A Mother’s Prayer

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about praying for our kids. She shared a prayer list* that she’s kept in her Bible for many years, although she memorized the words long ago. I thought it was a beautiful reminder of the blessings we as moms want for our children. 

Each day, remember to pray for…

Physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

An abiding sense of safety and security.

Courage to face the problems of each day.

A calm spirit to hear the voice of the Lord.

A willingness to obey.

A clear mind, both to learn and to recall.

A generous spirit toward family and friends.

Wise teachers, mentors, and counselors.

Unshakeable self worth and personal dignity.

Eternal salvation and a home in heaven one day.

As I read through her list, I realized that I have a prayer list of my own, but I’ve never written it down in such an organized way. I’ve kept a prayer journal for some time, so I can look back and see God’s hand at work. If you look through my journal, there are some things I pray for consistently… so often that I’ve developed a kind of shorthand.

That their hearts, minds, and bodies would remain pure, and that they would grow to understand what a precious gift they have been given.

That God’s voice will be louder than any of the other voices that compete for their attention each day.

That He would bring Christian friends into their lives who they can truly rely on and learn with.

That they would be unashamed of the Gospel, and that they will have the opportunity, desire, and strength to share their faith with others.

That the Lord would reveal their weaknesses and help them become strengths.

That they would make an authentic connection with their Savior. That He would be real to them, and that they would be able to talk with Him like they would to a friend.

What is on your prayer list? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

*I’ve looked for the original source, but so far, I haven’t been able to uncover it, so if this is familiar to you, please let me know!

Raising a Reader

Let the Madness Begin

Today I am thankful that we have a working shower and hot water heater.

I’ve spent most of the day cleaning. Not because my house was so dirty (although, ahem, it could use some help, too). But because I told my kids that they needed to get rid of the things they’re not using. We start this massive annual declutter every November in preparation for the holidays and the new year. I am trying to declutter our entire house, and convince the others who live here that we need to be less attached to things.

Their goal this year was 30 items each. 7 year old Charlotte reached her’s easily, because, while she may have a ton of stuffed animals and Littlest Pet Shop pets, she doesn’t have a lot of junk. I convinced her that she didn’t need 5 pillow pets (thanks, grandma) and that some of her toys were just not being used or in very good shape, even though she’s taken good care of them. It did take a little prodding, but she did the bulk of the work herself.

My 9 year old son is another story.

Despite a warning not to do this, his first offering included 5 broken toys, 10 pieces of broken toys, and some tortured little green army men.  His next two attempts were not much better. I ended up doing a massive clean up (and yes, he was right there alongside me) getting rid of all the trash he and his brother have accumulated in their room, discarding broken toys, and serving as the judge of what they would keep and what they would donate. By the time we were done, I was in a rotten mood. It really bothers me how carelessly they treat their things, when I know that there are so many kids who have so little. It makes me wonder where I have gone wrong as a parent.

How do you deal with this in your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

There’s a Party in My Tummy

So yummy! So yummy!

Custom cake by Shaleigh.

Today was the baby’s first birthday party and I still have Yo Gabba Gabba decorations in my kitchen. Just so you know, they’ll probably still be up until Thanksgiving. The baby, the kids, and the rest of the family had a great time. So did I, but I’m glad to have my house back.

I still can’t believe my baby is almost a year old.

 

Equality

In preparation for the baby’s first birthday party, I’m trying to get some pictures up on the hallway wall. You know, that gallery space that I’ve been avoiding for about 18 months.

Why? Because of equality.

I’m a photographer. Because of that, the two middles were heavily photographed when they were younger. I mean, like, formal portraits at least once a month, and candids weekly. I have boxes and boxes of prints from each of their first five years, and in my old house, my entire wall gallery was devoted to these two. I also used them both for studio samples, so I have several ginormous (really, like 30×40) canvas wall portraits of each of them. And where are all of these pictures now? In the hall closet, in archival boxes or high up on a shelf to avoid water damage in case of a broken pipe. (Yes, I’m that kind of planner).

The biggles were not as well photographed. I’m not just referring to quality. They’re not all “just” snapshots . I’m referring to quantity. And to the way those photographs were preserved. Most of the pictures we have were treated pretty poorly… shoved into drawers or on to shelves, bent, water damaged from spills. They have not been as lovingly preserved, and next to the middles pictures, they look pretty forlorn.

photo by thebrowser.com

So I have avoided the issue.

The living room gallery space is a good example of why. I knew that I had to have an equal number of photos of each kid, and made myself sick stressing out over which ones to choose. I knew that if I put them up, that someone would complain about being underrepresented. And sure enough, one of the biggles came in before I was finished hanging them and left the room in tears, because “her family” was not as represented. I took all new photographs for that wall and printed them all in black and white, to be as fair and balanced as possible. Once it was done, the tears were over. But it really drove home that I wasn’t just worried about a “what if.”

So now I’m pouring over our collected photographic history, trying again for equality. Trying to avoid bad feelings. Trying not to do anything that will strain anyone’s relationships. Trying to figure out how to display some of my cherished treasures from the middles and the baby’s babyhood without it being obvious that we don’t have much from the biggles.Trying to remember what is truly important here and trying not to fall into frustration.

I know that I’m not the only parent from a blended family that has faced this. How have you dealt with these issues of inequality in your homes?

#whyIwrite : Because I must.

Today is the National Day on Writing, an opportunity for writers all over the world to share why they write.  And today is also the first day I’ve missed my morning writing time in weeks. Now that I’m home, our schedule is completely messed up… I’ve let myself sleep 30 minutes later, thinking it will make a difference, and it has. But not a positive one. I find I’m a little behind all day, trying to catch up on the baby’s schedule and still get us to wherever we need to be.  How did I do all this when I worked 60 hours a week? I know that this week will be an adjustment, and that next will be better because we will have settled into a routine. But I also look at this as a time to make sure that routine really works for both of our needs and worry that if we get too far off track this week, we’ll be starting a pattern that will cause problems later.

So back to the theme of the day. Why do I write?

I write because I must.

It’s a form of therapy. One that doesn’t cost money, although it is not cheap.  Writing costs time, and as a very busy mom, time is a luxury that is always scarce. However, I find that if I start my day with some quiet time — time to just write and work through whatever is on my mind — I am much more focused and relaxed throughout the day. If I miss my writing time, I tend to feel frazzled and stretched too thin.

But to me writing is more than just a therapeutic tool. It’s a compulsion. It’s a record of my life — of who I am. I could no more stop writing than stop breathing. If you look in my storage boxes in the attic, you’ll find they’re full of notebooks, index cards, church bulletins filled with notes, scraps of paper with poems and scribbles… my collected bits of writing from the past 25 years.

And ultimately, I write because it’s a legacy to leave for my children. Not just the notebooks filled with thoughts and dreams — the actual practice itself. Both of my children have been writers since they were very young, and both consider writing a possible future career choice. If I pass on one habit to my kids, I hope it’s a lifetime of daily writing. That alone is worth giving up that extra half hour of sleep in the mornings.

What about you?  Why do you write?