Should I Choose Independence Over Love?

When we started dating he didn’t realize what a battle it would be. My husband had to fight for me. Not against dragons, overbearing family members, or even other men. The struggle that confronted him came from me. I loved my independence and it seemed like folly to sacrifice it for a relationship, even one that met all the essentials on my list. Most of all, when I had given myself over before, it had crashed, burned, and wounded me. Somewhere within I made a vow: I would never give power or control over to anyone but God. He was the only One who could be trusted.

Thankfully, God granted my husband the perseverance and tenacity to scale the walls I had built up around my life, and he called me out on my fear. If there was one thing I hated more than putting power in the hands of another human it was living a fear-filled life. I would do neither, and there in the midst of what looked to be a promising coupling,  my two inner oaths collided. After many close calls, a summer spent on my own abroad, and several “God confrontations,” I finally became determined to choose trust over fear.

I made new vows:

To have and to hold…

…in sickness and in health…

…till death do us part.

The first couple years…continue reading at Venn Magazine.

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Holding On & Letting Go (for PMB)

I know she is growing up, but as I witnessed her pulling out the summer peppers and preparing for their forthcoming carving, I was both impressed and saddened that she didn’t need my help. Still young, but the oldest of four, my daughter removed the stem ends, sliced the pepper’s ribs from the sides, and pushed the seeds away. Scrutinizing each step as she carefully and craftily proceeded, constructing and cooking lamb piperade for dinner. I stood off to the side as she deftly handled the blade, and acknowledged that just because she is able to keep her fingers from the edge of the knife doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous when she is handling things that could harm her.

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Peel. Chop. Sauté.

Disgust crosses her young face. It is time to handle the lamb. She asks for help, not because she needs it to get the job done, but because she hates the feel of raw meat. I join her, finally invited into the space she has set apart to create and compose the dish. The time of spending every moment together has long past; it has given way to school, books, and her own personal preferences. She no longer needs her mama to entertain her, groom her, or feed her. It brings great freedom to us both, but I have begun to see how I will need to hang on to her as she lets go of me… Continue reading at The Portland Moms Blog.

I Tried to Avoid Change but it Finally Found Me-@Venn Magazine

“Everything was different. The life I had planned out was gone, stripped away by my own foolishness and the anger of the one I fled. I peeled away the cushions from my mother’s couch so that I could have a place to sleep. The plop of each pillow onto the familiar floor reminded me I had failed. I was safe. I was back. I was not unaware of how fortunate I am to have a family that, though they warned my decision to leave was perilous, still welcomed my prodigal self back through the front door.

I had panicked. After high school the world expanded, so I bonded myself to the one thing I thought I knew — a boy, no wiser than myself. I figured we would be able to walk together into whatever life had. Instead we tore each other apart. The unknown had tempted me into trying to create a life I could control and taught me the lesson of mice and men.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”
-Robert Burns (To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough)

The happiness I thought I could secure by padding my transition into adulthood was laden with folly, but it also led to a transformation I treasure to this day. It thrust me into the arms of my Jesus, and the humble acknowledgement that God is God and I am not. I have found that transition can torture or transform. Sometimes it does both.

Progression is not something always welcomed or expected. Love finds us when we least desire it. Illness, accidents, or tragedy can change everything without warning. We begin to feel proficient at tapping our foot along to the rhythm of life only to find the tune changing, leaving us lost and off-beat…Read more at Venn Magazine

Lift

This is a Five Minute Friday post. Where I link up with other writers at Kate Motaung’s and we free write for five minuets. It is simple, it is unedited, and it is fun. Our prompt this week is lift

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens.

I will lift others up. I will not tear down. My words will not heap weight onto the shoulders of others, but I will use my speech to help slay the chains that keep people from moving forward. I will bear the burdens and come along side to aid in  lifting the life that cannot be born alone.  For, others have lifted me. They have raised me up and kept me from drowning. They have taught, were patient, and suffered as I insisted on diving into waters I could not swim alone. There were those who fought to give me the vote, those who said women should learn too, and there is the ultimate liberator who set my soul free—Jesus. The God who came down into a broken world lifted His cross to die so that I may live, so I will lift mine. Whatever cross I come to I pray God gives me the strength to lift.

