The Wing Seat (#jammed daily devo, day 323)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 323: Thankful for the 3 Musketeers

The Lord your God is with you. Zephaniah 3:17a

“I get the window seat first, and then you can have it on the way home,” my youngest 323daughter informed her older sister.

Ready to give up our annual Florida trip on account of my husbands injury, I trudged through another Northern Ohio week in April. It was cold and gray. Spring refused, as it often does, to Spring at all. My breath became shorter and harder to catch. The business of life was starting to crush me.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is always with us. In the times when we’re overwhelmed with life and trying to do the right thing, He sees and appreciates our obedience willingness. Sometimes, He blesses us beyond our expectations, and gives us a break to catch our breath.

“I think we’re gonna go.” I told my husband, and in a swift affirmation from God as flights were book and bags were packed, I had peace in knowing I needed some Peace.

We rob ourselves of the joy God seeks to bless us with when we don’t slow to a stop so that the realities of our blessings can sink in. Our bodies. minds and souls need a break to catch their breath!

In true form, my daughters and I were off on an adventure. My husband works a lot, so from the very start of their little lives I have been determined to keep them busy with adventure so they don’t miss him and miss out on the family bond that is so important in growing secure human beings. We’ve been through a lot, my daughters and I. That day I watched one daughter console the other while her ears hurt on the decent out of the sky.

It’s hard to image what I’ll do without them one day. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll never leave. My breath returned while we laughed with my parents and warmed up under the Florida sunshine. Sometimes, we have to stop …and just go.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for vacations, breaks, and relaxation. Thank You for family, laughter, and love. Bless our lives to include all of the joys You seek to bless us with. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Breath-catching,


Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 



Stay encouraged!

The Audience

“Sorry!” My oldest called out as she sent her Daddy’s peg flying off the game-board.

“What?!?” he retorted, “You just broke your own rule!”

imageMy little one lined up a teeny tiny animal audience as they argued. The table melted down into assigning blame, hurt feelings, and an unfinished game. It’s impossible to declare the winner of a game with no rules, and I was not going to take sides…


Life’s a lot more complicated than the game of “Sorry.” It’s easy to forgive someone for knocking your game peg off the board, but not so easy to swim through the hurt of being bumped. There are times I feel unqualified to wipe away my daughters’ tears as I choke back my own. Praying for the right way to raise them, I discovered two words to help me piece together a plan.

Though they appear synonymous, “favor” and “favoritism” communicate opposite messages in fostering a healthy community. These three steps will help you land on the right side of the coin.


1. Say something.

“Favoritism: the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.”

Life can be a lot about choosing sides and shifting circles, causing hurt feelings to be hidden in fear of being cut out. But it’s important to put a voice to hurt in a non-accusatory or defensively dramatic fashion. I try to guide my daughters (and repeat to myself) to talk directly to the one who hurt them, not around them in circles. For example:

“When you said that, it hurt my feelings.”

When we align with the audience of favoritism, we fail to notice God’s favor; when true hurts of the heart are spoken out loud, we allow God’s favor to defend us.

“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…he who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalms 15:2,5


How is one to know they’ve hurt me if they have no idea they’ve wounded me? God doesn’t care about the clamor to click and the clack to belong. Speaking up when my feelings are hurt without putting my foot in my mouth is an impossibly difficult task, but it’s more conducive to community than seething to attain sympathy out of thin air.

“We hide pain in the weirdest places…broken souls with smiling faces…Just look around and you see that people …are scared to say how they really feel …we all need …a little honesty.” ‘You are Loved,’ by Stars Go Dim.


2. Voluntarily forgive.

“Favor: an attitude of approval or liking…an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.”

Forgiveness is an important extension of the grace Jesus died to give us. It is something a human to human relationship is not 100% capable of without His presence. We consult our circle, but Christ didn’t have a clique. (Luke 4:19)


Cliques offer protection, status, guaranteed friendship, trust, and acceptance. Though we look to each other for these things, only Christ is capable of fulfilling a lifetime of love and belonging. God wired our desire to seek His Son.

