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Real Courage

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on April 11, 2014 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)


Courage in little boys is raw heart muscle, doing hard things.

Courage is Holy Spirit power wrapped in young flesh.  

Daniel in the lions' den, David walking out to face Goliath,

Caleb and Joshua calling out to their generation,

"Be Strong in the Lord!"  


Tomorrow Brody represents his school at a county-wide speech meet.  My gangly, speech impaired 8 year old, will stand before a room full of adults and deliver his memorized piece.  And he's going to do GREAT!  Tonight, however, my mind is cycling through all the pre-school and kindergarten concerts where he scowled out at the audience and mouthed the words in an exaggerated display, "Take. Me. Home. Now."


Brody has a metal expander on the bottom of his mouth under his tongue, and another across the roof of his mouth, and braces too.  Even if his r's and l's were perfect, his entire mouth is full of metal.  But tomorrow he will purpose to swallow down all the spit in his mouth, take a deep breath, look out into the crowd, and introduce himself.


Courage is heart muscle, doing hard things!


The night before Valentine's Day I put all three boys down to bed early.  The next day would include crazy amounts of sugar and artificial food dyes, which really rev my kids up.  A good night's sleep would help them with impulse control amidst the next day's sugar induced fun at school.  Also, our boys had all been sick, and a good night's sleep was in order.  And last but not least, I had a few more Valentine's Day decorations to hang.  At 10:45pm, before I dragged myself to bed, I checked on my guys only to find Brody pacing his room, looking over his personal stash of temporary tattoos, stickers and action figures spread across the floor.  "What are you doing, Brody?"  I sighed.


His eyes immediately filled with tears, "I need to have things for my class, lots of special things."


"But we already have fun-dips packed up in your backpack.  Those are the best Valentine's of all... they are pure sugar!"


"It's not enough..." he went on, "I need more..."  


"Why?  Why do you need more?"


"They've helped me find everything.  They deserve it."


Oh, my Breaking-Mama heart!  It made sense then, so I hugged him close, still not sure he was fully awake.  Brody had just started at this new school, mid-semester, and the stress of the transition tumbled out with tears.  "They've helped me every day, and been so nice to me.  I need to give them something really special."  


"Yes,," I agreed.  "They've all been so kind and helped you find your way around school, so you want to say thank you and give them a little something extra."  He nodded up against my belly.  "Crawl into bed and I'll go see if I can find a little something extra for you to give your class."


I came back with a bag of chocolate coins wrapped in red and silver foils.  "I bought these for you and your brothers, but if you want to write your name on each one with a sharpie and drop it in with your valentine then you may." The tears ceased.  It was then he looked out of his room and saw the red heart balloons that filled our kitchen, and he smiled.  "Brody, you've been so courageous to go to this new school.  Every day you've hoped out of the car with a smile and had a great attitude.  I know this teacher moves quickly from one subject to another, and we never went that fast in our homeschool, but you've been so brave!"  His eyes were still on the heart balloons down the hall.  "Why don't you go put one of those balloons and a chocolate coin on each of your brother's bed side tables as a surprise for the morning.  


"Can they be from me?"


"You bet they can!"


He finished his business as cupid and was asleep under the covers before I made it to my room.  As I laid in my bed later, I was impressed with the courage my tender-hearted middle-child has displayed these past couple of months.  He didn't want to go to this school, but he needed to be there.  And I thought of Courage - what it really is, and what it is not.  Courage is not doing something that is difficult for others, courage is doing something that is difficult for the one doing it.  And courage isn't just doing what is hard, but knowing that it is hard, wishing it didn't have to be done, but submitting to the hard.  Like Jesus, before He was betrayed, praying that the Father would remove the cup from before Him.  Though, "Not My will, but Thine be done," he submitted to His Father.  


Courage.  


A few years ago Brody competed in a County Rodeo as a Mutton Buster.  Like Bucking' Broncos, but bucking' sheep.  Little boys and girls, dressed in jeans, boots, and helmets, exploded out of a miniature shoot on the back of a wholly mammal. 


Courage.


