No Mercy, Kids! No. Mercy.

Zac’s been home sick a few days. I was so over hearing “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!” “I don’t want to be sick anymore!”

I decided to be a great mom, like a super great mom. We turned on some National Geographic Show about polar bears brutally eating innocent little baby seal, ate pizza and played cards. When playing games with my kids, my rule is: No Mercy. (Well okay, maybe a little.) But the one thing I will NOT do is let my kids win.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it?

We were playing Skip Bo and Zac only had one card left in his pile, I had four. He was so arrogant, just knowing he was going to win. But then mom AND

Boom

 

But the thing is, Zac doesn’t lose well:

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He was so mad, he threw the cards everywhere and stomped his way upstairs.  I sat and patiently waited for him to come back down and pick them all up. It took a good 20 minutes or so before he worked through his tragic loss and picked up the cards.   I thanked him and we moved on.

I just don’t “get” the everyone deserves a trophy, where we don’t take score, and all kids are winners. Life doesn’t work that way. Life is way harsh and mean. Losing well is a necessity in life. We spend way more time on this earth losing, than winning. If our kids can lose well, even at a game, then they will be more prepared to deal with the real losses, the ones that actually matter.

What do you think? Do you let your kid win at games? Comment below.

Let’s Chat!!

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How Clooney at the Globes Challenge Us to Greatness

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Sunday I sat on the couch watching over privileged, pretentious actors tell each other how amazing they are over food and drinks that cost so much it most likely could have fed the entire population of hungry and homeless of the entire GLOBE.  Hence the name: Golden Globes.  I was not impressed by their hidden LGBT agenda, or their super shiny foreheads, but I did enjoy some of speeches. One in particular struck me.

George Clooney received a lifetime achievement award. His eyes teared, yours perhaps could, too. Or maybe not.

 

 

It dawned on me that there is something to be said about the appreciation of marriage as we grow older. I’m not certain Clooney would have even publicly expressed his love in such a way to a wife at 30, or even 40 years old. At 53, Clooney  appreciates his role as husband. It seems he embraces the feeling and choice to love.

Michael and I are working on our twelfth year of marriage. Only in the last two years have I truly grown to respect the covenant of marriage. Besides this roller coaster we ride called hell LIFE that has taken him and I up and down and then back up and then back down, it has been my age, my mistakes and God-given wisdom that gives me my new outlook.

Marriage is hard, people. So very hard. Hard enough that half of the people who decide to do it, bail out. And then there are the group of people who don’t even dare try.

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Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan said it best in the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN:

There’s no crying in baseball!

Yah, that was a very. important. statement, by the way.( There is absolutely NO crying in baseball.)

But when Geena Davis’ character Dottie is leaving the team, she explains to her coach:

“It just got too hard.”

And Coach replied:

” It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

We all want great marriages. We want to be the Proverbs 31 wife, and our husbands to flawlessly transition from provider to husband to father. We wish we had Clooney’s money because we are tired of being behind on bills, and let’s not even talk about how our kids have outgrown every piece of clothing we bought a few months ago, all $400 of them. We want our co-workers, and fellow MOPS moms to sit around and clap and give us awards so we can tell millions of people how grateful we are for our love and our chemistry that happened after waiting a lifetime for the right person and Praise God, we made the right choice and there is no looking back.

LBR (Let’s Be Real)

It just doesn’t work like that. Because…

Marriage is hard.

But when we do have those moments, those brief exhales when we can look around at our unbathed kids as they giggle at their dad’s crude jokes, and there isn’t one thing on the living room floor, and it is the day you washed your hair, we have our own version of greatness. Embracing those simple, fleeting moments is what gets us through the hard, and is what will make us great. Embracing great moments needs to be enough to fuel us through the hard.

Because your husband may never do a load of laundry for you…

Or know exactly what that squint of your eyes actually means…

or be able to talk to you for two hours starting the second he walks in the door from work.

Your wife might not always have every single dish put away…

or know why she’s crying…..

or understand the burden you carry every day.

But each of you have the possibility of greatness, within your marriage. Embrace it, and love it–like you’re a 53 year old Clooney.

