A True Story of a Ridiculous Mother

This past weekend I took Zac to Fiesta Texas so he could swim his energy away. I took up residence in a lounge chair and did what I do best…watch people. And in the summertime, my people-watching reaches a new level because I am wearing sunglasses. I can watch people and they don't know they are being watched. Sounds creepy, but I'm a writer. I simply stand firm on the fact that I'm doing research, developing characters, whatever.

So this mom and her friend and their two girls were sitting next to me. I took a pic of them in front of the wave pool for their Instagram or Facebook. Then Blonde mom and her 8 year old or so daughter stood in front of the pool, and brunette mom snapped a photo. Blonde mom came back and checked the photo and it wasn't what she wanted so she wanted another one. She stood next to her daughter, and leaned down and whispered something to her.

Mom stood up and the daughter, I KID YOU NOT, this EIGHT YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL

I

KID

YOU

NOT

…sucked in her stomach.

I wanted to do what Jesus would've done and smack that mom in the face…okay maybe not the face, but perhaps just a simple sucker punch to the stomach. Perhaps. (after a conversation with my sweet friend from Florida [wink, wink, you know who you are] I want to make it clear that Jesus would never actually punch someone. He didn’t even beat the crap out of the guy who sold him to send him to the cross. It is ME that wanted to punch the mom….I’m working on being more grace-filled…I am a work in progress.)

I planned on writing an open letter to the Blonde Mom, but feel it more fitting to write to every parent. There is no pressure or formula to raise our kids flawlessly. As parents we are just imperfect people raising imperfect people. But there are certain things you just cannot do. And this is one of them.

So I say this to you with the same anger Jesus had in the temple when he freaked out and flipped tables:

Your child is not a canvas in which to paint your insecurities.


I'm not judging, I'm stating observations. Blonde mom–now known as 'Ridiculous Mother'–doesn't like herself. She is more concerned with what her Facebook friends think about her. To this mom, that sweet little girl is a direct reflection of her. I mean, we can't have our middle school friends thinking that our 8 year old growing super cute kid is anything but perfectly thin.

Every time we push our kids to be thin like we want to be, or be the best athlete like we wish we were in school, or even be protected more than we were, we are leaving a permanent mark on complete purity.

So stop.

Stop hovering, and feeling guilty. Stop caring about what other people think of you…as a person and a parent. Stop telling your kids to suck it in or suck it up. As a counselor I have worked with too many young girls who refuse to eat. As a youth leader I have seen too many boys who will never measure up to their dad's ridiculous expectations. Stop hurting your children because you haven't dealt with your own heartbreak.

I'm speaking to myself as much as I'm speaking to you. I live so afraid that my children will look back and hate their childhood, or feel in some way that I have failed them. My daughter told me last night that I care about these things more than they do. We all do…we care about things our kids don't even consider–like whether or not they look fat in a swimsuit.

What insecurities have you unknowingly pressed upon your child's heart–making it theirs?? How did your parents do that to you? Comment and Share

LG|LP <3 Tiff

Why I’m Pissed About | Miley Cyrus

Over the last few days I have read countless blogs about Miley Cyrus and how we were all sexually violated by her performance at the VMA's. If you didn't catch it, just know that there was a stripper-like, self-deprecating display of hip movement and horrible singing in front of millions of viewers, and Jesus.

Writers of blogs from every genre are talking about how surprising her behavior was. And Christian bloggers have taken it upon themselves to personally offer her some sort of official grace and forgiveness on behalf of all of us, while sharing their genuine concern about the condition of her heart.

Was her performance disturbing? YES. Surprising? NO.

Come on people. It's YOUR fault. It's OUR fault. We did this to her. The American people. The society who cares only about themselves and the wants of their children. We did this!

We bought the Hannah Montana wigs. We purchased the $200 concert tickets for our seven year olds. We told her by our actions, and by allowing our kids to idolize her that her value was found in what she did and not who she was. We have even told her that she can sing. And we ALL know that's not the truth.

We are a selfish people who love to exploit the lives off others. Our first world, spoiled curiosity enables paparazzi to shamelessly follow every movement of every star. We buy the magazines. We listen to the E! reporters. We watch the VMAs.

This is a sad, silent epidemic. As adults, we allow behavior, and dare I say encourage certain behavior, in children whether they are stars or not. And when these kids act out, or have dysfunctional lives, or sadly commit suicide, we want to blame everything and everyone else but ourselves.

But it's our fault. We raise children to believe they are infinite. We raise children to believe their actions have no life-long or eternal consequences. Our children live without boundaries, with the freedom to make too many of their own decisions without the knowledge or the maturity to handle the outcomes. We want our kids to be happy. And because of that, young people commit suicide, teenagers hate themselves, young men think that true power is in sex and money and young girls think love is found in relationship with any boy who has money and wants to have sex. Because of that, Miley Cyrus…

and Brittany Spears

and Heath Ledger

and Lee Thompson Young

and Cory Monteith

and Amanda Bynes

and River Phoenix

and all the kids who attend your child's school, and fill the rooms of your children's ministry and show up for Youth Night. And that kid who skateboards on the sidewalk with his headphones on. And that kid who throws a crazy tantrum at the restaurant when you are trying to eat in peace. And that kid you tuck in at night.

They all need us. They need us to be more. They need us to do more than passively sit by and be entertained by their pain. They need us to stop waiting for them to destroy their lives so we can offer grace and forgiveness. They need us to show them love through justice and a standard to be accountable to as they go and as they grow. They need more than what we are giving them.

So when you talk about Miley, or read tweets about her, or consider her, consider yourself and how YOU need to change–not her.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world -Mahatma Gandhi

The Christmas Talk

“Is this where you tell us we can't afford Christmas presents this year?”