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35image

Christ loves beyond faults, and gifts grace without regard to requirement. Extend grace.


3. Let it go.

The puzzling and powerless feeling of injustice is agonizing, but I survive by crying out to God. The ugly cry. The uncontrollable, shoulders shaking in sobs and nose running down my face …desperate to understand “why?” cry.

Sometimes, life hurts more than we can comprehend because we’re not built to lean on other people …we’re meant to lean on God. He will fight our battles for us if we will faithfully hand them over.


Before I drop them off at school, in sibling mediation, at bedtime …I’m constantly trumping my daughters’ excuses with my favorite soapbox.

“and we are…” I’ll bait.
“Kind,” they comply. Life’s most important rule.

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” James 2:1

It’s hard to be kind in the face of calamity when I have a ferociously strong feeling about what is fair. But I believe God. Speaking the truth of our hearts, and forgiving without requiring apology …that’s our part. The rest is His area of expertise.

“There were three options for citizens under Roman rule: sell out, get out, or fight back… Jesus introduced a fourth option: serve…” Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (James 2:1-26 commentary)

I pray to mimic Jesus’ justice and fake it till I make it all the way into His arms; letting Him fill the gap of what I cannot accomplish alone, and fight what I was never equipped to battle.


imageLife is too risky to run without rules, yelling “sorry!” over shoulders when feelings flip and hearts are hurt. Reactions CAN land on the right side of the coin by determining which audience is driving our decisions. The audience of favoritism caters to cliques; the audience of God’s favor fosters community.

Speak. Forgive. Let go.

We say, “Sorry!!” Jesus says, “Grace!!”

Happy Card Drawing!

Stay encouraged!

The Space

“Mom-can-I-be-a-milk-buyer-today?” My Kindergartener rapid-fire demanded.

“No,” I hurried, “I still haven’t put more lunch money in your account, sweetie…”

“WE DON’T HAVE TO PAY, MOM!!!” She once again informed me, with her face all scrunched up and frustrated as she reenacted her walk up to the lunch line to tell the cashier she’s a milk buyer.
imageIf only I realized, morning after hectic morning, that she was really just informing me of her intention rather than asking permission. After a semester of self-proclaimed “milk buyer” days, the bill came home in her “parent communication” folder.

I needed a serious break.

One gray Northern Ohio day after the next, my face froze as my dog’s ears flipped over in the frigid North wind off the lake. Trudging through my determination to exercise, I kept thinking about the packed suitcase waiting to be zipped up and loaded into the mini-van. My normal knack to focus on “I love the four seasons” positive thinking had faded away with the forecast for snow well into April. Robbed of a season… again. Huff.

I needed some serious sunshine …the warm kind.

In the middle of an argument about why we actually do pay for milk, it’s hard to relax. When my thoughts are literally frozen by the North wind, it’s difficult to rest in the beauty of God’s creation.

I simply get tired of trying.

 The Space gives me time to realign and rejuvenate.

1. Realignment.

If I don’t stop to be silent, I forget. The smiles behind the struggles begin to fade, and the wind rips my well-intended goal’s fortitude right out the sail.


When it’s 29 degrees and hail is falling in April, it’s hard for me to accept that I’m “right where I need to be.” When, one by one, family and friends move South, it’s hard to understand why I’m being left behind. When colleagues collect where the sun shines, it’s hard to understand why I shouldn’t move.

“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.” Hebrews 6:7

 Somehow, sitting silent on a sunny beach allowed that verse to smack the truth right back into my soul. Separated from the strife of my schedule, I could see where my heart was misaligned with God’s Word.

“Drinks the rain often falling on it…” I’m being nourished right where I am.

“…a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed..” I’m already surrounded by people to reach.

“…receives the blessing of God.” Pick me! I want that! 

With each lap of ocean surf, His creation echoed His Word. Spiritual and deep …but so is He. imageThe rambunctious rant of my daughters laughing at their Papa was sweet peace compared to the incessant whining of the “get ready for school” grind. Created in His image, we must take space to get quiet …to learn who God is… and go deep.

