When Boys Become Men {Happy Thirteenth, Jacob}

The sky hangs blue in your eyes all year round, both windows framed with blond lashes and sparkling with melt-me diamonds. You use that against me sometimes. You could ask me for anything, son.

Happy Thirteenth Birthday

I remember your birth because of the pain and the breaking, but I also remember my dad, your grandpa, bringing me flowers and telling me he'd never been more proud of me. Those words are huge from a man like him and you inherited some of that, some of the quiet strength and the ability to drop phrases like bombs.

siblings, hugs










You've always been stuck with the label - the Quiet One. It's perfect that you came between two sisters because you bring balance and stability, with just the right dose of silliness. And when you speak we never quite know - will it be silly or profound or pig Latin or just blain packwords?

You were probably just 6 years old when we met the "Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites"...and the Pull-Up-Yer-Tights. It was a pitch black morning, the four of you barely awake and huddled around for Bible.  And you pull that one out of thin air, all of us laughing and never forgetting. You really know how to liven up Exodus at 6 a.m.

I had so many emotions as I looked back through your pictures, but time and again you had me laughing!

goof ball

There are layers of you that come out, deeper and deeper, and I love it.  I love the silly, but I love your insight, too.

You want justice, and you want people to be treated fairly. I see you, upset when others are upset and anxious to protect the underdog. I know you're just as ornery as the next kid but you have a big heart.

And you have buttons that get pushed.

I remember when you were a toddler and Shelby was a baby, how she grabbed your toy and your first instinct was to retrieve, but you pulled back. You looked at me and then at her and you let her have it (the toy, that is).  You weighed it all out and put yourself last.

We have to always keep putting ourselves there, Jacob.  It's really the way of things in this Upside Down Kingdom, it's how the last become first-in-line at His feet. And there's never a need to worry about yourself, because He's got your back.

brothers playing together

You want to enjoy all that life has to offer but I pray you enjoy God most of all. Play with Legos, ride your bike, log with the neighbors and Just Dance.  But most of all, above every other good and perfect gift He gives, enjoy Him. Know that He loves you and is pleased with you and has more for you than you have ever imagined.

You are thirteen today.  That blows me away and scares me and blesses me all at once.

I'm blown away that thirteen years can go by so fast and all I see are these snapshots of you and your siblings on the carpet, surrounded by toys and sippy cups and cheerios. I see a cart full of kids at Walmart and one mischievous toddler tipping the whole thing over. I see birthday parties and tea parties and bald-faced hornets and long car trips.

And now, all of a sudden, you have biceps and can whoop me at arm wrestling.

I'm a little mama-scared because thirteen is only five away from "adulthood" and will you be ready, will I be ready?  You said something funny about a Bar Mitzvah and manhood yesterday, and I can laugh because it doesn't seem real, but it is, nonetheless. Time will march on and you will be leading someday.

I'm blessed more than anything, though, because of the young man you are. I am confident that, though we have made our share of parenting mistakes and will make more, God has begun a work in you and He is faithful and consistent.

I'm blessed to see you with your siblings and to see you giving them your time.  I don't think you really know yet just how valuable that is, and how they love to be with you. You are a big brother to them all, even your older sister. No pressure...but you play a HUGE role in their lives. You need them and they need you.  I pray you cherish the moments together.


Jacob Daniel. May you lead in your generation, stand for truth and justice, and use your gifts for His glory.

Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper. - {Psa 1:1-3 NKJV}

{And just for you, because it's your birthday and all that, how about some Toby Mac at breakfast time? We love you, Jakey.}


Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose.







Where are My Glasses? {Five Minutes to Focus}

FOCUS. Sorry for yelling, but I have five minutes to write about this topic: FOCUS.

I could write about the child who's attention I fight to hold over math lessons or phonograms.  The one who I chase like a wild animal, and how just when I get him cornered up to the fence, and just as his breathing slows and I can almost speak slow and gentle to him...someone runs up and asks, "Watcha doin?" and he's off again.


I could write about the struggle to look in the right place with the right attitude and set my mind on things above, not on things in the mirror or the sink or on the floor or spilling over the baskets.

