Parenting as Narrating

“Are those for Gabe?” Owen asks. He is four, tall, freckled, inquisitive, looking over my shoulder at the computer screen. He sees me perusing car seats, and is curious if they are for his little brother. I stumble around internally, searching my brain for the right mixture of words. “No. You know how our family has everything we need, and even so many things we want? Not all families have that. Mommy gets to help those families get what they need.”

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
“Good Bones”
Maggie Smith

He is perplexed but accepts the answer, and I am simultaneously saddened and relieved. He knows now that not all families are able to buy what they need. He has some sort of idea, now, that when Mommy is receiving UPS packages, they are filled with items that others in the community have helped pay for, so that a foster family has a stroller, or a family at risk for children being removed has enough mattresses. He knows, now, that these things do not appear magically, or without effort.

I should feel good about this teachable moment. Maybe I do, a little bit. Mostly, I feel sad, I feel the loss of his innocence. I feel the weight of narrating the story of life to my child, and the fact that the story is often tragic.

For every child loved, a child broken, bagged, sunk in a lake.

Keep reading at Fathom Mag.

it’s a mother’s day giveaway!

Mother's Day Giveaway (1)

I’m delighted to present the Joy Woven Deep
Mother’s Day Giveaway!

This giveaway is built around the idea of supporting mamas in as many ways as possible. It’s not simply that the gifts are intended for mothers; the mama love doesn’t stop there. Most of my partners for this giveaway are moms, and many of the founders of the companies represented are as well. Many of them employ moms, providing income opportunities and flexible, kid-friendly schedules. This giveaway is a 360 degree mama celebrating party, and while Mother’s Day may be a Hallmark holiday, I can’t help but believe it’s one worth celebrating.

The Packages!

Giveaway Package #1: Sign & Sparkle
Pen & Bloom
is a signs & design shop created by Cheyanne Phillips. Pen & Bloom offers wooden signs, wood slices, custom addressing and paper inscriptions, all in an artsy, unique style. The winner of package #1 will receive a $25 store credit to Pen & Bloom, to be used in the shop or on a custom order! pen and bloom collageConnect with Pen & Bloom: WebsiteFacebook | Instagram | Email

Noonday Collection is a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. Noonday gives us the chance to wear beautiful jewelry made with love by women the world over whose lives have been changed by the empowerment of a job. Lindsey has contributed these lovely Charmed Hoop Earrings (made in Ethiopia) to our giveaway & this May Designs/Noonday Collection collaboration monthly view planner, to our giveaway!

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Connect with Lindsey: Her Noonday Site | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway Package #2: Style & Sweets
LuLaRoe
is a modern line of women’s maxi skirts, pencil skirts, a-line skirts and dresses. Their leggings feel like butter, and they are constantly releasing fun new patterns in limited quantities, so there’s a fun little rare quality to LuLaRoe purchases. Laura Brown, LuLaRoe rep, has contributed a $40 credit toward her LuLaRoe collection!

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Connect with Laura: Facebook

Sissy’s Sweets makes our FAVORITE yummy treats! Owned by Marissa Martinez, Sissy’s is an effort to put a little more celebration and sugar into the world, while saving for Marissa’s big dream of finishing seminary. Marissa has contributed a dozen cookies for yo mama!

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Connect with Sissy’s Sweets: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Email

Giveaway Package #3: Scripture & Spa

Freehand Truth provides you with colorful reminders that God is good. Owned by Sarabeth Harlow, Freehand Truth offers one-of-a-kind Scripture canvases. We have one of Sarabeth’s canvases hanging in our youngest son’s room and I love it for so many reasons – the verse itself, Sarabeth’s handwriting, and knowing the prayers that she pours in to each canvas. Sarabeth has donated a $20 shop credit to our giveaway!

Freehand

Connect with Freehand Truth: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Raindrop Essentials is the doTERRA Essential Oils business of Kailey Vick. Kailey is committed to living life to the full one drop at a time with doTERRA essential oils. Raindrop Essentials has contributed a spa trio to our giveaway – a hand lotion, scented bath bar and lip balm.

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Connect with Raindrop Essentials: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Immeasurable Shop is the dream of Sally Shake. This shop is a result of her passions and ideas. She believes that creativity is, at its heart, immeasurable. Immeasurable Shop carries headbands, pillows, zip bags, baby quilts and more. Sally has contributed a $20 shop credit to our giveaway, perfect to use toward a headband for a day at the spa (or a day of regular mom life!).

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Connect with Immeasurable Shop: Website | Instagram

EACH PACKAGE will also include a copy of The Mother Letters by Seth & Amber Haines and Selections from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

BooksPHEW! Can you believe it? You’ve made it this far, so it’s time to enter the giveaway. There are A LOT of chances to win one of these three packages for your mama, yourself if you’re a mama (or if you’re not. I’m not judging.), a mama you love, whomever!

