Dear Doodlebug // Letters Day 7

Dear Doodlebug,

Happy Birthday, baby boy! I cannot believe you are FOUR YEARS OLD!

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You are so special. I love your sweet little sense of humor and your squinty-eyed smile that lights up a room. You are a loyal friend and you are so passionate about the things you care about.

I pray that as we share the good news of the Gospel with you, that it would take root in the soil of your heart and it would produce fruit in your life 30, 60, and 100-fold. May your life bring glory to Jesus, sweet Jack. For all of life truly is about Him.

I love being your mom. I love your sweet kisses. I love how you call me Mama Llama. I love when we argue about who loves to the moon and back and back around the moon again. I love waking up with you snuggled up on my pillow. I love when you bring me flowers you picked. I love you.

Forever yours,
Mommy

Dear Lady & Stink // Letters Day 6

Dear Lady & Stink,

This morning I reminded you that your brother’s birthday is tomorrow and asked you guys to make him cards. Before long, I heard change shaking from piggy banks and soon you brought 15TL (about $8) to me and excitedly asked when we could go to the mall today and get Doodlebug the Lego set he wanted last time we were browsing in the bookstore.

My first instinct was to tell you to put your money back in your piggy banks– we don’t have the van at home today, so we would have to taxi to the mall (which is loads of fun with three wiggly kids!), I already bought Doodlebug a birthday present and he doesn’t need more Legos, and that’s YOUR money so you should save it for what you want (’cause goodness knows I’m
NOT gonna shell out for every toy you ask me for!) I’m thankful that I stopped myself before I could tell you any of this crap, and I could instead praise your generous hearts and make plans to get us to the mall.

I don’t want you guys to grow up to be people who don’t want to expend time and energy and money on others. The world has enough self-obsessed people and they are pretty hard to be around. I want you to find pleasure in spending on others– not just yourselves. It’s so anti-cultural, and even my knee-jerk reaction to your request this morning shows me how much I let the sins of selfishness and entitlement affect my heart.

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As much as you argue and fight and bug each other, I’m so thankful for the love you showed this morning when you guys pooled your money and wanted to bless your brother. Moments like that help me keep the right perspective– you ARE hearing me when I lecture you on kindness, God IS working inside your little hearts to help you see others instead of just your needs/feelings/wants. You inspire me to confront my own selfish tendencies and ask for God’s help to make me more others-focused. You reminded me that we are all works in progress. We all have a long way to go.

I’m so grateful for what you guys teach your ol’ mom. I love you.

Mommy

Dear Sheep Kidney // Letters Day 5

Dear Sheep Kidney I ate for dinner at my friend’s house tonight,

Just no. I can’t even. Sometimes my life feels normal and then all of the sudden I’m eating you on a plate with rice and I have to focus to get you down– chew chew chew swallow drink water repeat– and I remember I actually don’t live a very “normal” life.

I’m sorry I ate you. No really, I’m sorry I had to eat you. Believe me, I would never order you up for pleasure.

Let’s just agree to be non-digestive friends, mmm ok?

Your slightly ill-feeling pal,
Sheila

Dear Bed,
I love you. No, I really really REALLY love you. No one else in my life is quite as constant as you are. And I love you for that.

You’re always there to catch me when I fall (asleep). You think the answer to any problem is just a snuggle away. And you leave me feeling (mostly) refreshed after our time together.

You rock my world (and me to sleep).

Zzzzz,
Sheila

Dear Girl at the Park // Letters Day 3

Dear Girl at the Park,31days2014

You are maybe two and a half years old and just so darn cute. You don’t talk much, but you sure tugged my heart strings yesterday.

The kids and I pulled out our sandwiches and apple wedges at the park and you sauntered over to our bench to check us out. I passed you a handful of fish crackers and I’m pretty sure you were absolutely sold on me after that 🙂 (I love living in a culture where handing out snacks to other peoples’ kids doesn’t make me a creeper.)

You watched Lady, Stink, and Doodle carefully, mesmerized by their play. You toddled after them and then chased yourself back to the bench where I sat watching my kids. You maneuvered yourself up beside me and watched from my side for a little bit. I couldn’t help wondering if you look like our Lovebug. I’ve never seen her face, so I don’t know.

Maybe she’s two just like you– or maybe she’s six and she once looked just like you do now, with dark brown ringlets and almost black eyes. I hope I know soon.

I loved imagining her with yesterday afternoon as I kept looking up and counting heads (job hazard) and I was always counting four. I can’t wait until I can count to four– and know they’re all really, truly mine.

1014052_10101345778261668_6455611823664079662_nThanks for the precious little glimpse into the future. I loved meeting you at the park yesterday.

Just a Crazy Mama,

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Dear Fall // Letters Day 2

31days2014Dear Fall,

Don’t tell the other seasons, but you are my favorite. Maybe I’m not supposed to play favorites, but I truly can’t help it. It feels glorious to don slippers and pull a blanket up to my chin while I sip my hot coffee in the morning. I love pulling out my big soup pot and letting dinner simmer for most of the afternoon– it just feels cozy.

My only beef with you is that you don’t stay long enough. I feel like I have barely packed away my shorts and flip flops and I want to savor the light layers season, but too quickly I need a jacket and boots. Could you move a little more slowly, please? Hold winter off as long as you can, stay with us!