2. Regeneration

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

The NIV Study Bible notes that “Changed lives and works of love suggest that many of these persons were indeed regenerated.” (The author was speaking to a crowd undecided about who among them was truly “saved…” much like we unjustly take stock of each other now, isn’t it? #sidenote)

Regeneration reminds me of crab claws on the beach. A claw gets lopped off, and they grow a new one. What is God trying to reveal through a creature with this feature?

Google‘s definition of regeneration is “(of a living organism) Regrow. Bring into renewed existence; generate again.” 

imageEvery dead thought process doesn’t completely kill us. And all of our efforts to love are not erased by mistakes. I am living in Christ, so He will continue to lop off the dead and allow new growth.

Sometimes, I have to stop so God can move.

 When I’m scrambling for a solution and going after my goals, the last thing I think I need to do is relax. So, I don’t. I push, and strive, and work, and completely exhaust myself. I keep buying milk even though the lunch account is empty. If I neglect “the space” for too long, I find myself praying to inform God of what I’ve discerned rather that asking for His permission.


My good and faithful God sent a note home in my communication folder this Spring, packed my suitcase, sat me down on a Gulf Coast beach, and thawed out my doubt. His Son, Jesus, lopped off a few disconcerting thoughts and misaligned intentions. His Spirit spoke encouragement into my heart through the surf.

I’m ready to move now… right from here.

Happy Spaces…


Stay encouraged!

The Ear Muffs

Ah, summer mornings.  When I can open up the back door and let the kids out…for as long as they’ll stay out.  But, every summer, they have to re-adjust to the unexpected mass of bugs that jump out of the grass to greet them as they run around.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!   MOM!!!!  BEES!  EVERYWHERE!  GROSS!  EW! MOM!!!!”

Living by the lake has mostly advantages, but there are a few pesky things I could do without.


We have bug seasons here.  Mayflies, Muffleheads, Canadian Soldiers, Noseums…They have many names…but no matter what you call them one thing is clear.  They are annoying, and they are everywhere.  Just like the ‘summer people’ who show up in droves and forget how to drive.  (Funny, they can all find their horns, though…)

First are the Muffleheads…and I’m just going to call them what I’ve always called them even though it may not be their real name.  They gather in massive clouds around the lights at night, and swarm the grass and bushes in the morning.  They leave green spots on cars, boats, houses…anything you leave out at night.  I sympathize with my kids on this one.  I run through swarms of them in the morning, occasionally getting blasted in the back of the throat with one.  It’s tough to know whether to try to cough it up, or just swallow it and be done with it.  Gotta stick to dark pants while they’re in season, because there’s no way to avoid sitting on one.

In between bug rounds the spiders are slowly beginning to take over.  If we don’t have a professional come out and spray a few times a summer, the front door with be covered with webs by mid-June. Even with applied chemicals, anything left out in the back yard  has to be hosed off each day before the kids will go near it.  Again…can’t blame them.

After the Muffleheads come the Mayflies…or Canadian Soldiers?  I get them confused.   But, they get so bad around here they have to be shoveled off the streets in places.  Especially on the islands.  You can’t miss them, because they freeze in place when the sun comes up, wings sticking out flapping in the breeze.  Although they make for easy fishing bait, it’s nasty to hear bugs ‘POP’ under your shoes when stepped on.

Like anything, the kids become numb to the bugs after a while, and start giggling when the Muffleheads land on their arms, and quite enjoy ‘popping’ the Canadian Soldiers under their shoes.

“Mom!” Brianne laughs…” there’s an Ear Muff on my swing! ha ha ha ha!”


It’s really a mass of bugs at the lakeshore.  Biting flies, mosquitoes…all kids of stuff.

However, small price to pay to live by the beach.  And, have a constant laugh watching my girls react to constant battering of insects.  If you come up to the lake to vacation?  Buy sunscreen with bug repellent.  I can sell you some real cheap if you can’t find it.  lol.

Happy Bug Seasons!


Stay encouraged!

Ocean Motion.