He took an early nap that day, and woke up with the most serious expression I ever saw.  He didn't speak all afternoon as I dressed him in his starched blue wranglers and took him to his first Rodeo.  We checked in, pinned his number on his back, and I gave him a lollipop.  Still not a peep.  I'd never seen anything like it.  


Courage.


At the end of the ordeal, when all was said and done, and he was wearing a man-size belt buckle for finishing first, he whispered "I was so scared."  


Courage.  Doing something that frightens you, but you "Cowboy Up!"  Courage.




I've been feeling God call me to do something I'm scared of.  Stepping out of my comfort zone and following him to new places.  Like Daniel in the den, and David on the open field between the Israelite and the Philistine armies, like Brody heading to a new school, onto the back of a bucking sheep, or in front of his peers and their parents... Courage.


Courage.

FOOLISH FUN, and our hope for wisdom

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on April 2, 2014 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I adore making believe, trips to the theatre, and suspended reality in the darkness of a movie-house!  


However, I have never ben able to tell a lie and call it a prank!  I've had my fair share of "April Fool's!" ideas, but never the courage to carry them out, until this year.  Yesterday morning all the boys and their dad were gathered around the table with their bowls of cereal, waiting for me to join them with a bowl of strawberries.  With the help of my ketchup bottle hidden deep in the sink I covered one hand with "blood," picked up my knife and turned toward them all... screaming!  In an instant I knew that I had traumatized each one of them, my husband most of all!  


But the best prank came a few days early.  I had expected to hold the prank until April Fool's Day, but once I had my husband's faith in my hands I simply couldn't keep it up.  It all began with a text message among some of my girl-friends.  One of them send us a picture of herself in protective glasses with a gun at the firing range.  She wrote, "Date Night!"  Another suggested that the next time we're all together we ought to have a ladies night out and go shooting.  I quickly replied, "Just come to my house and my husband can leave the guns out.  Bunnies are 10 points, coyotes 100.  Not two minutes passed when Bethany replied with a real picture of a DEAD COYOTE and the caption:


100 points for me!  


Sick, right?  Wait till you hear what I did with this picture next.  But first let me tell you about the coyotes who live in the ravine on our property; they are a brazen and bold pack, bigger than average and often out in the late afternoon trying to lure the German Shepherd off the horse property behind our home.  They've come too close to my boys and when we called animal control they said that the only thing they would do is shot the animals themselves.  This was all the license my Texan needed to bring out the arsenal.  All that said, he has't shot one yet!


Now onto the prank:  When my man was away on a trip a few days ago I texted Bethany's picture to Matt with the message: "O my goodness!  O my Goodness!  Look what I just did.  He was sitting on the meadow all morning so I decided to get one of your guns down.  The boys are freaking out singing, "Mom's a better shot that Daddy!  Mom's a better shot than Daddy!"


If the prank worked!  I thought Matt would be jealous, all my girlfriends rightly predicted turned-on would be more like it.   Matt called immediately, breathless with excitement.  "I can't believe it!" He kept saying,  "Neither can I!"  Was all I could get out amidst the laughter.  The laughter fit somehow in the bubbling up of emotion over the phone.  When I stopped laughing long enough I mustered, "I hate to tell you this, but it only took one shot.  Went clean through, then he dropped."


"Noooooooooo!"  He was yelling now.  "You're amazing!   I haven't been on Facebook in six months but I've got to post this.  My wife is awesome!!!"  That's when I crumbled.


"I didn't do it... I didn't do it..."  


"What? I don't understand."


"I didn't do it... I didn't do it..."


The truth came out in one long run-on sentence, and then there was laughter.  The boys were jumping up and down beside me too, all of us howling like a pack at midnight!


No big deep post here on Love Covers today, just some laughter. It was a fun April Fools' Day / Week, one the boys will remember it until next year.  However, for the other 364 days 'til then, God's Word tells us, "Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."  (Proverbs 28:26)  And so last night after diner,  I gave the boys a huge bag of gummy bears (actually filled with grapes) for dessert, and we started in on a new Bible devotional together;  The Case for Christ for Kids, by Lee Stroble.   