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The Promise of Peace

I have had to stay off social media more than normal this week. There was too much needed discussion about “rape culture” and “hook up culture”. Every time I logged on I felt a weight of concern for so many women for whom I knew the threads of awareness would be a trigger. Who am I kidding, I had to check my own emotions as well. I am not typically susceptible to triggers. The healing I have experienced reaches deep and wide, but every once in a while old experiences and memories sneak up on me.

Then a singer was slain, and the next morning Orlando. Oh Orlando, how I wished I had words that in some way, in any way might be helpful. I wanted to cry out, but for some things there are no words.

fruit of the spirit peace (1)In all the stripping away, in the weeping with those who weep, in the dark night of the soul’s grief—when the brokenness of the world has become too brazen—peace is not completely lost.

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.~ Jesus (John 16:33)

There is a God who is bigger, a story that looms larger than the horror, and a peace that meets inner turmoil with the hope that this world has been overcome. Society breaks down; people suffer (or worse, serve) terror; there is much that is troubling to the soul. Peace can still be mine. It is a promise from the Savior who knew that darkness would persistently press in.

…Continue reading at Anchored Voices

7 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Full-Day Kindergarten

Nope, not going to happen” was my consistent response to my husband when he put homeschooling on the table. He always reminded me that I have a Masters of Science in Education, and I would remind him of my spastic organizational skills. Privatized education, at-home learning, and the public education system; we explored them all, landing on the path we both walked as kids, public school.

I have escorted three of my children through the doors of elementary school, and left them for hours. With my oldest two it was only for two hours and 45 minutes. But this year I sent my five-year-old darling away for the whole day. For the 2015-16 school year, Oregon joined a slew of other states implementing full-day kindergarten, and it touts a banquet of benefits. There is more routine, better opportunity for social development, and longer instruction time for to the newest generation entering academia.

Our children are still learning to brush their hair, but we are asked to send them away for the entire day. Are they ready? Here are some tips from the trenches, and some recommendations from the lovely woman who spends 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with my daughter; one of your very own Oregon full-day kindergarten teachers.

  1. Wean Your Would-be Kindergartner From NapsPrep for full-day Kindergarten

Trust me, I begrudgingly enforced this last summer, but I can’t imagine how my daughter would have done in full-day kindergarten if I hadn’t. She was falling asleep when she got home into October, and once she even fell asleep in class. I told her she doesn’t need to be embarrassed, but we need to stay awake to learn. I empathize, and tell her it used to happen to me all the time. I just don’t let her know I was in high school.

  1. Count All the Things! At least up to 20

1…2…3…apples, books, or people in line in front of us. You can practice this skill virtually anywhere. Equipping your emerging learner with the skill of counting to 20 will have them ready to take on the world of mathematics…Continue Reading @ The Portland Moms Blog.

Heroes Among Us @Venn Magazine

Standing in hero headquarters at Disneyland, I was immersed in all things Avengers. We inspected Iron Man suits, and beheld the mighty weapons of Asgard. And there, surrounded by the fictitiously fantastic, I wondered: “What a world of heroes would really look like?”

More and more, prime time and the big screen are filled with superpowered (Superman, The Flash, or Thor) or super-gadgeted (Batman, Iron Man, Ant-Man) heroes. Maybe America is caught up in the superhero craze because we want a hero, but we only want those we can’t be compared to. Of course we can’t have Tony Stark’s suit, or transform from the featherweight Steve Rodgers to the noble Captain America. And we can’t be Superman, because…well, we’re not aliens.

One of the common themes in every superhero tale is that heroes are feared. The fictional worlds, just as our present world, are filled with evil and need the supernatural to step in and bring justice. Yet, the human characters are afraid of power they do not understand. So they try to limit it. It is clear that mankind struggles with the concept of power higher than their own…read more at Venn Magazine.