Caitlyn’s First Steps

29 Apr

Caitlyn 9 bdayThe LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

—Exodus 34:6 NLT

April 22nd, 2015, marked a birthday for my daughter and an anniversary for me. Caitlyn turned nine-years-old. I have now been a mother for exactly nine years and nine months.

As I have watched both of my children grow through the years, a thought has played on repeat in my mind: I had no idea how much power I had over my mother and father.

It’s true. My children hold the power of my very well-being in their small hands; my heart is stretched out and woven through their little fingers. A goofy grin or tear-stained face can change my mood in an instant.

Some of the brightest mountain-top moments over the past nine years are framed as a “first:” first word, first crawl or the first day of school.

Recently I thought about Caitlyn’s first steps.

We were at a family gathering, celebrating the April and May birthdays. That’s when my daughter—who’s never met an audience she didn’t love—chose to make her walking debut.

The family was sitting in a circle around the living room and Caitlyn had all eyes on her. So far, she had done nothing more than stand-and-release. Pull herself up with a walker, let go, wobble a bit, and grab back onto the toy.

Suddenly, she got brave.

(more…)

Forgive Like Mo’

24 Mar

mone davis

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.”

—Matthew 18:21-22 HCSB

What were you doing at age thirteen?

I lived on Churchill Street in Shoreview, Minnesota. My best friends were Jenny Wagner, Molly Benson, and Nicole Sekeres. I loved Debbie Gibson, Bon Jovi, and Tiffany equally, and I wanted to be a singer.

My friend Dawn Kuechle had the VHS tape of Dirty Dancing, which we watched every time I spent the night at her house. When I was thirteen I liked a boy named Leon and rode my bike everywhere I went.

Life was simple.

Life is a little more complicated for a sweet thirteen-year-old girl named Mo’ne Davis.

The young Ms. Davis was thrust into the spotlight at age twelve when she led her baseball team to the Little League World Series, and as Wikipedia® states, “the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout in Little League World Series History.”[i]

Davis’ fastball is a whopping seventy-miles-per-hour—head and shoulders above her age group’s average. She excels at all things athletic, football and basketball included. Perhaps the most notable of her achievements is the cover of the August 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated, a first for a Little League player.

All that is nice, but all that is nothing compared to what she did on Monday, March 23rd, 2015. (more…)

The Broken Antenna

17 Mar

 

“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?”

—Deuteronomy 4:7 NASB

broken antennaIn an article posted on ChristianityToday.com, columnist Andy Crouch observes that “an American 13-year-old today has never known a day without the Internet, mobile technology, and social media. He or she started kindergarten the year the iPhone was released and Facebook opened its site to the public.”[i]

Neither my daughter nor my son learned the art of stretching the phone cord as far as it can possibly go to get as far as you can possibly get from adult ears while actually talking—a lost art in itself—on the phone.

They have always been able to talk to out-of-state relatives face-to-face via computer, rather than wait until after seven o’clock for the long distance rates to go down.

They have only known google maps, never had to search for the mapsco coordinates, or, better yet, never tried to fold the road atlas back up the way it initially was.

Their memories of combing the aisles at the video store are foggy at best, and they have never known anything other than the crystal-clear, high-def picture of the skinny flat-screen TV.

If you are of my era you remember the rabbit ears.

The first TV I can recall was black and white with two knobs – one for channels 2-13 (VHF) and the other for channels 14-83 (UHF). If memory serves, the UHF channels were about as useless as a white crayon on butcher paper, offering only squiggly lines and static.

I remember moving the antenna every-which-way to get the clearest picture possible of the Brady Bunch, one of two after school programs offered between three and four pm. I also remember when the antenna broke.

Try as we might to make a coat hanger work, once the antenna was broken, the TV was useless. We could get sporadic bursts of sound, but no picture reception whatsoever.

It was after the loss of a cherished friend I realized that, just like my family’s old television set, you and I have broken antennas. (more…)

The Spiritual Detox

30 Jan

 

Detox:detox

Syllabification: de·tox

Verb:

Abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.[i]

 

I am not one to jump on the fad bandwagon. I was the last girl in my sorority to own a pair of Birkenstocks (and the last to give them up – what happened to birks?). Uggs had been gracing the feet of celebrities and the pages of magazines a full decade before I surrendered (love ‘em).  I still maintain yoga pants are strictly for yoga, and I don’t own a pair of ankle boots.

I am not one to lead the pack when it comes to trendiness.

Except with the detox cleanse.

As soon as my girlfriends started talking about it I was in.

It sounded so good, so simple. Three days of no food, no caffeine, and no soda. Any time you feel hungry or thirsty, you drink a strange concoction of water, lemon, ginger, and something greenish, and when you’re done you have completely rid yourself of impurities and toxins.

They also said it gave you younger looking skin.

Say no more.

I picked up the supplies from the grocery store, staring uncertainly at the small pile of ingredients that was supposed to sustain me for the next three days. A period of time, by the way, that sounded much shorter when my girlfriend was enthusiastically boasting of the detoxification benefits.

So I did it.

Until ten o’clock that morning.

By ten a.m. the hunger pains were nearly as sharp as the withdrawal headache hammering away at my skull as my body angrily protested the caffeine depravation.

Detoxing is for the birds, I thought to myself as I grabbed a cup of coffee and a bagel.

I thought about the detox cleanse one morning as I was journaling.

We can detox our bodies so easily, I scribbled. How do we detox our minds?

The jury is out on how much good a detox does for the body. God created our bodies in such a manner that, when stewarded properly, they are literal detox machines. Our minds are far more complicated.

Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

—Galatians 5:26 NASB

It started with a Facebook post.

She had a victory; a big, fat, juicy, hard-earned win.

She was a casual acquaintance, and I paused before I posted a congratulatory comment.

I paused because I was ashamed. You see, my first thought – the very first emotion that bubbled up inside of me, was not delight.

It was disappointment. It was of instant comparison, finding myself to be less, and discouragement.

Nearly a lifetime of knowing and loving the Lord, over fifteen years of intense Bible study, and my first thought was one of envy.

I hate that part of me.

I hate telling you about that part of me even more. (more…)

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