LG | LP

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Ferguson, Garner and Cop Killings through the Eyes of a Bi-Racial Family

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I sat on the couch breathless as the Grand Jury results were released on CNN. There would be no indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the tragic death of Michael Brown.  Brown’s death was tragic because it was unnecessary, no matter where we place fault. And the tragedy continued as small business-owner’s had their life and livelihood burned down, stores were ravaged and an entire community was completely ruined.

I watched until I couldn’t watch anymore.

We talked about it, for days. We muddled through the events, the quick shift in the tide of the Nation and how our world needs, well let’s be real, it needs Jesus. But we didn’t just talk about it from a middle-class, churched, Suburban America perspective. We talked about it from the perspective of black, Hispanic, white, mixed and law enforcement—because our family is all of those things.

I am white.

My husband is black—his background is in law enforcement, he is currently a forensic investigator with a Masters in Criminal Justice.

My two (step)daughters are black.

My son and daughter are half Hispanic, half white.

My youngest son is half black and half white.

We are a blended, bi-racial family.

We have learned that the world is very jaded and racism is alive and breeding right here, down your street, in your family, at your church. It is based on ignorance, and lack of respect for the whole of humanity.

We have heard comments like:

“What is it like to have a black step dad?”

“Wow, your kids look really Mexican.”

“Your mom is white? That’s not your mom!”

“How is that your last name, you don’t even look Hispanic at all?”

When my husband and I started dating, I was on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life. I married a black man, and the black community has not always welcomed me.

Recently my son texted me this photo found on the wall in his high school, where the demographic is predominately Hispanic:

 

taft racism

 

When we walk into a restaurant, we get glances and blatant stares. People don’t know what to make of us.  My kids have fun with it. I was at Walmart with all five of them, and they convinced everyone I was their adoptive mom, who rescued them from the foster system. I walked out of that store a saint that day.

 

But I am their mom, 3 of the 5 came out of my womb. My husband is their dad—biologically 3 of the 5. We don’t see our race, our color, or origin. We are family. I don’t think about my husband being black, and don’t look at my kids as Mexican or Hispanic. They are just my kids. We don’t have to “work hard” at not seeing the color of our eyes or skin or hair as a definition of who we are.

So when these things happen—these racially charged issues, these murders, these injustices—we are forced to reconcile who we are individually and as a whole—and re-examine our worldview.

My husband’s perspective is unique. He has been a patrol officer, in dangerous situations with all races. He is military combat trained, he is highly educated, and considering law for his future. But he is also black, and has been on the receiving end of profiling of police officers, where respect and courtesy only come to him AFTER the police officer finds out he too is in law enforcement. Being a former officer, and a current investigator he also has great respect for law, and the reality of consequences for our actions.

I grew up in a predominately white family, although my step-dad is Hispanic and my younger brother is white and Hispanic. I lived a somewhat sheltered life, and my grandparents, who were influential in raising me, grew up in segregated Texas. They were loving and accepting of all people, yet traces of their childhood remained.

My son and daughter are also mixed with Hispanic and white.  They are influenced by both races, and are exposed to their Hispanic culture, yet don’t see themselves as anything but simply, people.

My (step)daughters grew up in a predominately black community. They went to an all black private school, and attended an all black church. As they have grown up, they have embraced the diversity of our world, and love people just because they are people.

Then there is the youngest: Half black, half white, with 2 black sisters, and a Hispanic brother and sister. He gets lots of questions, and I’m grateful that he has yet to experience any overt racism.

But as we sit and watch CNN and read the tweets—and we hear of police officers being murdered, it all hits us, because we are all of those things. We aren’t just the white cop who was the shooter, or the black teenager who was shot—we are both. We aren’t just the people angry at the injustice of the world or just the police officer who got killed leaving his family behind, we are both.

We can’t pick a side, because there is no side to pick.

I remember dreading time on the playground during recess when teams got picked to play soccer. That was the worst feeling, not knowing if you were even going to get picked at all. But it didn’t really matter as long as you got to play.

Somehow, our society believes that we have to pick a team, but by picking a team, we are leaving out the most important thing—the privilege of humanity. We watch the racial divide growing, and are stunned at the growing fire of racism because we know it’s possible…It is possible to look beyond stereotypes.

It is possible to look at a person’s actions apart from their skin color.

It is possible to embrace humanity.

It is possible to take responsibility for who you are, without blame.

It is possible to co-exist.

It is possibly to live in harmony.

It is possible to simply love.

