If you love something, set it free…

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Sometimes as a mom, we have to let go of our own dreams for our kids so they can pursue their own passions.   I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes live vicariously through my girls. We want for them to experience the same joys we had as children, while at the same time- we want to make things better than we had it, too.

One of those things for me was being involved in chorus.  Although my girls love to sing, they have NO DESIRE to sing in chorus.  It broke my heart a little bit, but both of them have been playing in the band at school.

My youngest came home the other day and begged to take a different elective next year.

But you are so good at the clarinet!  You will regret it if you don’t continue! I told her.  I secretly wanted to cry when she told me she didn’t want to do band anymore.  She loves art and wanted to explore other things in school.

Honestly, I wanted to put my foot down and not give her the option of quitting.  I think as parents we have to encourage our kids to do the things that they excel at- because if we don’t, who else will? But my husband and I talked and he asked me if I wanted her to do band because it was something I wanted for her.  He felt like we should give her the option to choose what she wanted to do.  I thought my heart was going to break, but I told her that evening that it was her decision. I had to trust the Lord and let go of my own desire for her.  She chose to not take band and I begrudgingly signed the form for her.

This past week was my daughters’ band concert. I was so sad that my daughter opted not to do band next year, I didn’t even want to go that night.  I watched my youngest walk onto the stage and she found us instantly in the audience.  She smiled the whole time she was up there. I was so proud.  I watched all of them tapping their feet to the beat, bobbing their heads up and down to the tempo. They finished, and my youngest was brimming with pride.  I held back tears, knowing it was the last time she would be sitting up there.

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It was a bittersweet evening.  I can’t explain why, but every time I go to a band or a chorus concert, I get really emotional. If it weren’t for my involvement in music in school, I don’t know where I’d be today.

And then later that evening, my youngest daughter sat near me and began to cry.

Momma, I DO want to do band!  And I want to play all through high school.  Please, can I change my schedule?   I don’t ever want to stop…

I hadn’t imagined it. She really does love to play.

If I had put my foot down and made her take band next year, she may have not had that epiphany. I was so thankful that she realized how much playing in band meant to her that night.

It was truly the greatest Mother’s Day gift I could have received this year.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;  Proverbs 3:5

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Night Lights

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The smallest of lights

remind us of His presence

in the darkest night

We faced my daughter’s biggest fear recently.  My husband and I are so blessed to have two happy, healthy daughters- a blessing I do not take for granted!  The one thing that has plagued them is dental issues.  Due to frequent visits for unpleasant reasons, they both have a higher than usual fear of going to the dentist.

So when my youngest came to me in tears, with a piece of her tooth and a crown in her hand- I knew we would be making another visit to our Dentist friends.

As my daughter sat in the dentist chair, she asked my oldest to hold her hand.  Love conquered fear as she yielded to the poking and prodding… and the dentist said that she needed to remove the tooth- it was beyond saving.  My daughter sat up and ran to my lap.  As she cried and hugged me, I told her it would be ok-  God would give her strength to get through it and it would all be over with soon.

She was so brave.  And it was beautiful to see how loving and sweet her big sister was… holding her hand, encouraging her in a sing-song Mary Poppins voice.  When we got home, Katie even did all her sister’s chores without a single complaint.

And the best part of all happened at bedtime.  Katie offered to sleep in Sophie’s room- something she doesn’t agree to do often- but she did it to support her little sister. I tucked them both in and prayed with them.

The girls had put up small Christmas trees in their rooms the week before, and the lights on Sophie’s tree never came on. She was disappointed, but I told her we’d get her another one after Christmas. As I turned off her bedroom lights, as soon as I hit the switch- the lights on Sophie’s tree lit up!

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I am teary as I write this, because God is just so amazing.  The simple, beautiful ways He reminds us He is with us leave me in awe.  Those little lights on that tree were the biggest blessing to us that night, and they are still burning bright.

There is not enough room on the page to say how much I love the Lord.  God is good ALL the time, and ALL the time- God is good.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.  John 1:5

I have called you friend

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Déjà vu… it happens all too often lately.  One simple statement from my kids and I am instantly whisked back to my own childhood. My daughter got off the bus with her usual cheery smile, but I sensed something was wrong.

“Who did you sit with at lunch today?”

Nobody.”