That was the first question when I sat the kids down in front of the tree last night. We had just had great fun decorating and being silly. I quickly calmed their fears,”No, you will get presents this year. But I do want to talk to you about Christmas.”

We talked about the insane Black Friday video and the behavior of this world. We talked about prople and what they consider normal. I am blessed, and proud to say, that my kids do NOT think the Christmas crazy is normal.

“I want this year to be different. I want every year from now on to be different. I want Christmas to be about family, about creating memories, about serving others and about Jesus!”

We spent time coming up with ideas and here are some of them:

  • Drive around and look at lights with hot apple ciders of course
  • Spend time at Barnes and Noble
  • When we go to Texas, bless the residents at my grandfathers nursing home by putting treats on their doors
  • Wrap presents at the salvation army
  • Find a creative way to bless people at the airport when we are traveling
  • Eat at Cracker Barrell and look around at the Christmas store
  • Visit downtown San Antonio

Most importantly we spent time in prayer asking God to open our hearts and change our lives. We prayed for daily opportunities to bless others, and that we would be willing to listen. We asked for an abundance so that we can rock people's world for Jesus by buying blankets for the homeless, and giving needy families money or groceries, or being able to pay for someone's meal.

As a mom, my prayer is that my kids would willingly forfeit their “rights” to new perfume or a pair of headphones in order to buy those blankets, or give that money, or buy that meal. I am living in great expectation that my kids will get so much more out of this Christmas season than America can offer. They will have no other God or Idol, they will see Jesus for who He says He is, and live their lives in awe of Him with a heart for His people.

It is going to be a great Christmas! Stay Tuned!

 

The Challenge of Used Cars and People

When Michael was in Afghanistan I was in a desperate situation and needed to buy a car. The day before he deployed, I totaled my Expedition. I was left with the “get-there car”. The car that when speaking to your friends you throw out the disclaimer: its paid for and it gets us there!

One day it stopped “getting-us- there” and I had to buy a car. From a car salesman. By myself. I ended up with a mini-van. I hate mini-vans. I hated them then, I passionately despise them now. With every unlocking of the door I cursed then blessed it, “I freekin' HATE this van, oh, but Jesus, thank you for transportation.”

It is now gone. I will spare you the details, but know that I was not sad to see it go. We knew we needed a second car. We survived one car for two years, but our busy, crazy, teenager, shift work, weekend job schedule couldn't handle it. So off we went searching, to pay cash with a very slim budget.

Before we left Michael warned me,

“You do realize these cars aren't going to be perfect. We have to look at the potential. We can put work into whatever car we get a little at a time.”

We drove an hour away, we test drove, we shopped around (in the rain, may I add) we compared. We offered the cash we had in our pocket. We were rejected. Late into the afternoon I spent hours digging through Craigslist and found it! The car, that in my gut I knew was the one. Yes, they took what we had in our pocket. Yes, it needed some work, but really, we practically stole it. God was so, so good to us. And, as always, he taught me something.

We don't always look at people the same way the Crawford's shopped for a car. In fact, Michael and I probably extended more grace to the car than you and I do people. The more new people I meet and get to know the more criticism and judgement I hear. Spend an evening with 20 teenagers and no mercy, people, no mercy!

Truth is, Jesus wants us to always extend grace and see potential in people, because He does. After all, he has seen the potential in you. He knows what you are capable of. He trusts you to raise kids and have a spouse. He knows that He can cleanse you and recharge you and make you something brand new. He is willing to pour his time and love and resources into you. Are you willing to do the same for others?

Today, see the potential in people. Simply, see people how Jesus sees them. There truly is blessings greater than a new car in it!!

This Will Probably Tick You Off

As most of you know, I have dedicated my life to showing the love of Jesus to kids of all ages. I love Jesus and, wow, do I love kids. Every child in my life or who crosses my path gets my benefit of the doubt. I have this crazy ability to see the hurt and suffering and vulnerability of every child. And with that grows my love for them.

But my love, and my willingness to show Jesus’ love to these kids is just not enough. And here is why.

We are raising a generation who idolize people with mediocre talent or who have gotten famous for doing absolutely nothing. This laziness to stardom is morphing into the New American Dream. The Real, honest and true American dream is slowly flushing down the toilet. The one that prides itself on hard work and reaching goals.

Unfortunately, my small blog post won’t do anything to change how apathetic our kids are. In fact, I could sky write it and have it published in every respectable newspaper in America, and everyone will simply shake their heads in agreement and go about their business.

I know I’m right, and it saddens me. Because I know that a change of heart in today’s kids, and to challenge them to reach their full potential, will require something from you, and honestly, you aren’t willing to give it.

Changing and shaping our future would require you to lay your judgement down of that foul mouthed teenager and actually talk to him with the same respect you demand. It would beg you to maybe give a kid a hug. And the thing is, it would require you to do all of these things more than once, in fact more than twice. It would require an invested commitment on your part to pour into the next generation instead of expecting them to fend for themselves.

All of these years you have thought that putting your blinders on and forcing the outside world to disappear is what is best for YOUR family. But you see, the entire world affects your child, so why wouldn’t you want to take some ownership for your neighbor’s child, your friend’s child, or even the unknown child? All of those kids will have tremendous influence on your own kid, the future of our world and all upcoming generations.

But instead we judge the child, criticize the parent, homeschool our own kids so they don’t have to interact with society and then ask, “what is this world coming to?”.

And the answer is You . You are what this world is coming to. Stop living so selfishly. It’s not about you. It never was, and it never will be. This life is about giving generously of your life because Jesus gave generously to you of His.