I don’t have any other solution but this:

We must learn to love, in an unconditional way, with deep humility and passionate servanthood. We must teach our kids, and every other kid we are in contact with, ever in our entire life, that people are human—not black or white or Hispanic or Asian or … We must push our kids out of their comfort zones—we must push them into situations where they are forced to see the world through a multi-colored lens. (I know too many kids who live in middle-class bubbles whose parents won’t make the effort to expand their perspective on the world. Not just from a race perspective, but from a socio-economic one as well). We must take responsibility for our own thoughts, ideas, and the conclusions we jump to because it’s the way we have always thought.

We must challenge ourselves to walk through Samaria, and talk to those we wouldn’t normally talk to, regardless of how they dress, or what type of education they have or what they have done in their past. We can’t change this generation, but we can change the next!

But we can’t do that alone.

Until we admit that we need help, until we humble ourselves, and admit that we need the power of Jesus to flow into us and then out of us, we will remain the same—living in the impossible.

It is only in Christ that all things are possible.

I’m grateful for my possible– for my bi-racial, blended family. I believe, even in our imperfections and failures, we are a picture of the power of the love of Christ!

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To My Christmas Eve Shoppers

Fellow Last Minute Shoppers,

I look forward to running into you at Target on Christmas Eve. Christmas is only two weeks away but we have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Stores will be open just for us early on Christmas Eve, and hopefully awhile  into the evening (because we will run out of tape). Besides us, the world will be none the wiser that we waited until the last possible moment to buy presents for our family.

Our kids will be completely fine with Designer Impostor Perfume of Marc Jacobs Honey, and the leftover Xbox Games in the $19 bin. When you can’t find the exact Airsoft gun, then you can just pick from the pink one’s that are left and tell your kid he can paint it whatever color he wants.  And even though they will only have size 4x left in that shirt, I guarantee it will shrink a size or two or four in the dryer.

And if all else fails–gift cards.

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Whether you are a crazy procrastinator, or waiting on getting that last paycheck right before the big day, know that  I got your back.  I, too, will be up until 3 am wrapping gifts. And those beautiful gifts can sit under the tree for a whole 3 hours before they get ripped open. Then there is always the big, big decision to make: do I go to bed or just try and make it through until the kids wake up?

I know. I just go to sleep, too.

Friend, I am not sure when I got to the place where Christmas became so overrated for me. When I was younger I absolutely loved the whole magic of the day. I loved the family and the lights and the songs. But now, no matter how much you try and keep CHRIST in Christmas, we are swimming in commercialism and marketing, and the BS that is daily shoved down our throats.

And then there are our kids who we desperately want to re-create that magic for. But being a magician can be so exhausting. Can I get an Amen?!?

My Reindeer Game plan:  focus on spending time with my kids, sit around the tree, talk about Jesus. The presents can wait.

Merry Christmas,

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This Time, It’s Different

My house is drenched in Lysol and the scent of every possible Scentsy bar I could find in my drawer. The stomach bug is being passed around in my house like good weed at Woodstock. (Probably bad weed, too). Either way it’s not pretty, or fun. We are just making bets on who is getting it next, who will have it the worse, and who will sleep the longest. Thank goodness we are past the age of, “Mommy, I didn’t make it to the bathroom!”

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I will not let this horrible little prick of a virus stop me from writing. Even if I only get a paragraph or two out of myself between picking up sick kids from school, buying ginger ale, and spraying down every light switch. I am receiving so many stories: heartbreaking, cries from the soul, triumphs of strength. I’ve cried reading every one…EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

I am writing this book…and I’ve started writing books before, but not like this. This time, I swear it’s different. I’m certain you’ve heard that before…I know I’ve told myself that. Oh this job will be different…this boyfriend will be different. But for real this time. It’s like when I married Michael, it was just different–and right. For some reason, this time when I sit to type it just all flows out…and no only does it just flow out of me, it actually might make sense when I’m all done.

If you have “daddy issue” stories, please keep sending them. If you need some questions to help you get started, I have a few. Or if you just want to tell me your story, how you tell stories, I’m listening (and I will then proceed to cry). And if not, pray for me. I believe God will use this thing I’m doing in some small way, to make some huge difference in some jagged corner of this round world.

And just keep doing your thing, loving God and his peeps!

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