We began with a conversation about the newly released film "God's Not Dead," then discussed what it means to "make a case" about what we believe.  We are excited to see our boys grow in wisdom during the course of our evening devotions together.  And hopefully, as we do, there will still be much laughter.

The Harlot's Lesson - halfway through Lent

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on March 27, 2014 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Lent was supposed to take me deeper this year.  Lent was supposed to refocus my eyes on Christ.  Lent was supposed to make my spiritual journey so... so wonderfully spiritual.  Yes, Lent was supposed to take me deeper.  But now, halfway through these 40 days, I see that I didn't take Lent deeper.  


There is the part that God does; the miracle part in our transformation.  And then there is the part that we do; the spiritual exercise of surrender.  Lent is both.  We stop, set aside, and offer Him our undivided attention, and He says, "I'm so glad you've come to me, I've got great things in store for you!  I've been looking forward to Lent all year long, just waiting to give you these gifts.  During the business of Christmas, I waited; into the New Year, I waited; as you celebrated two Saints, I waited.  Now the biggest celebration of all is coming in just a couple of weeks!  Don't wait another day, because before the resurrection celebration, I want to resurrect your spirit.  Before the cross, I want to talk about the hard stuff I went to the cross for.  Before hot cross buns and jelly beans, I want to taste with you the bitter sprigs of the passover dinner.  Repentance.


Lent is the season for repentance, and repentance precedes resurrection - not His, but mine.  Repentance...


Halfway into Lent and I am convicted that while God always does His part, I don't always do mine.   He is there awaiting us in His Word, and we have the choice to sit down and hear from Him. He is there at the breakfast table, and we have the option to praise Him with our children, as sunshine filters through the kitchen windows.  He is on our BIble app, but we touch F, for Facebook.  He is in the sparrows wings, the butterflies transformation, and the surprise of the double rainbow in the backyard, but we take out our cameras to capture the image rather than lift up our hands to the One who crafted all of nature's miracles.  He knows all our sin and shame, eager to forgive and mature us, but we move on in our holiday plans, with decorations and recipes.


Repentance.


Just yesterday a faithful friend of mine sent me a short note that read:  "I thought of you as I read Lamentations 3 this morning."  Of course I was too busy at the time to go deep where God was calling me - Lent is a busy time after all - so when I did opened up God's Word I absentmindedly ruffled the pages until I came to Jeremiah 3, not the third chapter of Lamentations.  I read:

 

...you have lived as a harlot, a prostitute with many lovers—

would you now return to me?” declares the Lord.

“Look up to the barren heights and see.

Is there any place where you have not been ravished?

By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers,

sat like a nomad in the desert.

You have defiled the land

with your prostitution and wickedness.

(Jeremiah 3:1-2)


Confused, I stopped short.  "I don't think I'm a harlot.  Was this verse really for me today?"  


Later realized my mistake and I told my friend how I had confused Lamentations for Jeremiah, and she laughed, "O no Wendy, you could never be a harlot!"  We went on to talk about the marvelous, hopeful, edifying verses she really had meant to share with me.  But I continued to think about the harlotry that may be hidden in me still, and I prayed:


Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.

(Psalm 139:23-24)


God pursued me with these thoughts into the afternoon when I met with another friend for a cup of tea.  We talked of many things - homeschooling, growing up, and marriage.  But one theme caught my heart.  My friend spoke of her own personal heart sin as something very slight rather than blaring.  She shared how God has convicted her own heart of sin in layers.  "He is so kind to reveal just a bit of our sin nature to us at a time; if He showed it to us all at once we would perish by the weight of it.  Instead He peels it back, layer after terrible layer, so that we can slowly see and acknowledge our guilt."


Repentance.

 

As she spoke I understood.  Harlotry in the Christian isn't always blaring, but insidious, slight and confusing.  It can even be lovely and normal and culturally acceptable. But, if it separates us from Him at all... it is sin.  Turning from Him, we prostitute our love, making ourselves the faithless harlot.  And so today, before I am aware of the specific harlotry, I take up the torch of Lent again.  "Here I am, returning to you, Lord."  Jeremiah 3 lovingly goes on to the give the faithless hope.


