A light saber battle is currently raging in the backyard. The boys have watched Clone Wars, Star Wars, and the Empire Strikes Back this afternoon. Yes, the force is strong around our home today.
May the 4th be with you.
May 4th should be celebrated as a national holiday! And today, for more reasons than ever, I am celebrating. You see, while the plastic sabers still clash around our home, as they did here and here when the boys were young, they are now battling their way into a new season of life. Fewer toddleresque screams come from their play fights. Believe it or not, they often come in happy, not requiring my intervention, and sometimes they even wash their grubby hands when they're called in for dinner. Finally growing up, they are... Mmmmm. As they grow they are turning from the dark-side (some days raising young ones can feel desperately dark) and maturing into Light bearers. I am so thankful for the pieces of scripture I have clung to most desperately during the years battling rebel forves here in our home; scripture I believed and spouted time and again throughout the dark years, when there were many disturbances in the force around our home.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)
There is a season for constant, hands on bottom wiping, lego sorting reminders, light saber battles that end in tears for all three of them, spilled milk and tired children who shout "No!" though they've been trained to use kind, gentle words; there is a season where this unceasing discipline feels as though it will never end. I know, I know, I know...
But Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us this:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 )
Mothers of padiwans, there is a season for everything:
A time for sleepless nights, a time of rest;
A time for aching breasts and backs, a time for healing and wholeness;
A time for constant noise, a time for long stretches of quiet;
A time when mom and dad lose sight of one another, and a time to recouple for ten seconds - every day;
A time for countering with truth the lies of neighborhood bullies, and a time when kind words go deep into hearts.
A time for sickness and allergy testing and broken bones and questions, a time for waiting, and a time for answers;
A time for constant correction, and a time when siblings play joyfully together for long stretches everyday:
A time in the backyard swimming pool held in mom's arms, a time for swimming independently;
A time when padawans need constant training, a time to graduate to young Jedi's.
A time to blog about parenting young ones, and a time to transition to new messages about other experiences as a woman in the world and The Word today.
May the 4th is always a day to celebrate here in our Star Wars loving home, but today I am celebrating for others reasons as well. We are stepping over the line separating seasons. My younglings are big and broad and wonderful; still challenging and needy at times, but growing into marvelous good men each day. This site does not contain them, or me in this new season we have entered.
Today I am excited to share that in just three weeks I will be launching a new site to include more aspects of life, love, and parenting. Specifics forthcoming!
May you be blessed as you press on, weary mother of younglings. This season won't last forever.
Love well today!
They lose control, I lose control too.
"Get control of yourself," I holler.
"You've been complaining all days long!"
I've been complaining about your complaining.
I have lost peace,
I have lost joy,
They can't find it either.
"Go to your rooms."
Mom, you are the heart,
I am the heart,
We are the heartbeat of our homes.
The heart pump, pumping.
Nutrients through the body:
The body of the home.
When you are off,
They are off,
He is off,
The family is off.
It doesn't always start with you or me,
But it must get back to right-
"More TV, Screen-time, Snacks..."
We're tired, so we cave,
to what they crave,
But what they need is You.
You... can end this downward spin,
You... can end this downward fall,
Reverse the slowing circulation
With a renewed Pump Pump Pump.
So pull away,
dive back in,
pick up the last scripture you read
Before the sun came up this morning.
Where were you,
Before they woke up?
Take your heart back there
Drop the rope
You play tug of war with
And pick back up the Word.
Drop the rope and pick it up!
The Word is life and peace.
The rope is death and war.
Drop death and pick up life
Right there in the heart of your home.
The imagery of the Tug of War rope in parenting is vivid. Some days there are battles for control, battles for power, battles because they are tired and we are tired, and battles simply because we've grown so accustomed to the fight. But an amazing thing happens when we drop our side of the rope.
The fight falls down, falls out, falls over. There's no one else to fight with, push and pull and flex your muscles against. And the giving in to peace, at the end of a battle, often brings tears. Yours, theirs, mine; as the heart begins to Pump Pump Pump life-giving, love-giving nutrients through your body again.
Drop the rope.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
...Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
There was an extended period in these early years of mothering young ones, where I tried desperately to keep my mouth shut in public. I couldn't muster positive truisms, only heart-felt confessions of how dark my heart felt. With confidants I shared the hardest of my hard days, and here on this blog I walked through many of the valleys, pointing to Jesus' promises as I trudged along in faith. Many of you sojourned beside me.
After five years of hard days, each one seemingly out-doing the one before, I was finally diagnosed with prolonged postpartum depression. Relief and sadness mingled at the diagnosis. While the prescribed remedies, purposed to bring my natural hormones back in balance, didn't bring instantaneous healing, I have come to realize in recent days that I am indeed on the other side. It once was Friday, but today is my Resurrection Celebration of Sunday.
