Why I’m Glad My Kid Doesn’t Believe in Santa @ Huffington Post Parents

My bouncy-haired daughter ran up to me more excitedly than usual, tightly hugged my legs, and with eyes shrink-wrapped in tears declared, “I told them you weren’t dead!” Wait, what?! I had just arrived at her preschool after trying to teach hormone-saturated junior high students all day. My mind was not prepared for that deeply relieved, but curiously arresting greeting.

She explained, “I told my friends that Santa was dead, and they told me you were dead.”

Who knew 3-year-olds could retaliate with such malice? These tots weren’t messing around when it came to Santa. I bent down, pulled her into my arms, and asked her why she thought Santa was dead. She explained that she figured it out the night before when we told her the story of St. Nicholas. We told her when, where, and how he lived, and SHE deduced that if he lived centuries ago, then he must be dead now. I was impressed. That was some high-level reasoning for my not-quite-4-year-old. I was also wondering if I would be receiving phone calls from the irate parents of the children who would rather see ME dead, than Santa.

Our first of four kids and precocious to boot, we were still working out how exactly to handle the Santa mythos. It seemed she had decided for us. So, I began the conversation I’ve had with her every year since her revelation. “Sweetheart, yes, Santa is a fictional representation of a real man who loved people well. Yes, there are a lot of legends that surround his iconic character, but we let other parents explain that to their children. Did you hear me? It would be better for you to let other parents teach their kids about Santa.”

To which she usually looked incredulously at me and said, “But… He is NOT ALIVE anymore.”

After years of conversations like this, with me staring at her blankly and muttering, “I know, but still… I don’t know what to tell you. Let their parents handle it.” I’ve decided I’m done. While I will continue advising her to be wise about who and how she shares this with, I walk away feeling foolish when I tell her DO NOT. I wonder whether I should silence a child who is passionate about authenticity, and fear what I might be teaching her by doing so… Continue reading at Huffington Post Parents

 

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I Will Not Fear the Election This November

My husband and I recently escaped cloud-covered Oregon for a quick anniversary trip to the middle of the desert. We had plans to stay in Las Vegas, with a day’s trip to the Grand Canyon. In the middle of the dry and the desolate, man has crafted a place where lights and golden-gilding cover luxurious arch ways ushering people into glossy portrayals of Dante’s nine circles.

In timeless, windowless, oxygen-infused casinos where multisensory stimulation waits around every corner, it is easy to forget both sun and moon, and just keep going, eyes wide, watching the continuous show. One night, we stepped out onto the Stratosphere’s balcony and took the whole scene in from a bird’s eye view. Standing tall in the skyline among the other pleasure palaces was a white and gold tower with one of the two leading Presidential candidates emblazoned upon it. We watched as a bungee jumper took her place on a platform and threw herself off the side of Vegas’ highest tower, trusting that the cords would do their job….Read more at Venn Magazine.

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.

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