“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, 

‘I will frown on you no longer,

for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord,

‘I will not be angry forever.

Only acknowledge your guilt— 

you have rebelled against the Lord your God,

you have scattered your favors to foreign gods

under every spreading tree, 

and have not obeyed me,’”

declares the Lord.

“Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.

I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.

Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart,

who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

(Jeremiah 3:12-15)

 

Sometimes Lent chooses us in specific seasons of our lives, and sometimes it chases us.  Lent pursued me yesterday!  And I learned, regardless of if I pursue Lent, He pursues me in His Grace and Love.  He pursues without condemnation, to bring me to Repentance to prepare me for the Resurrection... One leads to the other and onto the other.  


Grace to Repentance, and Repentance to Resurrection!

Here at the halfway mark!  


To follow along another woman's journey this Lenten season, read what Anne Voskamp shared yesterday.  "I stand at the sink and it’s an ointment of grace to have a season to repent. There are days you don’t feel the weight of glory but the weight of this whole gory, bloody mess that is called life together."

Reinventing Wendy Darling

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on March 27, 2014 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

As a follow-up to an earlier post, Wendy Darling Said Goodbye,  I find myself now looking to the future.   As you know, once Peter Pan's beloved Wendy returned to London, having mothered the Lost Boys well, she moved out of the nursery and into her big girl room.  On the cusp of 40, with my youngest boy now six years old, I find myself transitioning out of the nursery as well.


Last week I spoke to a group of women about the maturing we do in Christ over the various seasons of our female lives.  "When my focus is on trusting God in the season He presently has me in," I shared, "I am not so easily thrown by the trials that await me there.  There is something transcendent, steady, and sure about Trusting God to be God.  I feel that this lesson, just recently learned, is a stepping stone to maturity.  With forty now 10 days away, I think it's about time I put my big girl panties on (spiritually speaking,) and start trusting God more! "  That is exactly what I want to do in this new season of my life as a mom, a wife, and a follower of Christ - at home, in my community, and on this blog.  


As my children continue to grow up, my role will keep changing as well.  That's why I find myself growing out of the nursery and into a new room, a new space, and a new season.  Here at Love Covers a Multitude of Sons, that new room may eventually become a new site with a new name.    With my toes on the entry line, and my heart eager for something new, I feel inspired to Reinvent Wendy Darling.  


My reinvention will likely begin with more writing - Some will be shared here, and some will be on bigger projects I've been conceptualizing for years - even during hours of nursing and swinging babies at the park, during homeschooling, and teaching boys to tie their shoes.  Today I am a guest at Christy Nueman's blog, The Write Season, sharing tips on balancing a writer's inspired life with the reality of a busy family life.   My main point echoes the name of her blog, there is a Write Season; and I believe this new season is mine.  And so, as I look from the nursery to the future, I hope to open up those archives of notes I've collected over these mothering years, and start writing the books and screenplays I've imagined. 


Stepping out of the nursery also requires stepping out of my comfort zone.  I recently questioned if I have a boundary line separating what is comfortable and uncomfortable for me, because so much of what I do is deemed uncomfortable for others.  Then I realized that promoting what I write and when I speak is terribly uncomfortable for me, and way outside of my comfort zone.  It makes me physically sick. And so this next season, this "Write Season" needs to include learning the fine art of social media and promotion.  (Gag.  Even the word promotion makes me sick to my stomach!) However, when women ask me how they can stay connected with me on my blog or attend future speaking engagements, I shrink back and stutter awkwardly.  Putting on my big-girl panties (a.k.a.maturing) requires me to get over it! When my boys believe lies about themselves, we repeat together what is true and noble and right.  Now it's my turn; God made for His pre-purposed good works (Ephesians 2:10),  He inspires me (Psalm 65:8 ),and has promised to finish what He has begun in and through me (Philippians 1:6).  


For the time being my writing here at Love Covers a Multitude of Sons will stay the same, though I hope to be moving into my big girl room sometime this Summer.   Here's to the future!


Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth

I proclaim them to you. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 42:9 & 43:19)

Wendy Darling said goodbye

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on March 26, 2014 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (2)

The other night I peeked in on my middle-est, Brody, long after he was supposed to be asleep.  Instead he was propped up on his elbow, adjusting the 30-some minifigures he had set up on his nightstand.  As he worked he sang, "I won't grow up... I don't want to go to school... just to learn to be a parrot... and recite a silly rule..."


I've been thinking of the story of Peter Pan lately myself.  My name is Wendy.  And the name Wendy was imagined, penned and introduced to the world by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie.  Audiences in England and America alike fell in love with Peter, the boy who never grew up, and Wendy, the lost boys' proverbial mother.  While many sequels have been written about Peter in later years, only the film Hook (1991) depicts Wendy as an adult, and an elderly one at that.  My young boys love this film, with Robin Williams as Peter, and Maggie Smith as Grannie Wendy Darling. 


Standing on the cusp of a new season (a new rhythm, as I shared here), I've been thinking of Wendy Darling and her lost boys.  How dear she was to them, to darn their socks, tell them stories and put them to bed at the end of their adventurous days.  While I don't darn my boys' socks, (I buy new ones at Target), I know the sweetness of those read alouds and bedtime kisses all over soft faces.  But Wendy Darling returned home to England at the end of her adventure in Neverland, she didn't stay a little mother for ever.  


And my season with littles is coming to an end as well.  




A few weeks ago my little guy, in his last days of five, went to his friend Rosie's birthday party.  He found her a pretty necklace with her initial spelled out in rhinestones, and wrapped it in white paper that he then painted with pink and purple hearts.  The day before the party Rosie told Asher that she'd be wearing a princess dress to her party, so Asher came home and immediately went digging through his dress up bin.  


I watched at the party as the two of them played with other children; chasing balls, blowing bubbles, and spinning hoola-hoops around their tiny middles.  And the thought occurred to me, this may be the last time he asks to have a lightening bolt painted on his face!  This may be the last time ANY child of mine plays,  unashamed, in a knight costume in front of strangers.  


Gulp.


This imaginative, smiling, cookie eating, sippy cup toting season is indeed coming to an end.  And my heart feels the pang.







Sweet Potato Pie is right!  Perfection.  


And yet it's all close enough to remember the scratchy constant noise of that annoying toy, and my concern over feet on the kitchen table.  


Slow down, Mamas.  Slow it down.  



Keep a tub of cookie dough in the fridge and say YES as often as you can.  

Tickle backs at bedtime when you are eager for your own back to rest.

Take pictures, but make memories.

Push them high on swings and say yes to caterpillars and frogs.


Wendy Darling knows the fine art of raising boys, but also when the end of a season bids her farewell.  I'm standing there today.  

When our children face trials

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on March 21, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

One of my children has been going through a real challenging time lately.  But that's his story, and not my own,  so I am learning to not share details.   Yet I am keenly aware, as I relinquish the story of his life to him, that these early chapters are producing in him faith, endurance, and maturity.  


Consider it pure joy, my brethren,

when you encounter various trials,

For you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

And may perseverance have it's perfect result,

That you may be perfect and complete,

Lacking nothing...

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial

Because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life

That the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4, & 12 


It's taken me 30 years of grappling to learn this lesson, but already I see The Refiner producing beautiful things in my boy's life with fire.  


It is true, God uses the hard to turn our hearts to Him.  The trials, tests and the tribulation are lovingly balanced in the same Holy hand that generously disperses blessings and unmerited grace.  It is from the hand of a loving God, a kind and caring Father, that anointed trials come to us.  Not by accident.  


Purposed.  


I had the immeasurable pleasure of speaking to a dynamic Women's group yesterday, sharing much of my own journey to understanding these truths... that God is kind, sovereign, purposeful and good, even in the darkest of trials.  Today, as I honor my son by keeping his own journey private, I recognize that God is kind, and sovereign, and purposeful, and good, even in the darkest of my boy's trials as well. How marvelous.  How wonderful.  How confident I can be in the plans that God has for him!


"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord,

"Plans to prosper you, not to harm you,

Plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11


And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally

finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  Philippians 1:6


I've heard other mothers of young children say, "I pray that God will spare my children suffering.  I want them to have very boring testimonies."  Personally, I don't pray that anymore.  Suffering is the way to the cross.  Suffering and trials are the refining tools of maturity.  And I want that (maturity) for us all!  


