Archive for the ‘Just a note’ Category

Better yet

My Sam,

You know how much I love going on early morning beachcombing excursions during our family reunions.  Those are precious times to me, not just because of the quiet of the morning, but because of the thrill of discovery.  As soon as the dawn breaks, I get the hermitcrabfirst peek at the overnight activities of sea life and marine birds.  Do you remember the year that all the baby sand sharks were temporarily trapped in the large tidal pools by the inlet?  And the time we found a skate in a similar situation?  What about all the hermit crabs skittering around in the shallows?  Or the terrapin turtles holding their heads above the surf?  Bliss.

But my favorite things to find have been shells. The most spectacular finds have been truly unique.  And of those, these two remain the most striking for me.


This is the shell of the summer of 2014. It was the first shell I had ever found like it, and to me, it was the most exquisite find imaginable.

The summer of 2014 was a particularly joyful time in life.  That winter, I had shed work life and traded it for homeschooling.  I spent each day cheerfully homemaking, reconnecting with you, my spunky eight-year-old, and reveling in the hope that we could have more children.  It doesn’t get better than this, I thought.

Fastforward four years…

This summer is a particularly reflective time in life.  In winter, I welcomed healing and rest after a long season of physical and emotional demand.  Each of these summer days, I awake swaddled in the knowledge that Beer-lahai-roi* (The God Who Sees Me) provides my every need, and knows my every thought.  I am caught up in the current of the remarkable journey He is leading your dad on.  I am secure in his promises for you – my precious love –  that even now, God is knitting together all things for your good.  There is no better life than this, I think.


This is the shell of the summer of 2018. Though I had found others since, the size, brilliance, and heartiness of this shell struck me as the most beautiful one yet.

During the years between the summers of 2014 and 2018, I certainly found some beautiful shells while searching the shore.  But they all seemed dwarfed, imperfect, or lackluster compared to my first standout find.   Our life in these in-between years (I don’t have to remind you) might have been described as the same – on a good day.

But even as we struggled in those difficult four years to trade our worries for supernatural peace, our failures for joy, and our sorrow for anchored trust, God was working.  He was building.  He was restoring.   He was anticipating.  He was providing.  He was carving out our path and helping us take every step.  He was replacing the most beautiful thing I could imagine before, with something unimaginably better.


Two shells

May this bring you great hope someday,

Your Mommy

When You did awesome works that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains trembled at Your presence.  From ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God but You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.  – Isaiah 64:3-4

*Read the story of Hagar and her encounter with “Beer-lahai-roi” in Genesis 16


You’re my favorite thing about every day

Sam Bug,

Today is my birthday!!  I am feeling reflective today, not just on my life but on ours.  I’ve been so enjoying watching you grow that I was startled by the upcoming road sign that reads, “Adulthood – 9 years ahead.”  How could we be half-way to that landmark so soon?

Road sign

I wonder if either of us will remember how we spent sunny homeschool afternoons reading in the hammock, or how you have begged me for hours to spin you on the makes-me-sick-to-watch merry go round.   I hope you forget the way I have groaned for the last 4 years as you learned to tell jokes.   But, I hope you will remember a heaping handful of my parenting mistakes so you feel like a rockstar when you are a mom – and you will be an amazing mom someday.

At least once a day lately I find myself saying, “I never want to forget this moment.”   When that happens, I try hard to tattoo it into my mind in full glorious detail.

Yesterday’s moment was the monkey-in-the-middle game we played as long shadows faded into dusk.  You were literally foaming at the mouth with excitement.  Your dad and I threw the football back and forth while you squealed and giggled, barely getting any audible words out.  You, only child, have been content to be the monkey for the last [nearly] 9 years.  In fact, the few times you got the ball, you have given it back to us.  Today, though, in a Samantha first, I missed a catch and you beat me to the ball – fair and square,  you were just faster than me.  Then, instead of handing it back, you said with smoothly fabricated sympathy,  “Awwww.  Did you want this?  Here, you can have it back.”  You seemed sincere so I reached out for it, just in time for you to snatch it away.  “Ohhh.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” you said, with convincing remorse, “I didn’t mean it, here you go.”  And you snatched it away again!

Master humor….Check.     Growing up too fast…..Check. Check.

You are my favorite thing about every day.


When the voice lies to you

Tsam discouraged 2o my amazing, beautiful, smart Samantha,

Yesterday you told me about the voice in your head.  The one that harps on your mistakes and calls you worthless.   The one that tells you, “great job, you messed up again” and “you’re never going to figure this out” and “just give up.”

In that moment, I had the privilege of telling you the simple truth.

That voice is lying to you.

And it is doing so LOUDLY.  

So loudly, in fact, that you have had me yelling over it for weeks.  I found myself screaming things like, “Look at my face!  I am not upset with you!” or,  “Listen to me!! You have done nothing wrong!” and, “I love you so much!!!”

After not too many days I realized how ridiculous I sounded, so I stopped.   That’s when I heard it – the voice.   It was full of lies.  Unoriginal ones.  Picking on an elementary school girl over spelling rules and capitalization.  Despicable.  I can’t believe I didn’t recognize it sooner.

I felt an uneasy mix of heart-brokenness and relief.  I have been fighting a losing battle with the voice in your head.  The voice has been taking over our classroom and our life.  But it stops today.  This voice has already been defeated.  The battle plan has already been written and tested.

I looked intentionally through your eyes, into your heart and spoke slowly.  “If the voice isn’t telling you that you are amazing, that you are beautiful, that you are smart, or the like, then it is lying to you.”   It was a powerful moment.  I half-expected thunder.  But in that quiet space where we lingered, I hope you felt what I felt – Truth was rising and the voice was shrinking away.

sam encouraged

“Everyone has a voice that tells them they’re not good enough.  I do, Daddy does, everyone does.  I can take on MY voice, but I can’t defeat YOUR voice.  It’s yours to conquer.  Only you can be in charge of it.”

Your eyes were big with worry, but you were listening.  I did my best to keep my voice even and calm as I explained the plan.

“In fact, it has already been defeated FOR you.  So all you have to do is claim it!  And do you know how you do that?  You defeat it with the truth.  Because lies can’t exist in the presence of truth, and the truth always wins.”

You were full of questions.  “How do you know it works?   What if it doesn’t?   I hate it, I have to make it stop!  It feels like I am being attacked in my head.”

I pulled out your bible verse journal and dusted it off.  “You are going to start memorizing all the things that are true.  They have already been written in a love letter to you, in the bible.”  I thumbed through to the next unfilled journal page and at the bottom gleamed this verse:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…think about such things.  Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

“I have to cut it out and tape it to my wall so I can remember it!” you exclaimed, digging through your desk for scissors.

“You’re going to do that, and better.  You’re going to tape it to your brain so it sticks forever!  And when you find yourself in need of it again, it will always be there.  And trust me.  You WILL need it again.”whatever is true

Courage to correct little mistakes comes from the same place that  you will find courage to fight your greatest battles in life.  It rises from confidence in the truth that you are amazing, beautiful, smart, and so much more.

Amazing. Beautiful. Smart. and So Much More.

Never quiet in my love for you,

P.S.  I, for one, am glad to have the privilege to start this discussion at eight, over 3rd grade spelling, instead of at sixteen over your no-good boyfriend (wink).

Some resources that I was glad were “stuck to my brain” before starting this discussion:

The Armor of God, teaching ideas for children

“Truth Box” with God’s promises, personalized for you

Solid Joys, daily devotional by John Piper, “The Window of the Heart”