Parenting is full of full circle moments.  Watching my daughter ride ‘Ocean Motion’ at Cedar Point for the first time with her hands straight up in the air is now added to my log full of those moments.

It just doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was on my first ‘Ocean Motion’ ride, totally freaked out…and definitely not sticking my hands straight up in the air.  As CP Marina people, my family and I would go to the church services inside Hotel Breakers every Sunday…and on the way back to the marina, we would all ride ‘Ocean Motion.’  AND the potato sack racing slides…but Planet Snoopy now sits where that ride once was.

Brianne and her Daddy on Ocean Motion

Lots of people call my 4- year old my ‘mimi-me,’ and to a certain extent, that’s true.  She looks exactly like I did at that age, and she’s very loud, dramatic, head-strong, and …. well, hilarious.  Her giggle attacks make me flash back to childhood in a snap.  But, one thing that sets us a part is her courage.  She doesn’t over-think or over-analyze things…she’s just simply not afraid.

Except for the occasional bad dream, which Grandpa takes away with ‘Grandpa Magic,’ she’s an extremely brave and strong little kid.  Just as soon as she is tall enough to ride a bigger Cedar Point ride, she’s in line…on the ride…hands straight up in the air.  Which is why, now that she has just cleared the height requirement for ‘Ocean Motion…’ we’ll be riding it a lot this summer.

“Mom…don’t hold on to me…mom-don’t even touch me…I’m fine.  MOM!  Am I tall enough to ride this by myself yet?”

She is so little in that big ride, I can’t help but want to hold onto her in fear that she’ll fall out!  Take her back to Jr. Gemini and let her ride that 10 more times in a row.  (I’m not exaggerating…it was actually 11 times in a row last trip in the park.  Only got off when they had to let someone else on the ride…)  Kiddie rides?  That’s getting to be too boring for her, now.

It’s all happening so fast.  And, as I watch her ride the little kid rides with her little sister…I’m struck by how little ‘little-time’ I have left with Bri.  And the ‘little-time’ I have left with Lo will go even faster, because she’s right on Brianne’s heals trying to do everything her hero, ‘Bee,’ does.

Ocean Motion.

Who would’ve ever thought it’d become a reminder to soak in every moment I get to stand outside the gate and watch my little girls have fun on rides.  Before I know it, they’ll be dragging me on rides I’m terrified of.  For now, I just get to sit back and relax…sip my coffee and let them argue over who’s going to beep the horn or ride in front.

Happy Thrill Rides…


Stay encouraged!

Think Happy Thoughts.

“DIG DOWN DEEP!!!” my daughter, Brianne, yelled out to one of the HHS runners at the first home track meet this season. It struck me so funny I collapsed onto the infield rolling in laughter.

My little runners racing each other…

She’s been around the summer 5K circuit with my mom and I since she was just a little bean sprout, and hanging out at the track since she was 18 months old.  It’s very obvious that she feels it’s ‘her turf.’  High-fiving the High Schoolers ‘Good Luck” and “Good Job”…passing out stickers…(the boy’s reactions are the best).

“Are you going to be a runner, Brianne?” I asked her.

“I already am a runner, Mom.” she stoutly replied. I mean, a couple more years and there will undoubtedly be a “Duh,Mom’ hinging on the end of that phrase.  I’m all about encouraging her interest in the sport.  I would LOVE to watch her tear up the track.  Fingers crossed….

Still, she just turned four.  Way to early to label her a runner for life yet, right? However…..

This spring she has been just as caught up in preparing to ‘win her race’ than she is with breaking in her brand new bike.  We are all forced to play starter (‘boom’ for the gunshot start included) and cheering crowd to prepare for the big day, as well.

That local summer 5K circuit I mentioned starts out every year with the Huron Lighthouse 5K in our home town. I’ve entered Brianne in the kids fun run since she was 2. That precious little toddler, putting her head down to sprint to the finish was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!!

