Jackson Five Friday: My Lap ChildĀ 

I’m currently sitting on an airplane with my oldest son, just him and me. It occurs to me that we’ve never done this before — where it’s just us and we each have a ticket, a paid seat. Oh we’ve travelled just the two of us, a lot.  I once counted it up and it was staggering. When this guy was an infant my husband worked a ton, and there was a string of deaths, weddings and births in our family.  We also traveled for pleasure. By the time Nate was born, knocking little Will off as the free “lap” child at 21 months. Dub and I had taken more than 30 flights.  Yes, that strikes me as totally excessive too. 

He was never on a schedule, clearly with that much travel. He learned to sleep anywhere, and was an old pro, packing cars and boardbooks in a tiny red backpack when he was just one.  He was a delight, and so easy.  For the first few months of his life, we flew back and forth to Florida every few weeks, obviously with no knowledge that my brother Craig would die in a plane crash when Baby Dub was just eight months old.  But oh the treasure of the memories made on those crazy frequent trips!  The horror of thinking I could’ve been wedded to nap time or unwilling to nurse my ginormous lap baby wedged between two oversized men on at least one of those flights. 

Life is often complicated. Today it’s not lugging a stroller or a carseat, it’s working out the details of boys in every direction in May, the most insane month of the year.  This morning I went to school with Sam at 7:45 because today is the deadline for his reading goal and he needed to take book quizzes. Then from 8:30 till 10:30 was CultureFest. When Sam finished his presentation, I drove home, threw some random stuff in my suitcase and Dub and I headed for the airport.  My point is this: travel almost always involves stress.  But who cares?  If the point of the travel is to build or maintain relationships, then I say go for it.  Do not wait. Do not say it’s too much. Do not think it’ll get easier.  If you live far from family and friends and can make a visit possible, then for goodness sake, DO IT!!  Attend big events. Go for no reason at all. As much as you can. I promise you won’t regret it. 

Jesus said that we, as the body of believers, will be known by our love for one another. Travel may or may not be required for you to live that out. In the next 48 hours Dub and I get to see many that we love!  May our love be evident and reflect well Jesus’ love for us.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend loving your peeps too. 


Jackson Five Friday: Ingratitude

Hey Friends,

It sure is a beautiful Friday here in Tennessee.  The greenest of greens has reached the top of the mountain, and today it’s nearly cloudless skies and not a hint of humidity.  I just went for a little walk, and snapped the picture above.  I love the light filtering through the trees, which means I live in the right place because the whole drive up and down the mountain is polka dotted — the sun and trees compete for space on the blacktop, creating an ever-changing work of art.

Ahh, but even with the beautiful surroundings, I’m not as full of wonder as I’d like to be.  I have a child who’s general lack of gratitude has me feeling sort of bummed out.  I am not the type of parent who likes to remind my children of all I do for them.  In fact, I pretty much refuse to do that.  I like doing all I do for them.  Actually I love it.  I do not mind spending hours upon hours in the car driving them around for sports.  I honestly don’t.  I’m grateful for their aptitude and opportunities.  I like talking with them in the car.  I think they are interesting and funny and even when they are quiet, I just like being with them.  But sometimes, when there’s an air of entitlement I start to question if I am doing something wrong.  Because honestly being taken for granted is just a pretty crappy state-of-being.  I mean sure they gave me lovely Mother’s Day cards, which totally made my night since my flight from Detroit landed at 10:00pm Sunday night and when I got home everyone was in bed.  Those cards meant the world to me.  But sweeping platitudes aside, do your children live out the gratitude they surely expressed to you just last week?

