The Last First Day

Several years ago, my friend Amy told me about a book she read that discussed how parents celebrate the “firsts”, but often miss the “lasts”. Usually it’s because we don’t know when those “lasts” will be…the last time we read a book to our child in bed, the last lost tooth, the last Band-Aid we apply. Tomorrow, however, is a “last” that I am very aware of. Tomorrow is Emma’s last “first day” of school.* That also means that, after more than decade, it’s the last day all three of my kids will start the same school together. This is the last year we’ll have a “first day” picture with all three kids, the last year my girls will play volleyball together, the...

Forgiven

I love to go to the beach. With its sounds and smells, the feel of the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, ahhh. It is so relaxing. And since I live fairly close to the beach, I can go pretty often.  When we lived in Florida, we went most often to the Gulf of Mexico. I remember lying on my towel and looking out at the water – the same Gulf that kissed the shores of Florida also touched Texas and, of course, Mexico. And when we ventured to Florida’s east coast, I looked out at the Atlantic and thought how amazing that ocean went all the way to Europe! I may not be able to visit England, but I could visit a body of water that touches England. But the Pacific Ocean…that thing is HUGE! The waters I touch in the Pacific also touch the shores of...

Home

Having moved several times in my adult life, I am jealous of folks who have lived in one place their whole lives, whose parents, siblings, and extended families live close enough to share Sunday dinners and holidays. Sometimes, I get a little bitter that I didn’t get that story. I long for roots — deep, decades-long roots – in one place. Instead, I have shallow roots all over. This week, God has been reminding me that I do have roots, I do have a home. The permanency I long for is a reality. At church on Sunday, our pastor spoke of Heaven and said, “Imagine…what is most precious here on earth is the asphalt of heaven.” In my Bible study, I am nearing the end of Revelation, where John describes the beauty and majesty of Heaven....

The Purpose of Pain

As a parent, I hate seeing my children in pain. Yet, in the 17 years I have been a mom, I have had to do just that: three broken bones, two surgeries, a concussion, countless shots and skinned knees and cuts and who knows what else. Sometimes, though, I have to make the decision to inflict pain on my children. I had to do that today. My son needed oral surgery to remove an impacted tooth. If this tooth weren’t removed, it could have messed up his whole mouth, causing major pain in the future. But in order to remove the tooth, the doctor had to cut into his bone, extract the tooth, and stitch Thomas back up. You squeamish folks just got a little sick reading that sentence. Imagine having to sign the paper giving permission for it to happen? It’s awful....

I Love Jesus, and I Love Theater

I watched the Tony Awards Sunday night. I love watching the Tony Awards – love seeing the performances, love celebrating the winners, love the theater. Always have. I was a “theater kid”, and I had the amazing opportunity to grow up near one of the best community theaters in the country, surrounded by “theater people”. I spent most of my childhood and teen years on or behind or near the stage. The theater, for me, was like the baseball field for other kids. It was my happy place, my safe place. It was home. But as I watched the Tony’s, I felt like an outsider. Even though I laughed and cried at the opening. Even though I know most of the shows – all the revivals – and could totally take James Cordon on in Broadway...

How to Know You’re Growing

This summer, my kids are seeing friends and family they haven’t seen in a year. The first response – especially for the younger two – is “Wow! You have grown so much!!” And they have…well, the younger two. Dave, Emma, and I pretty much look the same. Emma hasn’t grown since 8th grade. (Neither have Dave or I, for that matter. Not in height, anyway!) All this listening to folks in shock over how much my kids have grown physically made me think about spiritual growth. It’s easy to measure physical growth: measuring tape and scales can tell us exactly how much we’ve grown. But how can we tell if we’ve grown spiritually? We can tell in much the same way my kids discovered how much they grew — by asking...