See, in her mind, she believes herself to be equal to full grown peeps.  She pumps her arms, concentrates on her breathing…does everything she sees Grammy, Mommy,my good friend ‘Coach Dee,’ and all of the high school distance runners that we help coach, do during practices and races.  It’s hilarious to watch.  Who wouldn’t want encourage it?

My little runner, stretching with me after her first 1/2 mile run.

Never, did I think, she’d be begging me to let her run with me at four years old.  Everyday, asking if it’s warm enough to wear her new running gear that she got for her birthday.  Or, asking for new running shoes to win her ‘race’ in for her birthday.  “Really?  No American Girl doll?  You want running shoes?”

“Yep.  One’s with the pointy things sticking out of the bottom,” she specifies.

(Yes, she means spikes.)

We started running down the street and back together, and the girl looked up at me with an enormous smile the whole time.

“I’ll be damned,” I thought.  “She might just have a natural love for this.”

My little runner and I out on a cool-down run.

We ran down the street, down to Grandma’s house and back (half mile), then we decided to try a mile.  She got all decked out in her running clothes and Little Nike Runner shoes and plastered a huge smile on her face.

My little four year old ran a whole mile that day.  When she whined, I trained her to respond to “Runners don’t…”  with “quit,” and to think about happy things when it starts to hurt a little.

“Mom, when I’m running my race you gotta tell me ‘Get your butt moving!!!”  Fearing I may push her too hard, I opted not to run with her on race day.

This year, at the kids fun run…she completed the whole thing (I’m not sure it was a full mile…but she did the whole course).  Decked out in her pink running outfit and Nike running shoes…hair braided like Mommy when she runs…and a huge smile.  She didn’t care that it was only 55 degrees out.  Running tank, shorts, and Barbie socks over a couple fingers to keep warm.  She ran by me cheering for her smiling and waving…and then smiled at the other kids running with her as if they were sharing the funnest moment ever.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

As she jolted off to the finish, I had a huge lump of tears in my throat.

I scooped her up for a congratulatory hug, and when she caught her breath, she said “OK, I want my M&M’s now.” (there was a pack in our race packets.)

Talking about the race on the way home, I told her I was so proud of her that I cried happy tears the whole time she was running.  When I asked her how she felt during the race, she said…

Future 1 and 2 runners for Tigers XC 🙂

“I thought about happy thoughts, Mommy!  Like you and me going to Snoopy’s house, and riding the Jr. Gemini……”

I saw pieces of me in her today, and I’m glad they’re good pieces.

Happy Strides…


Stay encouraged!

The Stomach Drop.

It’s nice to open the day with a brisk run and a peak at the sunrise from the beach.  Having so much to be extra thankful for this morning, my thoughts drifted to this early Spring…rather…Summer…weather, and how it makes waiting for Cedar Point to open as agonizing for me as it is for my kids.  Staring at it across the water from the end of my street…I feel if I just gaze hard enough they’ll decide to open early.

Cedar Point is the best amusement park in the world.  No really.  It is…officially and stuff.  But, to me, it’s so much more than that.  More even, than all the childhood memories spent wandering within the confines of the beautiful peninsula it resides on, becoming a part of it’s every breath as an employee one summer in college, and now sharing laughs with my own kids there.   It’s a living analogy of my life.

My favorite?  ‘The Stomach Drop.’

CP has built two rides that instill fear in me.  The Top Thrill Dragster.  Sitting on it, you’re about to go 120 mph but don’t know when.  And, Power Tower.  Legs dangling at a ridiculously high height with no warning of the drop.

In that moment before take off, or drop down, I find myself so nervous and terrified…despite the fact that I’ve come out alive hundreds of times before.  Then, BAM!  My stomach drops…I swear I can feel it seeping out of my toenails…and down-or up- I go.  The ride goes by in a screaming blur, and I exit with wobbling legs.

At ‘the park,’ I’m expecting to face some fear when I enter the line to ride.  In life, fear has a tendency to smack me in the face without warning.