These past couple of weeks as people have casually asked, "Hey, how are you?" Both surface level and sincere, this greeting was once a knife. But not recently! The realization that I feel truly happy has brought tears to my eyes with each greeting the past few weeks.
"Hey, How are you?"
"I'm good... I'm really good."
I have walked through the fire and am standing on the other side. And what I see before me is more beautiful than I could have imagined. This... this is what I see. These are the smiles, still smiling. These are the soft-hearted boys, still eager for tuck-ins. These are the ones I colored with and made smoothies with today. These are my sons, and their love has covered a multitude of my weary sins, though my goal was to let my love cover a multitude of theirs.
It's all such a miracle, this Love Covering. Jesus' love poured out is what we celebrate this Holy week! The darkness of Good Friday; the literal darkness of the sky that horrid day, and the figurative darkness of our soul's sin and sadness. Jesus' Love Covering, the blood cleansing, the absolute forgiveness of sins. Hope for death, depression and darkness. The Sunshine promise of Sunday, and even more than Sunday... forever! Once, for all! And I am here to attest that in your hard days, your darkest nights, your whacked out hormones and your own sin-nature... His love is covering, cleansing, restoring, refining, and transforming the hearts that turn to Him today.
And so I ask you, "Hey, How are you today?"
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
"How are you today?"
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
"How are you?"
The night is nearly over;
the day is almost here.
"How are you?"
I'm a testimony of Sunday's power! And, Sunday is coming, Friends! Sunday is coming!
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 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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
It's been constant.
I'm not complaining,
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,
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
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,
On the couch.
Get out Baby books
Of how baby looked
No longer home.
Time did fly.
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.
It's been a small handful of days since Christmas. There are still piles of things to put away, and cardboard boxes to haul to the trash. I haven't taken down the Christmas tree. My husband hasn't packed away the train set. My children haven't yet played with every one of their new toys. Amidst the continued enjoyment of the season, I've recalled with tenderness a few of my favorite moments — replaying sweet conversations over and over again.
One morning, a week or so before Christmas, my husband was preparing to take the boys Christmas shopping. As we sat in the breakfast nook of our home that morning, sun streaming in from all around us, my youngest looked up into my eyes and said, "I want to buy you a rainbow dress for Christmas. And maybe... maybe I will find some rainbow earrings and lipstick to go with it. Wouldn't you like that?" Tears. Immediate, grateful, Dear-Lord-please-fix-this-moment-forever-in-my-mind tears.
A few hours later he returned, deflated, and said, "I looked and looked, but I didn't find you a rainbow dress."
He recovered, however, by Christmas morning and sat close to my side as I opened each present from my husband and the children. After each gift was revealed, he'd lean in close as say, "O, yes, this one's from me!" Then he'd take my face in his little hands and kiss me square on the lips." My sweet husband didn't get to take credit for one of his purchases!"
As always, a highlight Christmas morning was watching our middle-est open his Lego sets. The joy literally shines like beams from his eyes — spot lights illuminating pure joy. While I'm a little embarrassed to reveal how many big sets he received, I have to say that Legos are not just Brody's favorite toys... they are his closest companions, his dearest friends.
And then there was the sweet moment when Matt opened a gift from the children - a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory - and the boys burst into an impromptu chorus of "Take Mom on a DATE! Take Mom on a DATE! Take Mom on a DATE!"
But of all the moments, all the conversations, all the kisses by the Christmas tree, my favorite memory from this Christmas was one I had with my Caleb. Our first-born always has thought-provoking insights to share with us about who he thinks God is, or probing questions revealing his desire to know God more. On Christmas Eve, Caleb asked me "Mom, why did the Bible end? If the story is still going on?"
My response came faster than my thoughts could form by my own intellect: "Caleb, you know how all the Old Testament stories point to our need for a Savior? A Rescuer? And then at the beginning of the New Testament that Savior is born?" He nodded. "Well, the New Testament goes on to show us how to have a friendship with Jesus, and how to live in a way that pleases God and shows Him that we love him back. But just as the prophets in the Old Testament told us of the Messiah's coming, the New Testament ends with the promise that He will return again to conquer sin and death once and for all! The story isn't over, you're right... we celebrate Christmas because He came the first time to rescue us, but we also celebrate His promised return at Christmas! And we wait for Him excitedly, expectantly!"
Caleb is only 10. I don't know how deep this message went in my boy's young heart, but it went deep in mine this Christmas. Jesus is coming again to conquer sin and sadness once and for all! At Christmas There is the manger, but there is also the cross, and there is the hope of what is to come when Jesus comes again! As we ready ourselves for the New Year, let's enter in with a renewed Hope and expectation for Jesus' next coming!