You’ll notice that the entries for Facebook pages simply request that you visit the page. While this is the only task required to earn that entry, we would be SO grateful for your “like.” For small businesses, creatives, and writers, that social media support is incredibly meaningful and helps us along on our journeys.

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, 5/1. Winners will be announced first thing Monday morning.

Package #1: Sign & Sparkle | Earrings, Planner, Sign, Books
Package #2: Style & Sweets | LuLaRoe, Cookies, Books
Package #3: Scripture & Spa | Canvas, Soap/Lip Balm/Lotion, Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fine Print
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with the Haines or Ann Voskamp. I simply love their work and am excited to share it with you!
Prizes may not be exactly as pictured.

when life is a whirlwind & He sympathizes with my weaknesses.

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A few days ago, I stood at the sink in our kitchen, washing my hands, thinking. I looked up at the liturgical calendar I keep on the bar, the one nestled between pictures of the little boys, behind the holy day candle. The calendar stands there to remind me of the seasons, to anchor me in time.

Each page of the calendar tells me of a season based on the life of Christ. Right now, of course, it says “Lent.” Alongside the name of the season, various themes are displayed. And as I looked up from the trickling faucet, glanced away from my dripping hands, one theme caught my eye: disruption.

I felt the prick in my spirit immediately, recognized the inner knowing nod, the familiar frustration. In the last 8 days, Gabriel got sick, then got better just in time to go to Shriners. Twice. Then Jared got sick. Gabriel is now clingy and cautious, sore knees that haven’t directly touched the floor in weeks and uncertainty about what will happen when people touch him, what is coming next if I release him from my arms. Owen is feeling the chaos, trying to sort it out, asking me if Gabe has another “ma-ppointment,” if he has a babysitter coming.

This morning, I have called at least 6 different phone numbers trying to get a medical paperwork question answered to no avail. Both kids want my engagement at every level, want to climb on me and lay on me and are unimpressed by me attempts to engage them in independent activities. Right now, they are decorating a laundry basket with pipe cleaners and ribbon, and I suspect this will last for about 42 seconds. Actually, I overestimated. Gabriel is now 10 inches away from me pulling the cleaning supplies out from the cabinet (we’re big time “safety first” people around here, clearly) and Owen is yelling for me help him decorate his “rocket ship,” because “this is hard work.”

Gabriel has learned how to say “mommy” recently, which I treasure, storing up the gentle, excited sing-song of his voice.  But sometimes, his call makes me wonder how mommy-ish I really am; it makes me wonder if I have the tenderness these littles need. It makes me wonder why I feel like I’m one of the “mom” mothers, not the “mommy” mothers. It makes me wonder what it means when people observe that I don’t talk to my kids “like they’re kids.” It makes me wonder if I’ll be better at this when they’re teenagers.

I keep thinking about that word, disruption, about how just because our life has a high level of intensity, that doesn’t mean the little nuisances of everyday life won’t still happen. It all happens. The big and the small happen all at once, or they alternate, or they go quiet simultaneously or they get loud together and life is either a season of disruption or a season of waiting for it, of training my heart not to fear the future, not to assume that frustration is coming, but doesn’t it seem like it inevitably does?

Disruption in the context of Lent grips me hard and forces me to a lower places than I’m naturally prone to go. It transports me to the reality of the disruption of Jesus, of His perfect, earthly existence, of His sudden confinement to a body of a flesh, of endless worship turned to fatal scorn. He was not acknowledged for who He was, was not beheld, was not treasured or recognized. He was disrupted at the deepest level, disrupted unto death.

And the thing is, I don’t think that the Spirit is calling the death of Jesus to my mind in order to shame me. I don’t think He’s minimizing my disruption or negating it. I think that He is calling me to mirror Jesus in His acceptance, to acknowledge the pain and the imperfection and the wishing it could be another way and to keep going, to press in, to be willing to endure disruption, confident of the promises to come.

When I question my motherhood, when I think someone else could do this better than I could, when I see my limitations and weaknesses staring back at me in the form of two tiny faces, I think of disruption, of how to lean into it and not away from it, of how thankful I am that Jesus did not cling to that which was rightfully His. I am asking the Spirit to remind me of how unconcerning it actually is if I feel like a “mommy” mother or a “mom” mother, because I am the mother who is here, the mother who loves and prays and brings alongside, the mother God appointed for the boys He gave us. I think of how He is the One who decided that an introverted, thinking over feeling, writing over crafting woman would be the nurturer of these little souls, would be the mother who tries to live a life where experienced disruption is not equivalent to internalized depression so that her children can engage a broken world with strength, with the expectation of pain and the endurance to bear it.

Disruption is not my ideal, but it is not eternal either. And the Jesus Who faced ultimate disruption is eternal, so while I wait for the paperwork phone call and for Daddy to come home and for Gabriel’s anxious heart to calm, I’ll think of Him, how He knows more of disruption than I ever will. And maybe by the end of the day I’ll know Him, I’ll trust Him, just a tiny bit more.


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