My heart dropped to the floor.  She said that the table where all the girls were at was full, and that she went to the empty table and no one sat with her.  As she spoke, I had to hold back tears as I remembered so many similar days at my school.

I must have been about my daughters age-there were 10 to a lunch table, and all the “popular girls” sat at the main table.  There were 12 girls in our class, and the 11th girl and I sat at the other table every day.  One day a girl from the “popular table” was not there and I made a bold choice- I decided to sit where I always did, because I didn’t want my friend to sit alone, and because,well- that’s just where I always sat.  So I got out my lunchbox… I can still remember where I sat, and how the light filtered through the cafeteria windows.  I watched in slow motion as my friend came through the cafeteria lunch line….and sat at the table of 10.  She chose them over me.  I was crushed.

I went home that day and remember thinking I could never go back to school.  Ever again.  I stayed home from school the following day. I said I was sick, and really I was!  Sick to my stomach because I felt like the only girl in the world without a friend.

And I tell my daughter this story and tell her that she will never, ever, find a truer friend than her sister.  As quickly as I tell her this, she interrupts me and says “No, mom!  JESUS is our best friend!”

Oh how right she is!

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  John 15:5

The next morning, as we waited for the bus, I told her to look for someone at lunch who needs a best friend- because she already has one- Jesus!  And there are so many people out there who don’t know this Friend of hers- and He wants to be their friend, too.  I tell her it is so simple- just love people and show them that you care about them.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

He is with us wherever we go, He will never leave or forsake us, and we are never alone.

Jesus is all the world to me:
  My life, my joy, my all.
He is my strength from day to day;
  Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go;
No other one can cheer me so.
When I am sad, He makes me glad;
  He’s my Friend.  

 by Will Thompson

Siblin’s Day- our made-up holiday…and a song about it

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Two are better than one- Ephesians 4:9

I love my sister.

There is no person on earth that knows me like she does.  All we have to do is look at each other- and we crack up. We know what each other is thinking before we even utter a word. It’s like we can read each other’s mind…I love laughing with her and being silly.  Since I moved away (almost) 10 years ago, we don’t get to see each other too often- but when we do, it’s like no time has passed!  I am so blessed to have a sissy!  She visited me this past weekend-which happened to be the anniversary of a holiday we made up when I was in college- “Siblin’s Day”.   Funny enough, after we made this holiday up, a national day has been set aside to celebrate Siblings Day- and coincidentally, it  happens to fall right around our own- April 10th!

Ok- honestly? We just wanted a special day to buy each other cool gifts.  Because we know each other so well, I can think of oodles of neat things to get her. So, we settled on the first Sunday of April- unless it falls on Easter, and then it is the 2nd Sunday. That is our designated “Siblin’s Day” Holiday. And yes, when we say it, we emphasize the first syllable- sib-lin… not sib-ling

So here are the rules we established on our first Siblin’s Day-

1. We must pick a theme. It is way more fun to shop when you have a theme in mind. Our first theme was “butterflies”.

2. We must find a gift to fit in with our theme. I still remember the beautiful butterfly hair clip and butterfly garden book she gave me on our first Siblin’s Day…

3. Find a “Sib”. I know not everyone has a sibling, but we all have special friends that are like kindred spirits, you know? Those friendships are worth celebrating, too!

4. Trust your “Sib”…. so this was a silly rule. No, we didn’t really mean that we would trust each other with our lives or anything…this one was shallow... we trusted that we would find the perfect gift to brighten the other’s day.

And through the years, we have forgotten this date a few times… but nevertheless, I am thankful for my sister and for our special relationship.  Even as adults with our own children now, we still act like kids when we are together.

So- don’t delay! Pick your theme now and tell your Siblin’ you love them!

It’s Siblin’s Day- the greatest day of the year!

And yes, we made up a song years ago to celebrate this day….I hope this silly song brings you JOY!  My sister and I spent many years singing and making up songs together- what a blessing it was to be silly and sing with her again this weekend!  Thanks, Netty, for singing with me!  Happy Siblin’s Day!!!

It’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year! You find a theme… you find a gift… you find a “sib”… trust that sib… cause it’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year!  When I’m happy and when I’m sad.  When I’m lonely and when I’m mad.  My siblin’s always there for me-  ’cause she’ll always be my family!  It’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year!