Hearts that cling to Him, are cultivated in lives that are painfully aware of how desperately we need Him.  Theologically, we all can agree we need Him for salvation, but the life that clings, that passionately holds on and abides with tenacity, is developed via "various trials".  Yes, the life that tucks in and stays close to the Light...  has come fleeing the darkest of nights. 


I don't know how the "tone" of this post is transmitting, though I hope you sense my faith, trust, and even joy.  I trust God with my sons.  

 

For (you) are His workmanship, 

created in Christ Jesus for good works,

which God prepared beforehand

so that (you will) walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10


I am honored God gave all three of my sons to me, to nurture and admonish, ever pointing us all to Jesus along the way.  As for my story, I've had to trust God more than ever before, and that's produced in me perseverance.  Amazing to me, the same author is telling a similar story in the lives of my sons.

Lent Chose Me

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on March 4, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Anne Voskamp used this phrase when describing Lent - “to empty the soul to know the filling of God.”


Of course, here in these 40 days before Easter, Ann is referring to the emptiness discovered through fasting.  We make the choice to delve into the empty places of hunger, as as we journey up to Calvary. An active participatory choice to partake in the sacrifice, in order to know this filling of God. And we choose it, though uncomfortable, because we know that when we are empty, HE comes rushing in.  


But there are seasons in our life, seasons of loss when we didn't choose to surrender; mental and physical illness we don't want, relationship struggles we didn't ask for, and financial hardships we didn't willingly submit.  These too are Lenten seasons - emptying seasons.  Seasons of struggles and hard days; the hurting seasons of life with their myriad of challenges, leaving us empty and worn; seasons of illness in our bones, in our hormones; the empty place beside you in bed, once warm but now cold, empty sheets; seasons of dashed dreams, framed by unrealistic expectations; other dreams, splintered by sinful people. Those Lenten seasons we never chose to celebrate, chose us.  God chose us for Lent, for Himself, for the gift of making us see how very empty we are.... The fasted meals we never purposed to miss, we missed because our bellies were full of heartache, greif and groanings.


These Lenten seasons can last longer than 40 days. But Sunday's coming!  And there is the HOPE of EASTER.  The Hope of the Ressurection and the Revelation, and the Revival in our hearts!  Yes, God pours Himself into the emptiness. Yes, at the day’s end, the week’s end, the end of that difficult season, or smack dab in the middle of depression with no end in sight, when we are soul empty, there is the chance, the hope, the opportunity to know… the gushing, pouring, passionate, drenching love of God come Easter!  


From hungry to satisfied.  Parched to drenched.


Press on and press in, if Lent has chosen you right now.  


And submit to those empty places, trusting Him to satisfy!

RAW

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on February 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (1)
When I was a child I I got awful tummy aches.  My mom's  remedy was a mug of warm milk.  Turns out I was lactose intolerant.  Good job, Mom!  

Now I'm the mom.

Out of my three boys, at least two of them are terribly sensitive to artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners (I know, everything)!  Of course, like my mom, it took me a while to figure this out.  Eventually I noticed that each time one of my guys had a lollipop (or some other colorful goody), he'd break out in hives.  We pulled back the treats a bit, saving them for special occasions when the kid just needed a "win."  My word.  You know, "it's been a tough day, let's stop for a slurpy on the way home from school" type of win!

As he got older I noticed this child would break out in hives and even stutter when he'd have a bag of skittles.  Horrified I clenched the empty candy wrapper in my hand, raised it to heaven and cried, "How can a child be a child without skittles, and sprinkles on cupcakes?"  Shoot, forget the sprinkles... even pre-made, white, vanilla frosting has artificial colors in it (not to mention all the other evil stuff I'm starting to learn about!)  I knew I was onto something that went deeper than Halloween and Easter candy... it was going to stretch us to the far reaches of our pantry shelves, into each classroom celebration, and half-time soccer snack.  Good-bye gatorade and fruit snacks!  The poor kid was cut off, cold-turkey,  after a terrible break out of hives after church camp last year.  he came home with five empty King-Size candy wrappers, and hives on every inch of his little person.

