Saturday, August 22, 2009

Us and Them

I don’t like to think of myself as a person with prejudices. I don’t think many of us do, and yet lately I’ve been struck by how often I put people in “boxes” and label them without even knowing them.

Boxes like:
Working mom

The list goes on. Your list may look different than mine, but we all have them. Maybe you classify people based on race or gender or socioeconomic status. And as much as we know that these labels are not helpful, and certainly not the way Jesus rolls, we do it—many times unconsciously. Becoming aware of it is often the first stop toward changing. (And now I’ll stop being all Dr. Philish. I promise.)

I’ve recently jumped categories. From stay-at-home mom to part-time working mom. I took a part-time job at a Music and Art Academy working a few evenings a week and the occasional Saturday. And I love it.

I’ve been working from home for awhile now, but I love actually GOING to work. Leaving my house and looking nice and talking to real live people. Not to mention starting a project and finishing it from beginning to end with very little interruption. It’s a beautiful thing.

And with the boys back in school, I’m aware of the other big label—especially in the Christian community: public school mom versus homeschool mom.

How many times have I sat in a circle of well-intentioned women and heard someone make an off-hand comment, “Well, it’s a sacrifice, but I just love Johnny so much, I COULDN’T send him to public school!” And as a public school mom, I’m sitting there thinking about how much I LOVE my kids and am doing what I believe is best for them. Did that homeschooling mom intend to slam me? Probably not. But in our judgment of the “other” we unintentionally hurt one another.

So, Moms. Can we try to lose the labels? Can we all work together and trust that we’re all doing what we feel is best for our kids? After all, we all have the same goal: to raise healthy, happy kids who are productive members of society.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

new blog

One of the amazing writers in my critique group, Kathy Bolduc, is blogging!

Kathy is a talented author and a deep thinker. Do me a favor and go check out her blog and leave her a comment with your very best blogging advice!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

back to school

I can’t believe summer break is over and the boys head back to school tomorrow. The noisy boys are looking forward to second grade, and the toddler can hardly wait to start preschool. (I guess we can call him “the preschooler” now!)

We’re all ready. I love the early-to-bed, early-to rise routine of the school year. (Or, at least, I love the memory of it. Ask me in two weeks how I feel.) The lists by the door. The new pencils and notebooks and markers. Our daily walk back and forth with the other kids in the neighborhood. New teachers to get to know. Old relationships to build on.

And, of course, the lunches. We don’t have hot lunch at our school, so we pack lunches every day. My goal this year is to get the noisy boys more involved with the packing and decision making. If you’re looking for creative and healthy lunch ideas, check out the Kitchen Stweardship blog. She’s compiled a great list of fun and nutritious on-the-go food.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I need you

“Mommy, I need you!” The toddler grabs my cheeks in his hands and pulls my face toward his.

“Mom? Can you help me?” Twin A. calls out an hour later. With his broken arm, it’s hard to navigate the dark upstairs to use the bathroom.

Never mind that it’s the middle of the night.

Have you ever noticed how children don’t ever consider what may be convenient for a parent? They never think, “Wow. It’s 2 a.m. Maybe I should just try to deal with this terrible nightmare by myself.” Of course not. (Or at least not in my house!) They cry and call out for mom or dad, and one of us shows up at their bedside.

I’m so reluctant to ask for help from anyone—friend, neighbor, even God Himself. I try to do as much as I can on my own before I even think to ask for help. And yet I believe God delights in our childlike trust when we call out to Him first.

I didn’t do much for the toddler in the middle of the night. I let him hold my face for a few minutes as he said, “I need you, I need you, I need you.” I told him he’d be fine and gave him a kiss and told him to go back to sleep. That’s all.

Sometimes it’s enough just to know we’re not alone—especially when we feel needy.

How can you reach out for help this week? Do you trust that God will be present with you as you cry out to Him?

Monday, August 3, 2009


We’ve had quite a bit of excitement around our house. Too much, really. Thankfully, things have settled down. Twin A. is healing just fine, and doing great. (Thank you for praying, friends.)

I’m at one of my favorite writing retreats ever, hosted by The Writing Academy. This community of writers has blessed me in too many ways to count. And it truly is a community—they’ve been meeting together every year for over thirty years. And still they welcome me warmly into their community and put up with all my talk of blogs and twitter and networking.

During open mic night, I timidly read a chapter from the young adult novel I’m working on. (I scanned it carefully to make sure there were no swear words!) I didn’t dare look up, but when I finally did, people were wiping away tears and grinning. The next person got up to read and gestured to me and declared, “This is the future of the Academy!”

No pressure.

The theme this weekend is “Apples of Gold,” taken from Proverbs 25:11. (A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.) As a part of the weekend, we were each given thirty beautiful stamped note cards and asked to write a word of encouragement for each of our fellow WAMS.

I just finished reading mine, and…I’m speechless. Oh, the power that exists in our words. Power to bless or curse. Today, the blessing overwhelms me.

Surround yourself today by people who can speak a word of life into your soul. And through your words, breathe life into the people around you. You will be blessed.