Mine are sometimes incredible, but other times, like right now, I feel there’s a real disconnect.  I need to pray about how best to engender a grateful spirit and for me I just know it cannot be reminding them of what I do.  I’m just not doing that, and I don’t want Will to either.  But if you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Of course, the lack of gratitude problem is kind of a teapot and kettle situation.  After all, how often am I guilty of ingratitude myself?  Not toward my sons or husband (although I am surely that too sometimes), but toward my Heavenly Father.  I believe every good and perfect gift is from above, and yet I am terribly ungrateful that I wake up healthy and energetic almost every single day.  Just last night I rammed my leg into the corner of a bed so hard I thought I’d chipped the bone or something.  It still hurt when I woke up this morning, but I think I’m fine.  Upon reflection, it’s just a good reminder to be grateful for every little thing, but in the moment, I was downright mad about it.  Just like my sons when something doesn’t go just their way, the inner ingrate starts to take over.  They sometimes cannot look beyond a minor inconvenience to be filled with gratitude over everything else.

Lord, help me to be grateful.  I see so clearly what ingratitude looks like.  It is so ugly.  Help me not to take YOU, my perfectly loving Parent for granted.  May I recognize every gift is from you.

James wrote that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (1:7).  Is that amazing?  I started this blog about the light and the shifting shadows on the road before I looked up this verse.  Now, may this beautiful sight be a reminder that God never changes.  He always loves.  No matter what.  Even if I were the epitome of an ingrate, He will still love me.  And guess what He loves you too.  No.  Matter.  What.

Have a fabulous weekend!




Jackson Five Friday: Taking Hiaties

Hi Friends,

You likely have no idea what hiaties are, so let me explain. A few weeks ago Will and I decided that the weekend-only video game policy needed review.  While video games provide many laughs in our home, they are sometimes obsessed over. Sam in particular is prone to video-game addiction.  As we have done many times before we put the gaming system away (Will actually hides it and I truly don’t even know where it is). 

Sam came home from school that Friday as happy and unsuspecting as a lark. His reaction, which was embarrassingly witnessed in full by a friend from out of town, was stupefying.  Oh the begging!  The devastation!  The submission of his life savings!  The case against him having a serious problem was more airtight than the case against OJ. 

Thankfully his detox only took about a day.  That Saturday we went on a hike that he wasn’t overly enthused to go on. Yet once we got there he didn’t want to leave.  One gushing waterfall wasn’t enough. He wanted to hike another mile to see a different one. Amazing how impactful spending time in creation can be, isn’t it? 

Yet the addiction is not completely gone because this week he said, “You know, Mom, it’s not really a hiaty if it’s gone forever.”  Clearly we’ve had greater success in teaching Sam the meaning of “hiatus” than its pronunciation. And I’m pretty much in love with his nuanced analysis. But while I appreciate his observation, it did not result in the PS4 being returned. 

Honestly it only has me thinking all the more about how vital “hiaties” are. The Bible is chock full of warnings about guarding your mind. How are you doing on this?  You filling up only on good things — whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable?  Paul says if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about those things. (Philippians 4:8). You doing alright on this?  Or might you benefit from a hiaty?

I for one need to review the mindless time I spend online. I’ll sit down to answer one quick email, and next thing you know I’m watching Prince cover Radiohead. I don’t even know how I got there. Or I’ll be meaning to order one little thing on Amazon and next thing I know I’ve scrolled through every Facebook post since 2009. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, thankfully. But it’s mindless, entirely mindless. The one thing it’s not is harmless.  It’s a downward spiral. It’s not excellent or praiseworthy and I end feeling like a loser, which in turn makes me feel uninspired and unproductive.  There’s a time to unwind and I love keeping up with old and new friends on social media, but I need to stop the mindless scroll. 

Plus there are Christian bloggers I follow or friends link to in that mindless scroll that I sometimes find downright disturbing. You can be funny, you can be caring, you can be charismatic but if you disregard the teaching of the Bible then how is that really helpful?  I want to be spurred on, not dragged down. I need a hiatus from this discouragement. 

Maybe you need a hiatus too?  For some, it might be politics. For others it might be media that fuels obsession with appearance or wealth or the picture-perfect home. I don’t know what it is, but I bet everyone could use a hiaty or two. 

I love these words from Paul, again from Philippians. 

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heats and minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:6-7)

Yes, may God’s peace guard both my heart and mind. And yours too. 

With Love,