Category Archives: Sprinkles of Knowledge

When kids try to make sense of their surroundings, their insight is often knowledge for us adults.

Carpet lines

There is a nutty rule in my family that you cannot walk on a carpet that has fresh vacuum lines on it. I was teaching Emma the forgotten art of vacuuming from one corner of her room and working it all the way out the door. During the lesson she walked across my fresh lines; I stopped and pointed out, “Emma, did you see what you just did?” Clueless, she looked at me and said, “I walked on the carpet??” Incredulously, I said, “Um, yeah?!” She still doesn’t get it.

A time of waiting…

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.” (Acts 1:6, 7 NLT)

Of the many trials and times of waiting I have experienced, five years ago I remember the most difficult to date– if and when we would be able to bring our first born baby home from the NICU. Emma’s three month premature arrival was a test of many things– of my marriage, of my parenting, of my patience. While leaving her at nighttime in the hands of the nurses and heading home was difficult, I hung on to the hope that someday she’d be accompanying me on the journey out of the hospital walls. Everyday I’d wonder whether we were closer to her homecoming, and when I would ask, no one could secure a response I was seeking. Instead, my ten hour daily hospital visits felt a little generic at times, and Emma simply didn’t feel like my baby because I wasn’t yet able to make decisions on her behalf. We were at the mercy of God and His timing, though it often felt like we were at the mercy of the nurses and doctors. 

On one hand, we knew Emma was in the best hands, and we felt secure because she was hooked up to monitors and progressing as she should; on the other hand, we longed for the days we could watch football games and cuddle with her on the couch during the weekends instead of fighting her cords and holding her in hospital chairs. As much as we tried to remain patient, we struggled, much like the apostles, and wanted everything to move a little faster than God planned.

Now that I look back on that time, I wonder what our hurry was… Emma was well-cared for, and the Holy Spirit was following me around like a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Though I never felt alone, I still grew impatient. Is there anything in your life that causes you great impatience? Does your impatience stem from a lack of security in God’s plan or a feeling of deep loneliness? The challenge I wasn’t ready to face during those months was to dive into the Word and be with God through that time of impatience. God is calling us, in our deepest impatience, to climb into His story, read, and learn how to use the negative energy of impatience for His good. Are we up for the challenge?

Accomplishing everything

I am feeling overwhelmed. I am looking at a stack of clean laundry overflowing three (not two, three, laundry baskets… ) all snoring in the corner of my bedroom. There is a heap of dishes on the counter begging to be cleaned and an odorous laundry room aching for some attention. I have turned down invitations and asked for some grace. I am exhausted from signing up for things I don’t have time for, and I stay up late trying to fit more hours into my day.

Yet this afternoon I spent an hour on the floor with my three babies to escape it all. We churned out the best giggles known to mankind. We wrestled, made faces at each other, tickled, laughed, snorted, and went right back to it once the silence hit. It was a great afternoon of getting nothing done yet accomplishing everything. Thank you, Jesus!

What He sees

I remember a time when my mom would look at my sister and I, all dressed up and ready to leave the house for whatever big event, and say, “Well aren’t you going to wear lipstick?” Now to be fair, we were old enough to wear lipstick, but of the many things she was able to pass down, Mom’s affinity for remembering lipstick wasn’t one of them.

There is all this research out there that suggests complimenting a little girl on her looks will have a detrimental effect on her overall perspective on what is important. Instead, we are supposed to connect with girls on their intelligence by asking them what their favorite books are and by encouraging them when they respond with a list of titles. “I read that as a girl,” or “Those sound like great books” are just two suggested responses.

I grew up with all the compliments in the world. I couldn’t go into a grocery store with my mom without at least ten people complimenting me on the color of my hair. Every time I was out and about, there would be a dozen of my siblings’ friends announcing how cute I was. At the beauty salon, on lookers would mention how they’d “die for that color red”… So why in the heck did I grow up hating my red hair?

And I had the brains, too… While the nuns weren’t exactly forthcoming with compliments on anyone’s intelligence, I earned good grades, participated in summer reading programs, and was an avid reader (though I stunk at reading comprehension which I still blame on the fact that I read too fast). I was in higher level reading and math classes through high school which in itself was a compliment to my academic progress, but I still felt inadequate. I earned awards for being selected into various honor societies, but still I felt like I didn’t measure up to my peers.

I didn’t grow up in a home that cultivated creativity, but Instead found my creative outlet in art, music, dance and drama classes outside of school and home. I loved these activities, but never stole the stage in any performance.

While I wasn’t overly athletic, I spent my time in grade school on the cheerleading squad and basketball and volleyball teams. I played soccer and swam as well. I enjoyed all of these sports, but never really excelled enough to be a star.

In all this, I wish I had the vision of myself God has of me– that I am beautiful no matter what I look like, no matter what stage I was on, no matter what sport bench I found myself watching my own team play from… God loves me despite my inadequacies, mistakes, and failures. God made me perfect in his eyes. If there is one thing I will try to instill in my kids, it is God’s perspective on beauty– and that my sister and I look beautiful with or without lipstick.

Now, how do I teach my girls to embrace God’s perspective of them as they navigate this often competitive, unfair world?

It takes a village…

I haven’t had one of these days in a while… the kind of day where I longed for Paul to get home so I could swim in a bottle of wine. But, alas, today was one of those days. Ginger3’s teething has made him cranky and unbearable– why in the world had I wanted his teeth to come in in the first place? While he cried incessantly, Ginger1 became an overstuffed bag of emotions after running on empty from the weekend. Our trip to the grocery store was the worst I have ever had since kids— while Ginger3 screamed, Ginger1 threw herself in a heap when she’d request something and hear the word “Not this time.” Ignoring her, and leaving her several feet behind (aisle after aisle), my slow shopping trip became a limping sprint with this stress-fractured foot to get what I could from my list. I couldn’t get out of the store soon enough!

In the ball of confusion and embarrassment, I found some clarity. Ginger1 is old enough to spend time in her room when she has these kinds of meltdowns. Her apology did not fall upon deaf ears, but rather my lips simply didn’t know how to respond constructively to her melting heart. I wanted to tell her how disappointed I was, but she already knew that. I knew she didn’t mean to hurt me when she pushed the cart as hard as she could and jammed it into my back and heels. As we approached the house, wet-eyed, drowning in Ginger3’s wails, she climbed out of the van, into the house, up the stairs, and into bed for a much needed nap.

I feel like a horrible mother when I can no longer console my baby or control my four-yr-old’s meltdowns. I feel helpless when my days spiral out-of-control. In truth, it has been some time since the last bad day, so I guess I can be grateful for that, but somehow knowing that was no consolation. 

I am thankful for my neighbor who agreed to get Ginger3 out of bed (where I resorted to putting him during one of his episodes) after dinner. He just wanted to be held for awhile, or that is what seemed to calm him in the midst of the neighborhood Power Wheel parade that surrounded him as he watched tearfully from her arms instead of mine. In that hour of time, I had the break I needed. I stood back from the action, shed some tears, gathered myself, and eventually garnered the strength to be a mother again. 

I have great appreciation for my friends’ surrogate mothering when I am in a dark place of parenting despair. I hope when things settle down here, I can be that person for another mother trying to get through a rough day.