Expecting the worst

MorethanourselvesParent-teacher conferences.

Few situations reveal my pessimistic nature more than these semi-annual conversations with teachers. How awful does it sound that some of my most negative beliefs occur around my kids? (But then I wonder whether that might be true about a lot of us? Please don’t leave me hangin’ here.) This week was conference week. I dutifully showed up with my notepad and pen, ready to jot down what the teacher wanted to share about my kiddos.

And I fully expect them to share something bad.

My heart is so full of love and affection for these kids. I genuinely delight in them and cannot fathom my life without them. Yet I enter these meetings assuming I’ll be hearing about their worst academic habits and traits. (Do you think it’s safe to conclude, then, that pessimism isn’t related to one’s love for another?)  Read more

On the road to happily ever after

LicenseIt was supposed to be the culmination of 10 months of learning and effort.

But that’s not quite the way it went down.

Last December my oldest child got her driver’s permit. (Don’t even ask me how she’s old enough for that to have occurred. I have no idea.) Since then, we’ve made a habit of instruction. Giving her regular stints behind the wheel and lots of verbal pointers while she rides along as a passenger. She’s studied the manual, taken practice tests and demonstrated the responsibility my husband and I required for her test for the license.

The big day finally arrived.

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Borrowed Glasses

Rose Colored Glasses“Not working!!!!”

This was the scream I’d hear too often from some remote part of the house. It was the battle cry of my youngest daughter, whenever something wasn’t going her way. A short, but fierce, exclamation.

I think it probably originated when she was learning to tie her shoelaces. But it soon began to apply to anything… opening packages of food, art projects (it’s hard when your vision doesn’t play out on paper!), and even interacting with her siblings. At thirteen, it’s now become a family joke, used universally for anything that’s not happening as planned. But I assure you: it wasn’t always funny. Quite the contrary.

This little darling of mine is my greatest parenting challenge. (She is an equal source of delight.) There’s always a reason she can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, didn’t or isn’t. Peer relationships, classroom work, athletic performance, sibling interaction, and parental obedience. There have been many (many!) days when I’ve pulled out my hair, wondering why it’s so hard to walk her through her life. And then one day, my husband says this to me: Read more

When you feel invisible. Or worse. (And a little baseball.)

BelieveYou might think you treat God’s Word as infallible.

But I’m willing to wager you don’t. And that you don’t even realize it.

We may not all agree upon (or even understand!) all aspects of the Bible. After all, we interpret it with limited human thinking. When I have difficulty squaring seemingly-contradictory passages of scripture, I end up praising God that He’s bigger than my pea-brain and am grateful that He and His Word are trustworthy.

“Except in this one area.”  Read more

The Heart of a Servant

Is an eight letter word twice as bad as a four letter word? You know the one:  p*tience.

Amos’ love for God and earnest desire to see Israel return to Him has been an exceptional example to me this week. God always seems to make the lesson personal — especially so in the last few days with some parenting challenges under my roof. Did your week require patience?

Patience and grace

Two visions of destruction (7:1-6) bring Amos to his knees on behalf of Israel. His heart of brokenness over the potential starvation and images of an ash-covered Israel drive him to beseech God to spare them. Read more

Rhythms

Summer vacation: excitement or dread?

Water Gun Fun. Copyright Holmberg 2009. All Rights Reserved.

School’s out in our neck o’ the woods. That means my carefully crafted schedule has been turned on its ear. No more neatly slated, color-coded Outlook appointments. Gone are the large chunks of time allotted for writing… something I apparently can only accomplish in blocks that exceed 120 minutes.

For many parents, the summer is a mixed bag, a combination of relief from monitoring homework coupled with a disdain for the unstructured time that seems to drive our kids to a screen or the pantry.  Read more

First Light

I wasn’t sure I liked what it said.

My pastor suggested reading Psalm 63 as a daily practice during Lent. I embarked on it with anticipation, certain that I’d have the whole thing memorized by Easter just from reading it consistently. Day in and day out, I was pricked by just the first verse, the first few words:

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
— Psalm 63:1a NIV

The word earnestly was my sticking point. It seemed to be the critical word in the sentence and yet I was uncertain of its intended meaning. Read more

Faithful and Just

He had lied. I gently confronted him in a moment of vulnerability and he confessed.

The topic of my son’s lie is essentially irrelevant — most children lie at some point, which means that many of you can relate to a parent’s perspective without my detailing it here.

Earlier in the day, my husband quizzed him about something we suspected he’d done and was met with vehement denial. When I later inquired again, his eyes fell and a quiet confession escaped his lips. We squared the issue and I encouraged him to apologize to his father for the layer of deceit.  Read more

Faux Fur, Siblings and the Search for Significance: Do I Matter?

The argument must have lasted for 10 minutes.

And that’s an incredible length of time for such an inane debate. My son contended the fur trim on his coat was real; my daughter insisted otherwise. But I was suspicious of his vehemence and sidelined him afterwards for a conversation about it.

“I think you knew it wasn’t real,” I probed.
“Yeah,” came the bashful reply after some careful inspection of the carpet at his feet.
“So, why did you keep saying it was?”
“Because I wanted to be important.”

I was flabbergasted both by the candor and the self-awareness.   Read more