Wednesday, December 10

I Found What I Want to Do the Rest of My Life

As a mom, I’ve always wanted to teach my kids how to embrace Biblical characteristics like generosity, loving others, etc. Maybe you can relate and you’re wondering, like I did, how to do it.

My friend Courtney DeFeo has done an amazing job of not just telling her kids about these things, but showing them.

I think you’ll love her guest post today. And be sure to take a few minutes to watch the video. I promise, it will make you smile and tear up all at the same time. Excuse me while I go get a tissue. Here’s Courtney…

I am 38 and I have just discovered what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It’s to show heartfelt appreciation for others in a way that shows them the love of God.

And for the next 10-12 years of my life, I intend to show my two girls how to do this while they are under my roof.

I believe our kids learn more through laughter, not lectures. They want to experience WHO we know not just WHAT we know.

This is exactly how my mom taught me about virtues. She showed us. She wasn’t perfect – and I am so thankful for her authenticity and mistakes. Those very moments taught me forgiveness and unconditional love and gave me the freedom to be the same imperfect person covered in God’s grace.

Just the other night, our family had a chance to go surprise Miss Curlie at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. She’s one special cast member who has been working there 41 years with 25 years of perfect attendance.

She had no idea that her love to my kids left a mark on ME! I was simply trying to SHOW my kids what gratitude felt like, and I was in turn blessed by this woman. She has cleaned the bathroom on Main Street for all these years and I didn’t want to assume someone else was thanking her.

As God’s children, I want our family to be courageous and generous with our kindness. The first to step up and out of our comfort zone.

When we do that, we just never know what hangs in the balance of our obedience.

Watch this video below and read the full story here – you’ll see. Of all the thousands of employees, God knew Miss Curlie needed a simple “Thank You.”


(If you’re viewing this post in an email, click here to watch the video.)

My girls respond so much better to my virtuous parenting attempts when I am not lecturing them on how to shape up or ship out. Instead, I am inspiring them to be more like Jesus. Because it actually feels good to serve! It feels great to give!

And when I invite them into these opportunities, I see their hearts swell. Everyone likes to be involved with something bigger than themselves.

I am taking an army of moms through 2015, one virtue at a time, with my new book, In This House, We Will Giggle. It’s got 12 virtues and 12 family fun activities. We will go slow and focus on one virtue each month. We will never be perfect but we will giggle.

Today, I’m giving away 10 copies of my book to randomly chosen commenters! Just leave a comment telling me one thing you’ve been teaching your kids lately to be entered to win.

Wednesday, October 29

If These Walls Could Talk

I was cleaning out my closet several years ago and casually tossed a black and white polka dot dress into the give away pile. My husband Art happened to walk by and ask what I was doing.

I knew I needed to ease into this conversation because he’s not much into giving away a piece of clothing just because it’s out of style. His theory is if it isn’t threadbare, it’s still perfectly good to wear.

Plus, he no longer grows out of clothes. That pretty much stopped for him in high school.

I, however, have a different body type. One that has issues which require size options…especially around my thigh, hip, and waist regions.

And I’m no fashionista but if people start asking to borrow things from your closet for the ugly Christmas sweater party or a throwback to the 80’s themed get-together, it might be time to get rid of some things.

Ahem.

So, I quickly replied, “Just getting rid of some things we no longer need.”

“Well you can’t get rid of this dress,” he stated with great passion.

And then just as I was about to explain what birthing babies did to the body that used to wear that dress he continued:

“I mean this is the dress you were wearing when I fell in love with you.”

Needless to say, I kept the dress.

But it no longer hangs in my closet.

Let me explain.

This past summer, as I was preparing for child number 4 to leave for college, I decided to do a little redecorating in our home. And as part of this process, I also decided I wanted the artwork in our home to tell the story of our family.

I didn’t want to purchase things to hang on the wall just because they looked cute and filled the space with a decorative flair.

I wanted my walls to talk and tell our story. It’s not that our story is epic. Not at all. But I love tracing God’s hand of faithfulness in our lives through the ups and downs of our imperfect love.

So, when you walk in the front door, you’ll find the dress.

This is where it all started. There was a crazy city girl in a polka dot dress that caught the eye of a farm boy from Alabama. And then all this happened because the two of them fell in love.

This is the copy of the prayer Art’s dad prayed over us on December 5, 1992. I wore a long white dress I got on the clearance rack for $200. My little sister, who was just 2 at the time, sang “happy birthday” at the top of her lungs during the lighting of the unity candle. And the first morning of my honeymoon I had to brush my hair with a fork because I’d forgotten to pack a hairbrush.

The first year of our life together wasn’t easy or blissful. But one of the greatest gifts we got that year was this letter from Art’s grandfather. After describing in great detail the homemade biscuits and giblet gravy Mamaw had made for him that morning, he wrote what has become our motto for marriage: “Life is more than just the living of it. Now, go discover it together.”

There were kids and dogs and beach trips with sunburns. There were sleepless nights and tears and a hormonal wife that threw orange juice across the kitchen. There was forgiveness and flirting and days we just pressed through.

And we marked how they grew on the doorframe of the kitchen. The days were long but the years so short.

NapkinTies_post

There were old traditions and new traditions as we gathered around the sticky farm table. The food was never fancy but the conversations were long and linger to this day at our sticky farm table.

This is the making of an imperfect family who is still crazy about one another. So, I guess you could say our walls do talk. They tell a love story. Our story. My favorite story.

Friday, October 10

When Fear Chases Me

My eyes popped open and my heart raced when my phone buzzed at 1AM. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour. I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone.

“Mom, police have my dorm on lockdown and are running up and down the hall shouting. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m scared.”

It was from Ashley, my college freshman daughter, over 7 hours away from me.

I tried calling her but the reception was so bad neither of us could make out what the other was saying. Texting was my only option so I asked a series of questions trying to get a better handle of what was happening.

My hands were shaking. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.

Scary images assaulted my mind with all the possible scenarios a completely shaken mama conjures up in moments of frightening uncertainty. I sank down to my knees and begged God to clear my head and give me the words to text that would help…

Have you ever experienced an intense moment of fear like this? Day by day, I’m learning that I can feel afraid but I don’t have to live afraid. I’m sharing what this situation with Ashley has taught me about fear over at (in)courage today. Click here to read the rest of this story.

I’m also giving away 3 copies of It Will Be Okay right here on my blog. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win.