Every parent knows that challenges don’t happen one at a time.  They have lots of friends, and they crash the party all at once.  On the cusp of three bouts of stomach flu this week… it felt like it should be Saturday…but the calendar said Wednesday.  Add also, that after days of wondering why there was dried blood in my one-year-olds ears, the quest to unfold the mystery began with phone calls, a doctor visit, meds and ear drops.  The way things had gone this week, collided with my parental instincts at full speed  Already sleep deprived…I still felt like I was waiting for the ride to start.

I was right.

Lo Lo's poor ears...

That night in conversations amongst family, we remembered Lo Lo pulling an end table down on herself a few days ago when we were away visiting family in Findlay.  Driving to pick up dinner, a natural wave of panic rushed through me.

My stomach dropped.

It was a bad fall but yielded no bumps or bruises, so we wrote it off.  I had little time to take solace in the conversation from the pediatrician, who so graciously had patience with my obviously freaked out tone.  Just hour later, Lo Lo’s turn with the stomach flu began.

With a call back from the doctor in the morning, we began a day what should have been spent outside in 80 degree March weather inside doctor’s offices… and eventually… a hospital CT scan room.  Lo Lo had been sick with the stomach flu through the night, and we were both riding on two hours of sleep.

Through it all…my sweet little Lo giggled and bounced around as if nothing was wrong, even though she had been throwing up to the point of exhaustion just hours before, and had blood mysteriously making it’s way out of her ears.

I nervously but graciously awaited the ear specialist to make a diagnosis, juggling both of my daughter’s lack of compliance to sit still…and my oldest warning me she was about to poop.  Trying to piece together, in angst, what the conclusion my daughter’s symptoms were leading the doctor’s conclude…I heard  “….recent fall…possible base skull fracture…CT scan…put her to sleep for the test….”  The words ‘skull fracture’ began to ring in my ears, and then I got lost in the blur of my own tears welling up.  All I could manage was an “I need you now” text to my husband.

As the four of us walked into the hospital to face Lo’s test together, the power of prayer began to take over, shielding me from my own worst case scenario’s and thoughts on what it ‘could’ be.  It was a grim circumstance to hold my Lo Lo’s hand as she’s strapped down and sent through a huge machine for a CT.  But when the test was over, I felt an odd sense of calm, which was confirmed by a positive call from the doctor an hour later.  “Weird,” he said, that Lo Lo was acting like her complete happy self with her symptoms.

No skull fracture.  No ear damage.  Lots of deep breaths.

“Weird.”  I’d rather a weird mystery than the terrifying news other families in similar circumstances have to digest.

As a kid, it’s fun to push that boundary of fear on roller coasters and thrill rides.  Real life fears are much harder to look in the eye, especially with a happy temperament like Lo.  But when we prevail, God-willing, it is simultaneously empowering and humbling.

Finally having the chance to think clearly as I write this, I just remembered something my older daughter had said to me before bed the night before in response to her little sister’s ears (we had seen the doc for the first time that day)….

“I will pray for an angel to come spend the night with Lo Lo, Mommy.  I will pray that God will send an angel to stay with her aaaaallllll night long and ‘pertect’ her.”

Happy Fear-Facing…


All Better. 🙂
Stay encouraged!

Rain in the Forecast…

We’re somewhat preempted to grumble about rainy days.  Even the weather channel girl mulls over rainy forecasts, trading in her ‘sunny day’ forecast enthusiasm for a more glum tone.  Every wonder why that is?  What’s so bad about the rain?

It makes no difference to my kids what the weather is doing outside…their focus lies solely in the fact that they want to be out in it.  They aren’t worried about getting soaked, or their fingers becoming cold and pruney.  All the rain means to them is rain-boots and puddle splashing as we meander down the street.

In the grown up world, we are sometimes slightly over-informed…

There has always been, and will always be, and abundance of rain to grumble about.  Weather we hibernate inside until the sun comes out is up to us.  Fear of getting soaked to the bone has never kept me out of the rain…to the point that I remember my Mom pulling up beside my teenaged self running through a thunderstorm, asking if I wanted a ride home.  Being my Mom, she knew all too well that I meant to be out in it.  Being a good Mom, she had to make sure I was OK, anyway.