You may not have an answer for me, but what is up with the pumpkin everything while you’re in town? I feel the bile rise up every day when I see the Facebook posts of pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones– good grief, is there a baked good that hasn’t been polluted with pumpkin yet? I guess that’s not your fault though. I’ll take your broccoli and cauliflower though, they go perfectly in my soup pot.

Welcome, old friend. I’m glad you’re here.

  Yours truly,

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Dear Reader // Letters Day 1

31days2014Dear Reader,

I see you pushing that post-peanut-butter-sandwich-sticky toddler in the swing. You woke up to find a kid had peed in the bed and are so tired you can barely think.

I see you reading by nightlight as you rub a tiny back after a bad dream. Soon you will attempt to army-crawl out of the room and pray you don’t land on a rouge Lego.

I see you sitting down for a break during nap-time, ignoring the dirty dishes and the piles of laundry for a few moments, counting down the minutes until bedtime.

I just want to affirm you wherever you are today, mama. Motherhood, although amazing and a blessing, can feel like being hit by wave after wave at the beach and being unable to catch your footing to stand back up. It’s heavy, hard work and it’s literally messy with sticky hands and poopy diapers and Legos all over the floor.

But get this, mama. 2 Peter 1: 3 says,

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.”

Um, did you catch that? By God’s power, He is giving us everything we need to live a godly life. That is ah-mazing news for us, dear one! We can do this thing– we can wipe noses and pick up toys and cut crusts of sandwiches and answer 7,327 why questions and share the Gospel of Jesus with our kiddos because God Himself equips us with everything we need to be mothers to His glory.

I hope this thought lifts your heart today– ask God for His help in this crazy awesome job, and then warrior on! Thanks for joining me for 31 Days of Letters this month, I’m excited about what October may hold–

Your friend in the trenches,

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31 Days of Letters

Well, it’s that time of year again! A whole bunch of bloggers are stretching their fingers and getting ready to blog for the whole month of October! Are you participating this year?

I am currently working on a special writing project in all my spare time (BAHAHAHAHAHA, I just can’t say that with a straight face… so.much.to.do.all.the.time.) and so I’ve gone back and forth about participating in 31 Days this go ’round. I have a soft spot for it though, since writing Soul Coffee last year launched me into publishing my first book– SQUEE. I am still not over the fact that MY BOOK is on the INTERWEBS for people to BUY which feels kinda LEGIT.

So… special project notwithstanding, I thought spending some time with the figurative pen to paper (fingers to keyboard just doesn’t sound as cool), would help me stay in a writing groove this month and hopefully even clear some cobwebs I’m experiencing in my writing right now.

I really have no clue what I want to write, but my sister (Hi Em!) does this cute feature on her blog sometimes that she calls “Letters”, so I’m kinda borrowing her idea and spending the month writing letters. They may be sappy messages to my kids, or random thoughts to the lady behind me in the grocery store, or complaints to the trees in my city for not changing their colors. I’m gonna play it fast and loose, mmk?

Will you join me this October as I write

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Day 31: Clothe Yourself Well

A few years ago, I was participating occasionally in a weekly blog challenge to post my outfits for the week. The point of the challenge is to encourage stay-at-home-moms to get dressed and care well for our appearance, instead of staying in sweat pants all day every day.

The problem for me became that I was constantly obsessing about putting the perfect outfit together to showcase for the world (you know, all three of you who read my blog– hi mom!) I was caring a little too much about what I was putting on myself each day. I was considering too much what others would think of me based on my clothing choices.

About that time, I read 7 by Jen Hatmaker and one of her chapters is on clothing. It really shook something inside of me to realize my pride in my appearance– that I was spending too much time shopping for clothes, getting myself dressed, and gazing at myself in the mirror. I began to spend the time I was getting ready each morning praying instead of obsessing. I prayed that I would be clothed with Christ. I prayed for specific characteristics and qualities I wanted God to clothe me with for the day– like patience, compassion, love, and joy.

It was just the practice I needed to stop my self-pride and focus on getting myself ready for the day in the ways that matter most. I may have the cutest sweater, most trendy jeans and most perfect accessories on, but if I am not “clothed” spiritually, I am not ready to face the day!

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14)

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

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Day 30: Pray about Everything

When I was a very new mom fretting about starting my first baby on solids, I spoke with a veteran mom from church whom I very much admired. She shared her experiences with babies and solid food and encouraged me to pray about what food to start with and how to begin.

I have taken that advice to heart so many times over the years– praying about things others might deem small and worthless. Dropping naps, giving up pacifiers, solids, when to take a kid to the doctor, how to get to heart issues in correcting and disciplining my children, how to explain hard truths about life (like cancer and death)… the list could go on and on.

Paul would probably tell a new mom the same thing my friend told me:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. (Philippians 4:6)

Isn’t that just the perfect piece of advice for moms? Baby having trouble settling into sleep habits? Pray. Fever spiking again? Pray. Rash all over child’s skin? Pray. Starting solids? Pray. Teenager starting to drive? PRAY. Firstborn applying for college? Pray. Child having difficulty with friends/teacher/schoolwork? Pray. Son talking back when you ask him to do something? Pray. Daughter not wanting to share about something going on with a friend? Pray.

What are you worrying about today, mama? Don’t worry anymore, instead pray about it.

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