I knew it wasn't fair, but I the other two boys would get the good stuff when their brother wasn't around... you know, "it's just our little secret".  And then one day, totally unrelated, or so I thought, another one of my kiddos started having emotional mood swings and said such sad disparaging things about himself.  One night he cried, "I feel coo-coo on the inside of my brain."   The next day after school I did what any well-intentioned mum would do, I took him  to 7-11.  Because there's nothing a slurpy can't fix!  Never mind my four year old's observation later that night, "Look, my poo-poo's bright blue!"

I know I'm giving general symptoms, but know that these two boys had more very specific and heartbreaking physical and emotional outbreaks before I saw the correlation and took the entire family off of the artificial gunk.  (Okay, my husband still eats gummy bears!)  Baby steps!  It's been baby steps, and those of you who are really natural, organic, tree-hugging types, you'd be horrified to see what we are still eating, but I'm learning and changing the way we eat (and reward... and soothe...) here in our home.





Maybe one day I'll post about our choice to go wheat  and dairy free for at least two of us - or maybe I won't, since I'm no nutritionist.  But the point is this, we're doing the best we can.  Aren't we?  Ladies?  Mamas?  Aren't we?

One area I fail desperately is in the Vegetable Patch!  Okay, figuratively not literally!  Because it's what parenting really comes down to, right? The glorious green bar, measuring if we're good enough... because we're getting enough good stuff in them, in this artificial, neon colored, chemical laden world.

As a person who doesn't love vegetables (okay, I abhor most) this isn't easy for me.  However, I've found one way to get more fruits and veggies in my kids than most traditional veggie-eating families today.  I serve them RAW!  A serving at lunch and then another two or three either with their dinner (or in a baggie before - sort of like an appetizer.)  This above picture is of tonight's tri-colored plate.  I added a side of meat before taking it to the table.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not serving them "grown up vegetables", but then I remember that it's okay if I'm me!  Me doing the best I can do for my kids is absolutely more than alright.  They get cooked veggies at dinner time a couple times a week, (most weeks) but this is the way I can do it... and do it in big servings, and do it often.  And when we go out to eat, guess what my kids get in the car?  A baggie of peppers and snap peas, or apples and carrots... then, once we arrive at Islands or Panera or Rubios, they can have their burgers and fries, sandwich and chocolate milk, or quesadilla and chips.

Let's get RAW here, friends:  I said it before, I fail in many ways.  Many ways, many days... but I'm learning, however slow it comes, and I'm accepting that I'm okay as I learn.  Love covers a multitude of sons, and sins, and growing up days, and debauckeled tuck ins, and mismatched Sunday mornings.  And it's all alright.  

Sometimes I soothe my mothering-self as I pack veggie baggies instead of sauteing Harry Coveirs green beans, by singing the old Amy Grant song "All I ever have to be is what you've made me.  Any more or less would be a step out of your plan.  As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind, that I only have to do what I can find... All I ever have to be is what you've made me."

Keeping it RAW here tonight before I head to bed.  Never guessed I'd right about veggies.

Love notes

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on February 21, 2014 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)

"Sweet Caleb", I scrawled upon the cover of my homemade notecard in sweeping cursive.  With bright colored pencils I decorated the page, then filled the inside with sentimental pennings.  "I love you, I like you, I am so very proud of you.  Your sweet heart, handsome face, and wonderful manners make for a marvelous young man... But above all these incredible traits, I prize and admire your heart for the Lord.  I know you are young, and still learning about God's sincere love for you, Caleb, but I can tell you are seeking Him with your whole heart and your mind.  I am most excited to see you find God real and faithful, my son.  He is wonderful indeed.  And you, made in His image, are quite wonderful too!  Love, Mom."


Tomorrow Caleb's slated to leave for fourth grade winter camp with our church.  He's been fighting a cold and knows that if he isn't much improved in the morning he will be missing this year's adventure.  When I tucked him into bed this evening he said, "You know, Mom, I don't just want to go to camp because it's fun, I want to go and worship God with my friends."  I know.


