When Life Gets Complicated, Eat an Egg

Every year I have this tradition.  One I don’t think my husband even knows about.  At Easter time, when I’m called by the chocolate bunnies to the candy aisle, I spend way too much time walking up and down each row picking up little candy chicks and convincing myself that I don’t need to buy all the PEZ dispensers. But when I stumble across one of these babies, I buy it.

cadbury egg

After spending all my money on juice and mac and cheese, and my Cadbury Creme Egg, I load it all up. As I leave the parking lot I unwrap the pile of sugar, brace myself and take a bite.  I can handle the chocolate.  One more bite, and now the creamy sugary egg-like center.  I choke it down, then roll down my window and chunk it.

It’s pretty much disgusting.

I pretty much hate them.

But every year, I buy one, take a bite and then gift it to the birds.

Easter has always been my favorite.  I love the spring, I love the flowers, the bunnies, and oh the chocolate.  When I was younger these little hunks of sugar were a staple in our house for the season.  My brother could inhale them.  I always enjoyed one or maybe two.  They were never really my favorite, but they just remind me.

They remind me of a simple day of being with family.

They remind me of the sunrise services where we would place fresh flowers in a chicken-wired cover cross, bringing it to life.

They remind me of new Easter dresses and patent leather shoes.

They remind me of the smell of the grass as I would hunt for eggs.

They remind me of one of the most influential days of my childhood.

They remind me of being a child.

Life gets so complicated.  We pay our taxes and try not to worry about what we owe while our kids are hunting eggs that we dyed the night before because we didn’t have time during the week.  We hope our kids embed their own memories of family and carry on tradition someday in the far away future.  We pray, just pray, that our kids really grasp the meaning of what happened on the cross…and what it means that Jesus got off of it.

But nothing brings back those moments of being a child. Not even a bite of those nasty eggs.  In fact, every year with the toss out the window, those little eggs show me how to embrace the beautiful life God has given me…the life with hopeful children, and fresh mercies and new life, every single day.

So blessed.

What is one of your favorite childhood Easter memories?

LG|LP

Tiff  

 

Can #BanBossy Make a Difference

One of the things I was called often as a little girl was “BOSSY”. Whenever I played teacher or soccer I was the little girl who told everyone what to do. When I played Barbie, I told everyone what Barbie and her friends said to each other.

You pretend to ring the doorbell, and then I will say “Hey, come on in.” and then you will say, “It's so good to see you, I brought you a present.” And you have to bring me a present, like that little kitty over there.

Or something like that.

Even now as an adult, I'm pretty Bossy. And the surprising thing is, I'm not offended by it…not then, not now. Because it's true. I'm bossy.

The real problem begins when we tell our kids that they should be offended by something because of our own insecurities and our own failures or our own fears. That's what Beyonce and other famous women are doing with the #BanBossy campaign. I never gave a second thought to the word bossy because no grown up ever told me it was a bad thing.

But now….Now we have an entire, well-funded campaign to help girls to unnecessaritly form negative opnions. The #BanBossy campaign tells little girls that the word Bossy is bad but the word Boss is good. It tells adults to not use the word Bossy about little girls anymore so that girls can 'take charge'. The campaign barks that we should use the word “leader” instead. The website claims the word bossy lowers the self-esteem of little girls (without any data to back it up, I'd like to mention). But like one tweet I read said: No one over the age of 10 says that word.

It's going to take more than changing a word to change the future for little girls.

A word is not the problem.

A label is not the problem.

The problem is that little girls don't know their worth…and not their worth according to the world.

Tonight I got the perfect example of what the world thinks of girls, and the lies these girls believe. I attended the yearly mandatory high school cheer meeting. All the other moms and I grabbed our “packets” when we walked in the door, and were asked to hand a $300 down payment on the way out.

I support my daughter in cheer because 1. I love her 2. I love her and 3. I love her. She's a gifted encourager, loves to dance and looks cute with her hair in a bow.


Besides that, I hate everything American Cheer represents…the excessive, unnecessary spending/buying, the jealousy, gossip, backstabbing and hatefulness of “the team”, and demanding coaches who try to convince me that three new uniforms are necessary for five district games.

I witnessed all of these things at this 45 minute introductory meeting and said to myself, “Tiff–this is what is wrong with girls.”

The cost of the camp-week uniforms cost more than camp itself. We were told, “All camp wear is necessity.”

All 5 bows…Every pair of $20 shorts. What these girls are really being told is that how you look is more valuable than what you learn.

When the coach announced that every single cheerleader is eligible to be cheer captain without any prerequisite, the squeals erupted–and not squeals of excitement. Hands went up with questions, “why coach?” “you can't do that coach.” When the coach stood her ground and stood by her decision, the insecure-filled gossip flew through the room.

These girls are believing that every other girl around them is a threat.

These girls are believing that they can disrespect authority behind their back after falsely respecting authority to their face.

These girls are believing that it's not fair to be “bossed” around by someone you don't like or agree with.

These girls don't like the word Boss as much as #BanBossy claims they don't like the word Bossy.

The lies don't just saturate the cheerleaders. The volleyball players believe their own set of lies. The artists have theirs. The thespians believe theirs and the uninvolved have theirs.

And these lies are not going to disappear because we stop using the word bossy.

The only way to replace a lie is with the truth.

The truth:

Every little girl is so worthy because there is a man who not only was willing to die for them, but he actually did. And he did this because He wants to know and love them unconditionally. So what this really means is that :

It doesn't matter what you wear to cheer camp.

It doesn't matter who is the cheer captain.

It doesn't matter how you look in your volleyball spandex.

it doesn't matter that you could care less about school activities.

It doesn't matter if you are the boss

It doesn't matter if someone calls you bossy.

#BanBossy is simply a band-aid. It's a seeming solution but the problem is rooted so deeply, no celebrity, no removal of a word can solve the future problems our girls face. You can take away every word in the dictionary, it won't matter.

All that matters is that every girl is worthy and valuable simply because we are all created and are unique in looks, personality, gifts. Our girls need stop being fed that a simple observation of them, that a word can determine their future. #BanBossy is another way for girls to learn to depend on themselves…and human nature always disappoints. Instead, let's teach our girls that a word has no power over the realities of what was done on the cross. Now THAT is a message that can make a difference.

 

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

I Deserve A Happy Mother’s Day!

Today was wonderful.  It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner.  I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful.  All day today was about mothers.

I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten  frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with.   (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!)  Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom.  I know, I am a mom.

Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me.  Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything.  My husband works long, crazy hours.  My kids are –well, they are kids.  I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that.  (yah, right!  My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me.  This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….

ENTITLEMENT. 

At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement.  That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled.  I deserved it.  Damn it, I earned it!

In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family.  I love taking care of my family.  In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things.  Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post.  Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything.  I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to.  Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do?  Absolutely.  But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me.  And I want it everyday.  Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.

Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything.  It’s a day to do a heart-check.

Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?

Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it? 

Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives? 

Love God first, everything will come easier!

You are loved,

signature for blog

Guns In My Kid’s School, Spankings and Other Fun Parenting Stuff

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Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:

“Mom, I have a headache.”

“Do you need me to come get you?”

“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”

“For What?”

“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”

Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:

“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “

And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:

“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”

<sigh>

So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.

But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:

“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1

Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:

“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”

God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.

But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.

When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.

What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?

What is your worst day ever with your kids?

Share with me!

READ THE BOOK OF AMOS