From birth on, children need their Mom’s assurance that everything is OK.  It’s evident in the look of approval my girls seek to splash in puddles…even with rain boots on.  An extra hug…a pat on the back…’Mommy Cuddles” as my older daughter says.  Kids are no more afraid to ask for extra encouragement than they are to get soaked in the rain.  Self assurance is just another basic human need.

You can learn a lot from a toddler.  How to let go and play in the rain…how much hurt a hug can heal a bruised self confidence…

But toddlers can learn a lot from us, too.  Like, how to let go and play in the rain…how much hurt a hug can heal a bruised self confidence..

We shouldn’t ever assume that just because we’re adults we need any less assurance than our kids.  It’s OK to let go and play in the rain.  To face seemingly mundane or difficult tasks…and with fearless abandon seek extra hugs of encouragement when needed.  That’s where faith kicks in, as well.

We’re all just grown up versions of the kids we once were.  Put the rain boots on and splash around.  Life if short.

Happy Splashing…


Getting splashed by the lake at sunrise.
Stay encouraged!


With toddlers, is always a new trick, right?

Lots of little kids walk on their tippy toes when they are toddlers, especially when they first learn to walk.  At least, that’s what I’ve been told…and that’s what my first daughter did.  It was one of those extremely cute ‘baby’ things that she did…and then it quickly passed and she was running down the street full speed.

My younger daughter, almost 2…is still tippy toe-ing around the house…down the street…at the store…everywhere.  She walks on her tippy toes, runs on her tippy toes, stands on her tippy toes.  It’s quickly becoming as much of a character trait as her shoulder shrugging and eye-lash batting are.  It’s probably just an extended phase…but I’m loving every sweet second of it.

I wouldn’t put it past little Lo to be on to something already.  Some kids seem to come out of the womb with a mission to do something.  For Lo, she’s been dancing…and tippy toe-ing…to her own beat since day one.  Influenced by her older sister who’s started dance class, and our nightly dance parties in the kitchen…she knows a few steps.  But, she takes it to a level that makes me wonder if she’s got a natural gift to move.

The funniest, being, when I catch her grooving down the hallway, or out of the room, without any music necessary.  Or in her car-seat, just jamming to the beat in her own little head.  She watches TV one of two ways:  sprawled out in her bean bag chair, or with one leg up on the coffee table as if she at the ballet bar.  When music IS on..look out.  Older sister Brianne will never have the spotlight all to herself again, because Lo is literally right on her heels when she’s dancing around.  Brianne spins, Lo spins.  Brianne does a shuffle step, Lo does a shuffle step.  Brianne leaps across the room, Lo leaps across the room.  You get the picture.

I thought tippy-toes would be replaced by Lo’s recent discovery of the somersault.  My 3, almost 4 year old still doesn’t somersault.  The last thing I expected Lo to do is tuck her little head…almost…under and roll onto the floor.  “How do I get her to stop doing THAT?!” I asked my Dad, who witnessed Lo’s latest feat right along with me.  Afraid she’s not going to tuck her head enough and break her little neck…rightly so as every other somersault shifts sideways…I limited her to the carpet, at least.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, seeing that Lo looks at me upside down from between her legs all the time.  Constantly bent down analyzing her toes…I think she must have just fallen all the way over one day and liked the dizzy feeling.  Who really knows.  All I know, is this flexible little groove-monster has ‘Future Dance Star’ written all over her.  The tippy-toes still trump all other tricks.  Upon entering the house…the shoes come off, followed shortly by the socks…and away she tippy-toes…scampering out of the room like a little prima ballerina.  I can’t wait to put my little tippy toe-er in dance class.  My little performer…here we go.

Happy tippy-toe-ing…


Stay encouraged!


The Star Wars Shirt.

Brianne (my almost-4-year-old) is obsessed with Star Wars. To my husband’s delight, she totes around 2 of his old Storm Trooper toys that were found at Grandma and Grandpa Bucher’s house, and refuses to answer to her own name.

