Friday, January 27, 2012

The Happiness Balloon

Scene 1: The service counter at Shoprite, asking for our complimentary balloons.  Micah receives an orange balloon (yay! his favorite!).  Titus receives a green balloon (not his favorite).  He refused to receive it; I tie it next to Micah's orange one.  I leave with one son happy and one son exceedingly disgruntled.  During the lifespan of the green balloon, as it slowing sinks to the floor and gets smaller and smaller, the green balloon is completely ignored and neglected.

Scene 2: One week later, same place.  Micah receives a green balloon.  Titus receives a yellow balloon.  Mama says a prayer for grace. 
Micah: Yay, I call it orange! 
Titus: I call my balloon red!
Smiles and joy all around as we leave the store.

These stories are to introduce you to the philosophy of my new book; look for it in local booksellers near you.  It will be called:
The Happiness Balloon:
Seeing Bliss in Life's Many Disappointments

Chapter One: The Happiness Blanket
Chapter Two: The Happiness Hippopotamus
Chapter Three: The Happiness Truck
Epilogue: Three Steps to Happiness with a Blue Shirt (we're still developing this one)

May all your balloons be orange hippopotami today!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Playgroup is for parents

Today was one of those days.  Do you have them?  One of those If-I-Stay-In-The-House-With-These-Boys-There-Are-Sure-To-Be-Moments-Of-Regret Days.  I woke up feeling worn, failing to get up early enough to either exercise or have a quiet moment before my sons were up and at 'em.  I was distracted by cooking projects in the kitchen... things that could be done during "nap time" but that would be temptingly calling me from the play area back into the kitchen to do "just this little thing."  (If you don't know me, I LOVE to be in my kitchen.)  I felt already impatient with Legos and settling disputes and answering questions and listening to the same CD again. 

Solution?  Playgroup.  

Here's the sad but true fact:
I parent better in public.  

It sounds hypocritical, doesn't it?  Shouldn't I hold myself to the same standard of parenting excellence in the privacy of my home that I can mange others are watching?  Do I not remember that I live under the eye of an all-seeing God, who sees me either at playgroup or at home?  Do I know that He sees my heart? 

Yes. Yes. And yes.

And yet...
There are days when it is better to see and to be seen.  To absorb the energy of "out" and the energy of other young families.  To remove the distractions of my home and kitchen, so that I will sit on the floor for an hour and a half and do whatever my sons want to do.  To be in a place where other mothers are playing with Legos and to follow their models of patience and engagement.

Playgroup is for me.
Not to drink coffee and gossip with the other moms (I'm not that parent), but to force me to be a better parent, if only for the morning. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I heard her say: You are a beloved daughter of God.



Of God

I am not "only" a player in the story of my sons.  
Not best supporting actress to my husband.  
Not an extra on the set of Mountain Street.  
I have a story to live.  God is writing it for me.  I am His beloved.