Or maybe the discipline of quiet time.  The set-aside time to FOCUS (sorry for yelling) on written words that speak loud.  The continual hiding away and bringing the heart back and how sometimes I lock the door of my bedroom just to get a second...

How about those times when ten minutes turn into forty-five and all my good intentions and scheduled activities are lost at sea because I lost my FOCUS?

Or how I freak out over little things and walk around looking for my reading glasses and everyone laughs because they're on my head (the glasses) and maybe they're a little nervous that this woman is in charge?

Or how I think without punctuation but speak with many... ellipses...and that's good because we're supposed to be slow to speak and I really have to FOCUS on edifices, aedificium, building them up.

Nah.  I'll write about How to Order Your Home to Create More Focus.  Sounds perfect.

Just another cup of coffee and then I'll start...


{Yep.  Five Minute Friday is here and this week's topic is FOCUS.  I freaked out a little, thinking of how to spend just five minutes on that one.  I'd love to read what you wrote.  Click the link and play along!}



How to Shock Your Kids Today

  rest in the middle

{Funny, how what I write in the morning can come back to bite me.  This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but the internet was having a Monday.  All day there were opportunities to throw in the towel - countless times of closing my eyes and counting silently down to peace.  But I had written this in the morning.  

So I made pancakes for breakfast, at the request of the only kid downstairs on time.  At lunch, we had pumpkin lattes and I lit a candle.  Someone roasted their kidney bean on a paperclip over my candle (seriously)..I closed my eyes and sipped my latte.

The butter dropped on the toaster, the schedule got overwhelming, practice ran late, dad came home after the kids were in bed and we had to talk about money...

But the sun came up beautifully this morning and He shocks us, right in the middle of Mondays,  and I'll shock them again today.}

Mondays can be hard.

I am really focusing these days, these young-adult and hormone-filled days, on setting the tone here and not being influenced by rising and falling emotions.  Not Pollyanna, but not tossed about by every circling crisis.

But sometimes the emotions are mine and I set the tone, alright.  I can cut slack for others because living grace-filled means that I remember who I am, who I was and who I'm supposed to be.

Saved by grace, and completely shocked by it.

So I open my eyes to all the shocking things He does this morning, and I see how He glows when His children smile.  I see how God does the unexpected and some of us protest (not on the Sabbath!) and how some of us marvel.

I see how He never changes, how He always loves and desires to be knownyadha,  in the Hebrew.  To be reverently familiar, intimately known.

Shockingly good.

I like to shock my kids, too.  Sometimes I think I embarrass them, but they smile and I glow.

So on a Monday morning, maybe start your week this way?

Put a note in a book you know they'll open today. A sticky note, with something funny, sweet, memorable.  Maybe a message to find you for a hug or just a simple three words - I love you.  I see you.

Say yes before they even ask.  Did they want to do something yesterday and you said no?  Because you were sensible and reasonable, I know.  Throw out caution today and lavish the blessing.  For us it's always sweets. Them always asking, me constantly saying no.  Whatever it is, if the value of blessing them with it today outweighs the risks associated with it...say yes.

Do their chores.  I know, children need to learn responsibility and hard work.  But they also need to see how to bless others, and what could be better on a Monday than someone doing your work for you?  Declare it a chore-free day, or do it for them with a smile.

Make them bacon.  My kids always think this is a special occasion.  Or maybe it's hot chocolate, or chocolate chips on their oatmeal.  Maybe it's a pumpkin spice latte?

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 cup espresso or 1/4 cup REALLY strong coffee (use more if you want a strong coffee flavor)

In a glass jar with lid, combine milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar. Shake vigorously until slightly foamy, and microwave for one minute. Shake again, and microwave again. Repeat until foamy and hot. Add vanilla extract. Pour into mug, with a spoon holding back the foam. add espresso. Then top with the foam. Voila!

(recipe from here)


Shock them with grace for the Monday mistakes and always, always point out His glory.  They'll remember those times and their eyes will be opened to His shocking love.  Just because.

{How about you?  Share with us ways that you shock your kids and scatter unexpected gifts.}

Linked with A Holy Experience, The Better Mom, Scribing the JourneyTitus 2sdays, Sarah Mae, and Imperfect Prose