writes and draws, which is often. {See picture above.} That was between cheers at a recent Murray State game. She has claimed Donte Poole as her favorite Racer.

She remembers all kinds of details. She talks to anyone. And she likes people to come over for dinner.

And, you know, she still wants to be a flu shot doctor, although her dreams don't end there.

I think ballet is as close to cheerleading as she'll get, if Greg and I have anything to do with it. And, because we're her parents, we do.

Cate likes her friends and cousins, stickers and Sharpies, any crafts, Berenstain Bear books and movies, pushing the small grocery cart at Kroger, helping in the kitchen, playing Wii Fit with her daddy, and watching the Racers and UCats {her ingenious nickname for Kentucky}. She laughs often, tells detailed stories {including dreams, which she refers to as "sleep stories"}, makes up songs about anything, and remembers everything.

I know I mentioned the remembering trait twice. But, really, it's that prevalent in my almost-5-year-old girl. And I want to remember the way she remembers. And lives. And keeps me on my toes while bringing joy to my days.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012


Greg proposed going out to breakfast this morning. We went to a local place that I've somehow never been to. When Cate ordered a pancake, she ended up with Mickey Mouse.

Happy weekend! May your weekend be filled with small surprises, impromptu adventures with people you love, and more sweetness {minus the melted butter} than you can bear.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

{Undefeated} 21-0 and counting ...

That's Cate and cousin Taylor during the MSU vs. Eastern Illinois on Saturday night.

You've probably heard, our Racers are still undefeated. And they're in the top 10 in both both polls. Want on the Murray State bandwagon? We welcome you. They play Southeast Missouri State {better known as SEMO, pronounced "See-Mo"} at 7 {central} tonight on ESPNU.

So grab your friends and family and find a TV. Wear blue and gold and root on the Racers! And don't forget your pom-poms.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Worth Repeating Wednesday} Parenting like Him

You know sometimes you read things and you soak in every word because you know the author is writing directly to you? Well, that happens to me. And it's happened multiple times this week. And it's only Wednesday.

Perhaps you can be encouraged too.

First, from "I don't want to raise a good child" by Lysa TerKeurst ...

"I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. ... But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. "God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!” I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope."

But, mommas, click on the link and read the whole thing. Seriously.

And then there was another parenting piece that I read this morning, know I was supposed to take it to heart. I emailed it to a couple friends who are parenting young boys beside me and my husband, who has influenced me in ways that definitely make me a better mom.

"Loving a Wild One" by Sarah Mae softened my heart and gave me perspective ...
"You, my friend, are not perfectly obedient. You and I, we mess up, we try, we fight, we are stubborn, we believe lies, and we sin. But we love God, and He loves us with a wild, unyielding grace. He is slow to anger and abounding in love, graciousness, compassion, and faithfulness. Remember who your children are, little ones with a sin nature, and yet made in the image of God. Train them up in love and discipline, with compassion, kindness, and grace, just as your Father does to you."
Again, read it. You won't be sorry.

And then later this afternoon I happened upon those characteristics of God the Father that I long to possess for my family:
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. ... As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him ... But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children -- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts." --Psalm 103:8-18
Take heart, mommas, we are not alone. I sense God doing a mighty work in my heart and life. And I get the feeling he wants to do something for you too.

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