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 Send My Kids to Public School (Unforgettable Adults)

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family, an Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Recently our school district received anonymous threats from a crazy who claimed he planned to shoot up a random school on a Thursday morning. On Tuesday, with my heart racing, my kids went off to school. The night before, Michael and I laid in bed talking about the terror that scurried through my veins and prayed and prayed and prayed. Some of my homeschool friends used it as an opportunity to sell the “homeschool business”. But we just prayed and so did our kids.

Throughout the last twelve years of school, we have dealt with bullying–by kids AND teachers. We have endured hatefulness from small children, and loneliness when our kids didn't feel as if they belonged. My son has struggled to learn to read, and we have had to do stupid “busy-work” homework on many nights. We've stressed through the STAAR or FCAT or LMNOP or whatever standardized test my kids have been pressured to take that means absolutely nothing at the end of the day.

In all of the struggle, we believe, with our whole hearts, that it is preparing and growing them for the realities of this harsh world. We would much rather them struggle through these experiences while they are under our care.We believe, with our whole hearts, that God can use them NOW. As Christians, if we keep taking our kids out of public school then certainly there will be no God there. They are called to make disciples, they are called to be Salt, they are called to be Light. Not later, but now.

Through every child, we have taught them how to reflect Christ. Public school and all of it's crap wonder has taught them empathy–how do you know that kid who was mean to you today didn't watch his mom get beat up, or go without a meal? They have learned that God is working in every single person's life at every single moment, and they can choose to be a part of that work.

Public school has taught them that sometimes the system isn't perfect, and sometimes it flat out sucks, but we must follow rules and laws, as long as they don't conflict with the Gospel. My kids have been exposed to the ridiculous theory of evolution, and we've had the privilege of challenging our beliefs and digging deeper in the truth of God our Creator.

Sending them to school teaches them perseverance and diversity. It teaches them that not everyone is the same, but everyone needs the same thing–JESUS. They have learned to stand up for themselves and their beliefs, even at the risk of persecution or rejection. It has been a painful and tough road–for them and me.

Public school has been the perfect chance for my kids to learn to lean into Jesus more and less into me. They are learning that Jesus rescues, not mom. Without the wind from me hovering, they've been free to spread their wings just enough to test out this new life in Christ they've been given.

It's not the best situation, but Jesus nor the Apostles were ever in the best situations–actually they were in the worst. But because of God showing His power in those horrible situations, they finished well, and became Unforgettable Adults that changed the world. And that's the goal, my friend, that's the goal!

What are your kids learning from Public School? Comment and share with me how your kids are becoming Unforgettable Adults.

Yes, You HAVE to Wash The Dog | Unforgettable Adults

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family a Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

I’m not the neatest person. I mean I’m pretty neat to be around, but really, I’m a mess. I like my house clean, especially free of the pug hair that is left EVERY. WHERE. IN. MY. HOUSE. Did I mention it’s EVERY. WHERE. ?! But I’m not always the quickest at picking up the kitchen, or putting away my clothes. And let’s not even talk about the mail. I’m far from OCD nor is my home the picturesque-ness that would be considered Pinterest-worthy. My kids are currently using upside down laundry baskets as night tables and tv stands.

But just because we don’t have all the money to decorate our home with the finest things, or I’m not the most tidy mom that exists, we teach our kids to take care of our things. We encourage ownership and we make our kids do chores, without pay.

Each of our children are required to keep their rooms clean. This includes dusting, vacuuming and cleaning their sheets. Our kids also do their own laundry. In addition, everyone puts away their dishes after they eat and cleans their space. The dishes they use must be rinsed before putting them in the sink.

Weekly, Cody has to wash the dog, Alyssa gets the upstairs bathroom and Zac the downstairs. If necessary, I will ask them to do chores on demand. If we can have TV on demand, they can have chores the same. They may be asked to teamwork through the dishes, or vacuum the hall.

It may sound like a lot, but it’s not really. If they keep up during the week, there is not a whole lot of mess to tackle at one and they are free to do as they please with their time. Do I have to remind them? Usually about their Friday chores. But everything else just falls into place.

We don’t pay them an allowance because taking care of what God has given us is an expectation not a paid position. God calls us to be good stewards, and by having them pitch in and help out, we are teaching them to respect the One who gives us all things.

John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. (John 3:27 NLT)

Get this: We don’t even say “Thank you!” And we definitely don’t make a big deal out of it when they actually do what they are suppose to do. Those Huggies Pull Up Commercials KILL me…the one where they talk about “celebrating” your child going to the bathroom. And they have balloons and Mickey Mouse and P Diddy concerts because a child peed on the toilet–a child did what he’s expected to do in our society.

Encouraging our kids to Honor God and family through chores is one of the easiest ways to lay the foundation for who my kids will most definitely be one day–Unforgettable Adults. Chores teach ownership and responsibility. I definitiely want my kids to be responsible when they leave the nest.

Do your kids have chores? And do you pay them for what they do?

Share with me, I’d love to know.

LG|LP Tiff <3

The Pressure of Making Memories (Not Me, Sister)

Memories. Every good mom wants her child to have great memories when they grow older. Every good mom wants her kids to talk and laugh around the Christmas tree in twenty years about the amazing presents they received when they were little. Every good mom wants her children to tear up at the fondness of eating fresh vegetables from the backyard garden that was created and tilled by the hands of the family that one, long, beautiful summer.


This trend in mommy-hood could possibly be fueled by Pinterest.

Or the growing number of Christian stay at home moms.

Or the unresolved issues we have as moms because we had crappy childhoods.

Well, allow me to clarify. I had a little bit of a crappy childhood. But it wasn't all crappy. I have great memories. However I don't remember my mom or my grandmother saying, “Let's do this so we can create memories.” or “We need to make memories today so we should…”

We did things because they were fun or because they were tradition. We went places to discover someplace new, or something new about ourselves. We played in the water hose and picked blackberries off the vine because my grandma did not want all of us kids in her house. We did things because we were just living.

I've put lots of thought into this subject, and by lots I mean- while I was driving picking up kids today and by that- I mean a few hours. I believe I'm a pinch guilty of wanting my kids to have great memories. I don't think I go out of my way to make it happen, but I do, in fact, want my kids to like their childhood. That's why we dye Easter eggs and why I spend too much money, and anxiety on Christmas.

But there is something I want more than my kids someday having great childhood memories.

I want my kids to be unforgettable adults.

I want them to make huge decisions for Christ, and I want them to stand firm and stand up when things are going wrong. I want my kids to be associated with other memorable adults of history: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks and JFK, and Mozart and Elvis and Mark Twain.

and Jesus.

My decisions for my kids will be based on how to make them strong, Christ-following adults who are rooted in an identity that is unshakeable. I'm not saying moms who want memories for their kids don't want those things, too. For me, I'm just afraid that focusing so much on creating memories will breed kids who think life is just full of fun and amazing moments. I mean, what happens when nothing phenomenal is created for them? Or what happens when no one is there to entertain them? Or what happens when they have to start paying bills and life just sucks? Because sometimes, life just sucks.

I wonder sometimes if Jesus' childhood wasn't left out of Scripture because it would just pressure moms even more than we already pressure ourselves. I'm certain Jesus had memorable moments with Mary and Joseph and his siblings, but what was more important was the ministry He was created for. I believe THAT is what matters most for my kids. Preparing them for the ministry they were created for.

Over the next few weeks I will write some posts on what decisions I make so that my kids will become Unforgettable Adults. You might not agree with them all, or maybe something will inspire you. Either way, I hope you will follow along.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? Share with me, I'd love to hear them!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

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.