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Today at the beach you dug a cavernous hole, then asked your friends to bury you in it. The only thing sticking out was your handsome face. Looking back I think how well your sandy tomb must compare to being the oldest child in our house full of strong-willed boys.
Absolutely fed up at times. Up to your neck! I get it.
And the toughest part of all must be when I zero in on you, and your behavior, and your heart. I know it is is usually your brothers who are touching your things, messing up your room, pushing your buttons, and causing you to explode. Once again, I get it. But I want you to get this, sweet heart; our home is the perfect, God ordained, training ground for the rest of your life. All the skills you need to deal with people as a Christian man will be cultivated right here in our home.
I tell you often, "Caleb, there is only one man you are in control of. That's you. You can't control your brothers, your friends, or your bed time (most of the time), but you must be able to control your own man." My boy, when you go to College you will likely have a roommate who interrupts you and plays music you don't like. Will you be able to control your temper and be kind to him? You will be, if you can learn it here at home. You may have a boss one day who talks down to you; will you be able to keep your head lifted high, knowing who you are in Christ? You get to learn that here at home as well. And one day when your lovely wife has a list of projects she needs your help on, and three little sons all vying for your attention and affection, you will need to know how to love them in the business of life. And you will! If you commit to learning to love here and now, in our home.
On the dry erase board that hangs by our breakfast table in the kitchen nook I have writen these words:
A new commandment I give you, Love One Another;
as I have loved you so you must Love One Another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you Love One Another. (John 13:34-35)
I sang this verse in church during my growing up years, and it stuck in my brain and my heart. It is my hope that as I sing it and live it in your presence, that you too will be inspired and encouraged to love others. For Christ loved you first, my son. That truth, that reality, that knowledge is where it must flow from. But we practice it, the loving that is, here and now at home.
I said before, I know that it's hard. I get it. But I am praying for you and cheering you on as you practice love, practice this hard thing of loving despite the unlovely actions of your brothers, and even fumbles your father and I often make. We are just sinners saved by grace, my son. All of us. So let's practice love together, that the world will know we are His disciples.
So proud of you. I'm your greatest fan!
How sweet are your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
My red leather-bound Bible could tell a thousand tales — not only stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the prophets, or the days our Savior walked the earth. My Bible is underlined, highlighted, with notes in the margins. My favorite page is the one half eaten. Literally. Before My first born son could roll over he reached for my Bible, as I read on the floor beside him. He tore part of the Psalms out and put the thin leaf paper into his slobbery little mouth. I retrieved the torn piece, flattened it and dried it out, and now have it taped to the inside of my jewelry box. Nothing I own is more beautiful to me (not diamonds, gold, or pearls) than the tangible reminder of my greatest hope — that one day all of my children grow up to believe, ingest, and speak to others the very Word of God.
Nine years ago, when my little Caleb was lapping up pages from my Bible, I knew very little about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even with all the underlining, highlighting, and writing I had done in the margins. I knew about Jesus dying for my sins so that I might be forgiven. And I belived. But I didn't know what the gospel of Jesus, lived out in a daily way, interacting with others, was all about. I thought that living the gospel was telling people about Jesus. But I am slowly starting to see that the Gospel, lived out in our lives, is simply walking out the ministry of Jesus. Extending grace and love and forgiveness, ever pointing to Him as we do.
Yesterday my Bible consuming boy spent the day playing his electric guitar at our church's performing arts camp. Actually, he was supposed to be playing his guitar when in fact he was getting into trouble. Lots of trouble. I won't divulge the specifics, (9 1/2 is too old for cyber sharing) but I will say he came home remorseful and repentant, and wrote a dear apology to the child he had offended. In the end my child went to sleep last night content in the knowledge that he was forgiven.
His peaceful sleep reminded me of a verse I had memorized while he was in my womb:
There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus,
who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
Before he left for camp this morning I looked my boy straight in the eye and said, "You can stand tall when you walk into the church today — you are a forgiven boy, you don't need to be embarrassed or ashamed." He nodded, smiled, and walked out the door with his head high.
* With all the scriptures I wanted to throw at him last night, all the correcting,
berating, instructing him in godliness I had wanted to do... what he needed most of all was this picture of The Gospel. Forgiveness. So thankful that my husband is a calm and loving Dad. That through his hugs and encouragement last night both Caleb and I learned more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ lived out in the lives of our children. Ironically, today as I was going through some of the boys crafts I came upon a card Caleb made for Matt this Father's Day. Inside the card our son wrote the words "Thank you for remaining calm with me when I've disobeyed."