I do know.


Church camp, for churched children, is a miracle thing.  A transforming place where a family's faith becomes a child's own.  Away from Mom and Dad, and Sunday morning squabbles on the the way to church, a Christian boy who knows Bible stories takes ownership of God's Word in new ways.  From milk to meat on the mountain top of church camp.  


Not too many weeks ago, this same boy confessed to me, "Sometimes I hear a message at church and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do."  I sat on the end of his bed not sure what he meant - not wanting to speak before knowing and hearing and understanding His heart question.  And then I did.  The place he is at 10 is a thrilling place on the precipice of one of God's greatest promises. 


Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD.  

(Jeremiah 29:12-14)


That is camp, Christian parents!  We model it at home and sometimes we fail it at home, but at camp they get away and experience it as their own.  


I am so excited for my children to seek God and find God; to find Him faithful and extravagant and kind and caring.  That is camp.  That is camp.  


That is camp, Sweet Caleb.  


May the Lord mend you as you rest, and keep His promise to be found by you, my boy.

With all three boys in school

Posted by wendy.lovecovers@gmail.com on February 5, 2014 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (1)

The bag ripped as I lifted the white plastic liner out of the kitchen trash can tonight.  Raw chicken juice mixed with some other nasty thing leaked in a fluid flow across the floor and onto my cream colored linen pants before I knew what was happening.  I swung the trash bag quickly up to the sink, spraying the cabinets just a bit as I did.  Another bag was placed over the torn one, then I hauled it out to the trash.  It smelled a bit like vomit.  And, you might recall,  I know what vomit smells like


A quick shower with citrus-ginger body scrub, followed by vanilla lotion and my new favorite pair of PJs refreshed me just in time for the sound of my middle-est calling from his bathroom ,"Mom!"  Which Phonetically sounds more like MAW......................................UM!  "Mom!  Someone forgot to flush the toilet and my special blanket just fell in!"


Going to save the blankie I stepped on a Lego.  


And the beat goes on...  Up at night when the oldest has growing pains, the youngest has a cough, or the middle-est has "Scawy Foughts."  Which would have been fine had I not waited up for my husband to get home from his business trip.  Morning came fast and hard, with sunlight and laughter, the pitter-patter, and screams of "He's touching me!!!!"  And the beat goes on... Peanut butter toast, face down on the floor you cleaned last night, since you were waiting up anyway.  And the beat goes on...


And it's constant.

Moving.  Cleaning.  

Correcting.  

Redirecting.  

It's been constant.

Learning. Going.

Teaching.

Often Preaching.

I'm not complaining,

just recognizing.  

It's been a gift

Through which I sift.

Trips to the beach

"Stay in your stroller seat"

More clothes to wash

and mops to slosh.

All the memories, 

Get wet

Duck ponds

at Sunset.

Dinner's waiting

Daddy's taking

One last business call.

You boys are busy with a ball.

Bath is drawn

Sprinklers on the lawn

A neighbor watches on.

Then off to bed

Tostled head

Of blond curls 

The days unfurl.

One after the other

For blessed busy mothers.

Underfoot and slipping by

Not in the twinkle of an eye.

That's not my song

My days are long

But the years, 

And the tears...

They fly up and out

without a doubt

Without a stop

Until you drop,

Ker-plop.  

On the couch.

Get out Baby books

Of how baby looked

Now grown 

No longer home.

Alone.

Deep sigh,

Time did fly.

Good-bye.




I'm standing here, on the cusp of a new season now.  Looking back at the pictures of popsicles and hoses, and plastic animals all in a rows-es.  There are still water fights, still correction, and cleaning to be done, under the sun.  But all three boys have gone to school for the first time in my mothering life.  And I'm here at point A... looking back at Z.  And it's good.  And it's right.  And I'll still be up at night.  But I'll know some rest and peace and refreshing walks, and phone talks.  And time to scrub those chicken juice crusted cabinets as a waltz plays from the stereo in the other room.  A new beat, a calmer rhythm, will fill portions of my days.   


It's not over.  But the rhythm has changed.  And I'm adjusting.


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