Writers are Readers

  
 I turn in my bed, open my eyes, and lay on my pillow for another minute. There is no beeping alarm and I smile at the thought. (I do not usually smile in the morning). I grab my phone off my night stand and take a quick look at the clock. Just after 8. Fall break is great for sleeping in. 

I stretch open my eyes and pop in my contacts, fill a glass with water and quickly swallow my morning medication. I head straight to one of the most important things in life:  coffee. I grab my extra large homemade coffee mug and sort of smile when I remember that I paid ridiculously too much to paint this mug one day on a play date with my girl and some friends. But the mug says, “Caroline’s Coffee” and I like that.  Fall breaks are the best for drinking coffee. 

The house is quiet. James has already left for work. (He does not get to observe Fall break with us). Conner has already left for college. (My niece lives with us and I love her to pieces!  Her college break is not even as long as my third grader’s). And Madison is still asleep. I will let her sleep just a little bit longer and give myself a little time to read. Fall break is made to have a little extra time to read. 

Over Fall Break, I completed Ben Carson’s “One Nation” (AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL), started “Teresa of Calcutta” by D. Jeanene Watson (wow!  I want to be this woman!), and read a few more chapters of “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” by Tim Elmore.

I am a parent. I make mistakes. I want to avoid mistakes. This is the book for me. My daughter is eight years old. This is a great time to read this book. He says things like “let your kids fail” and my heart has this little battle with Tim and I say, “WHAT?!” And he says “yes” and I scream “no” and he says “It is the best thing for Madison” and I say “ouch!” And grab my heart and I don’t want my little girl to hurt but he walks through the benefits of letting our children fail and learn from their mistakes and what unbeneficial adults our kids will grow up to be if Momma is always coming to the rescue. And I want my daughter to be an aide to society, so I read on. 

I do want what is best for my girl, even if it is hard for me to loosen my grip and let go of one, maybe two fingers.  But as I do this, something absolutely spiritual happens.  Every finger that I release is replaced by one of God’s fingers!

Ya see, I am not throwing my eight year old into the hands of this world. Hell no!  I am releasing her into the hands of loving God, that believe it or not, loves her even more than I do!  He has plans for her, plans to prosper her!

So, this book has helped me with some very practical ways of knowing how to appropriately give an eight year old independence and what are some ways that I can let an eight year old take responsibility and feel some natural consequences and some natural benefits!  

And do you know what, she amazes me!  And when that girl works hard and gets things accomplished and when she is not entitled to sweets and playing and when she earns a trip out to get frozen yogurt with her cousin and a family night of Uno, she loves me all the more for it and I see that, as Tim Elmore says it, that “I am not raising a child. I am raising an adult.”  And Fall Break is the best time to raise my future adult. 

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Old Sticky Love

I believe in goals.  I believe in knowing what race you are in and running toward that finish line.  I believe in knowing what road you are on and what the destination is.

Love.  I want my love to be sticky.

Newlywed James and Caroline were magnificently in love with love.  We promised and we dreamed but we were only tying on our tennis shoes and the gun had not even yet been shot.  Counseled, researched, planned, and eager, we set out in the race of marriage and a life together.  But we had not yet gotten shin splints, holes in our tennis shoes, and the weather was a perfect sixty-five degree sunny day.

Newlywed James and Caroline sat in the food court of the shopping mall, planning where the day and our life would take us.  And then we got some of the best advice new love can be given.

Their age was old.  The kind of old that can barely move and the movements are slow and thought through.  She sat with white hair and a shriveled body in a wheelchair pushed by a white haired man, leaning over using her wheelchair as a cane.  Her hand was held across her body and her fingers were gnarled.  Their short walk from the door was an exercise in and of itself.

They sat.  Sat at the table right beside us.  He slowly and patiently moved the chair at the table and replaced it with her wheelchair.  There was no talking, just slow movements.  And then, she was left, left waiting.  He, the more mobile one, departed and began a slow shuffle just a few feet away but each step was a goal accomplished.  He achieved what he had set out for and slowly returned to her side.

He dipped the spoon into the cold, creamy vanilla.  Their eyes met and they lovingly smiled at each other.  He lifted the spoon to her lips, his hands were shaking with a tremor and uncontrolled movements.  She opened her mouth as the spoon fluttered forward.

Love.  Love fed her ice cream.  Love was sticky all over her face.  Their painstaking and exhausting mission was to set out and share an ice cream.  After a couple of bites, she had it all over her face, sitting smiling, smiling at her love.

The cup was emptied.  With great labor, he threw away the cup.  With great pains, he returned the chair to the table.  And they began their slow march to the exit.

James took my hand in his.  We smiled at each other.  We each had the same goal.

Now, the gun has been shot.  We have gone through a few pairs of tennis shoes.  We have helped each other up a few times.  We run and run.  Quitting is not an option.  One day we will sit and have our celebratory ice cream and then we will pick ourselves up and soar one last time right through the finish line.

We never talked to them, but their actions spoke louder:  Love can be sticky.