As a parent, I fret over the small stuff. Oh, I invest plenty of hours praying over the major details. But I major in the minors, as they say. I police the perimeters, knowing that prayer, my attentiveness, and a whopping dollop of grace goes a very long way indeed in cultivating spirits that eagerly desire to live and serve the Lord, and others.  “It’s not the eruption,” I tell myself often, “It’s the tremors signaling the build-up.”

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The Inevitable

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We don’t get to decide which things will mean the most to us, or be held in our heart as symbols. Sometimes we know, in the moment, that this thing we’re seeing will stay with us forever. Or we receive a gift, or hear a song, and know it will be linked, always, to a place and a time, or even a feeling. But to choose it in advance? It’s a haphazard thing, not an art at all. Meaning comes with time, and only time can give it the richness our heart wants to hold.

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That’s Phineas

It’s only Wednesday, but already it’s been a tough week for Phineas. Come to think of it, last week wasn’t so great either.

It feels like everywhere he turns lately, he’s pushing the limits, and not necessarily in a Chuck Yeager “I’m gonna break the sound barrier” kind of way. He’s been obstinate, disobedient, just down right naughty. Continue reading

Outdoors with Jack…despite a downpour!

Just this past weekend, my 15-year-old son and I spent a night and day searching for a little white box in the woods during an ongoing downpour.

I can think of about a million more things that might have been more comfortable — even at moments more enjoyable — than getting soaking wet, but, as members of the Civil Air Patrol, we were training for search-and-rescue missions in the wild woods of Tennessee.

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Parenting: no guarantees

I remember the moment I realized that parenting wasn’t something that came with guaranteed results. My husband had just returned to work, leaving me alone for the first time with our week-old daughter. I had bathed her, fed her, and, in a flurry of optimism, placed her in her crib so that I might shower.

Within ten minutes, the entire exercise culminated with me crying, covered in delightfully fluid newborn poo, and my baby screaming as if someone was holding her finger in an electric socket.

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War and peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi

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