“Mom, C3P0 does not want breakfast.  C3P0 is not hungry yet.  C3P0 will eat Cheerio’s later.  Mom, call me C3P0!  I’m not Brianne!  CP30 does not answer to Bubbies (her nickname).  C3P0 would like a snack, now.  C3P0 doesn’t want to go to school.  C3P0 wants to ride bikes down the street….”

On and on it goes.  She’s even got her little sister…who can barely talk…pretending to be R2D2.  “Mom!  Did you hear Lo Lo!?!? She said R2D2!!!!!”  Yay.  Sure enough, down the hall I heard the faint robot-voiced Lo Lo coming towards the kitchen.  “I um a bobot…bee bee boo boo…I um a borot…boo…I uma a bobot…R2D2”  Yay.

I’ve had a few years, now, to grow accustomed to her imaginative make believing.  But, I have to draw the line somewhere.  She’s annoying me right out of my favorite movie series.  (I had a pop-up R2D2 watch…in college…maybe this is what I get, huh?)

All day long it’s a battle between her and I.  She trying to persuade me to call her C3P0 instead of her real name.  Me, trying to think of a way to get her to lay her sales pitch to rest for 5 seconds and put her coat on to go to school…or eat breakfast…or wash her hands…get dressed…just about anything.

I really figured Star Wars would still be over her head, but man have I been proven wrong.  I found a ‘vintage’ Star Wars T-shirt at Target…with every character on it…and now have to wash her new prized possession every other day so she can wear it.  (Yes, I HAVE to…its just easier than the constant whining in my ear…it just is.)  I’m sure it will soon be paired with a tutu of some sort…give her time.

Of course, she wanted to show it off to her pre-school friends as soon as it we hit a day it was clean and ready.  Running late, she decided to race her best bud into school today and fell down…a tragedy that- for a moment- overshadowed the excitement of revealing C3P0 and the gang on her new shirt.  After a 10 minute consoling session trying to convince her that she should still go to school (literally just a scratch…not even a speck of blood…and she inspected it for some…believe me.)…I finally remembered to channel the power of the force.

“But, Brianne, your new Star Wars shirt…don’t you want to show everyone?”  I said.

My, how fast the tears dried up, the winter coat came off…and she proudly entered the classroom.  “What’s that?” her best friend said.  “Oh, don’t worry,” I thought to myself.  “By the end of class she’ll have you calling her C3P0…or she’ll be mad at you because you refuse to.”

Her Daddy thinks it’s hilarious, for many reasons, I’m sure.  And I can’t help but catch the slight tinge of relief in his voice at the sound of her begging to be called C3P0…and little robot Lo “bee-booping” in the background.  He must be thanking God his entire existence will not be full of pastels, princesses, tutu’s, and Barbies.  There will be fleeting moments when his little girls will be begging him to get his old Star Wars toys down out of the attic…instead of Mommy for her Barbies and Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls (which, thanks to an inaugural thrift store trip we will be doing today…).

Riding a really old tricycle at the thrift store...wearing her Star Wars shirt, of course.
Riding a really old tricycle at the thrift store...wearing her Star Wars shirt, of course.

I’m glad he gets a taste of it…passing down your own toys to your kids.  Watching them be excited about the things you once were fascinated with.  Toys you took care of, and couldn’t wait to show your friends.  It’s a big way we connect with our kids.  It’s why every parent tears up at the end of Toy Story 3…oh, don’t lie about it.  It’s true.  Aware that I’m a broken record, I’m going to say it again.  Time is fleeting.  Fast.

Even though I get frustrated with the robot talk and the alter robot egos around here…I’ll pacify them, and eventually cave.  My daughter knows when she’s frustrating me.  It’s her job to find those buttons and push them, I guess.  But it’s the bond that forms when she knows I’m tolerating it anyway…playing along even though I really don’t feel like it…that makes it all worthwhile.

That, and the photos I’ll have of Brianne and Lauren dressed up as C3P0 and R2D2 this Halloween.  Yeah, we pick out our costumes early around here…

Let the Force be with you…


Stay encouraged!