Mudder’s Day Pie

N: “Hey Mommy! The radio said it was Mudder’s Day this weekend, and I’ve been thinkin’ about what I want. A pie! I’ve been really wanting a pie.”

Me: “But it’s Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t you make me a pie?”

N: “Uggggggh. Little girls DO NOT even know how to make pies! Moms have to make pies. And all I ever EVER wanted was a strawberry pie for Mudder’s Day. WHY IS MY LIFE SOO HARD??”

…I’m so glad I birthed this one.


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“Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones”


There are many things I don’t know or understand. But some things I do. We are all just one decision or one second away from so many things. But by the grace of God, we are still here, and still climbing, and still on this side of that dark valley that separates us from the place we don’t deserve, and the place I know I’d be if I was left to my own devices. And I’ve seen firsthand lately, what I’m like when I let that happen. Just ask my kids, it is not pretty.

Oh Lord, I need you every hour, every SECOND. Or else things get ugly. …This life is kicking my butt.

And another thing I know. While we’re here on this side of eternity, we are meant to bear one another’s burdens. And this guy, Bill Hurley, was a bearer of burdens. He was the Missions Director at my church. Over the years, he has beared the burdens of hundreds of missionaries, including some of my dearest, who happen to be part of my family. It wasn’t a job it was personal. He served on Missions Boards that dealt with some really hard things. Things heavier than I could lift. He was a police officer for decades and saw things I know I never could, and made decisions I never would have had the integrity to make. He preached on hard things I am still trying to learn. He lived a life I so admire, and I still do. God used him in SO many ways.

I don’t know the details, I don’t understand, but for whatever reason, the burdens he carried got to be too heavy.

My prayer tonight, is not for answers, but for the strength and willingness to carry other people’s burdens, and lift heavy loads when their arms get tired. For the wisdom to see other’s weariness. For the strength and willingness to ask for help when mine are too heavy to carry alone. Because that’s really hard. But we aren’t meant to do it alone. We are not able to.

“Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones, that they may bear…the weakness of their brethren.” Martin Luther

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Four and Fierce

Happy Birthday my Nora!

You are FOUR. Live it up, kid, because four is my very favorite of all of ’em.

You’re big, but not too big. Everything you say is still funny, and yet you’re old enough to empty the dishwasher. Out of diapers, but you don’t have to go to school. So independent, but you still rock a nap. I can snuggle you on the couch and then send you to go play outside. I think you’re going to be so good at four.

You were our very first baby woman. And I said this all last year, and I’ll say it again… You came into our lives, and we’ll never be the same. As soon as we found out you were a girl, we thought we finally pulled off making a quiet, docile one. We were stupid. But I guess God knew after years of living with my three boys, I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with one of those. You’re going to do big things kid. It doesn’t seem like you’ve figured out how to do anything else.

And as terrifying as that is in such a tiny little package who seems to think she’s 13, PRAISE THE LORD he gave you two big brothers and a strong and capable Daddy, because I’m not entirely confident I’d be able to keep you alive (or those around you alive) by myself. Love you, Bean.

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord had said to her will be accomplished.” And it will. Not because you will accomplish it yourself, my sweet thing, but because HE will. And I pray that He will be the source and the object of that strength in your life.

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Boys and Babies

Boy conversations are my favorite.

[6-year-old neighborhood kid who is here almost every day, and is apparently noticing the baby for the very first time]:

K: “I didn’t know you had one of those.”
Jack: “Yeah. It’s a baby.”
K: “What kind is it?”
J: “It’s a girl one.”
K: “Is it yours?”
J: “Yeah. And my Mom’s.”
K: “Where’d you get it?”
J: “In Birginia.”
K: “Cool.”

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“I be da Mom, and you be da girl.”

3-year-old: “Okay. I be da Mom, and you be da girl.”

Me: “Oh hello, Mom. What sort of things do Moms do?”

3-year-old: “Well. Moms clean the dishes. Clean the family room. Wear necklaces. They work on computers. They turn lights off. And drink tea. They look at their phones sometimes. And do grocery listes. And do curtains. They doos the dishwasher. They make lots of food. And THEN they clean up, and clean up, and clean up, and clean up AGAIN. That’s just what Mom’s do, okay?”

Well. Thank goodness, she wasn’t the one writing my job description before I signed up for this or I may have thought twice.

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10 Years Ago

Ten years ago, right before my Dad walked me down the aisle, he pulled Kevin aside and vehemently whispered that he had a “NO Return Policy.” Thankfully, Kevin must have listened because for some reason he’s kept me around all these years.

We were pretty young and stupid.

Thankfully though, God knew me and He knew who I needed.

He knew I needed a husband who loved me a lot and made sure I knew that. Someone who was always the first to say he was wrong (even when he probably wasn’t), and graciously made it okay for me to be wrong (which was monumental for a stubborn, argumentative girl like me).

He knew that two people with strong personalities apparently make babies with even stronger personalities (I know, totally not fair). And He knew I’d need a strong husband who’d really love those energetic, strong-willed babies and who could teach them to live fully and to love fully, because they could see their Daddy do that. But for as much as he’d love them he’d make sure they knew they weren’t the MOST important thing in his life, and that we were a family before we were blessed with them. Plus, when they’re really bad God knew I’d need an ally whose got my back and who could make me laugh.

God knew I’d need a husband who really loved Him. And I realize that’s not everyone’s thing, but trust me when I say it makes them able to love you so much better. And while God knew what kind of husband I needed, He knew I’d still try to fix him anyways. And that it wouldn’t work. And then I’d have to learn that when you can’t fix things yourself you should work on fixing yourself (which usually doesn’t work either, but thankfully God likes fixer-uppers).

…And before you know it, 10 years have flown by and you’ve had good times and bad times, and are maybe a little depressed that you’re 10 years older, but at the end of the day it’s all good because you get to go through it together. And you’re married and really in love. Which is sweet. And like Kevin always tells me it’s like having a sleepover with your BFF every single night of the week. Can’t wait to start our eleventh year, Kevin McKernan.


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What Not to Do When You Forget Your Child’s Birthday…

Oh mercy. It’s official. I think I’ve just experienced my two lowest parenting moments yet (which is saying a lot). TWO. In the span of less than thirty minutes.
And I’m actually going to publicize what I have just done.

Abridged transcript of this fateful morning:

It all began like most of our days begin, with two-year-old Nora displaying her intense will and sassiness in all its glory. By wanting things that do not exist and not wanting things that can never be changed. I think this one had something to do with the uppermost top of her oatmeal not hitting that imaginary “acceptability line” within her bowl, while Jack’s (whose had already been eaten) did happen to be at the proper level.

Fast forward lots of words and emotions and toddler curses to the “timeout” step.

Me: “Nora, don’t move for TWO MINUTES! Lucky for you, you don’t turn three until Friday, though I’m tempted to make you sit for three minutes anyways!”

Jack: “It IS Friday! Nora’s three TODAY right, Mommy?? Are we surprising her!?”

Me: [silence]

Jack: “Nora! I’ll sing Happy Birthday to you while you’re in timeout, okay?”

So Jack starts grandly serenading Nora in her birthday timeout (which she is thoroughly enjoying), while I run to the basement and grab the “Happy Birthday” banner and sign, throwing it up in the kitchen like a crazy person. In utter shock that this was happening AND that I had brilliantly decided to set a timer for the FIRST time ever, which meant I only had 1 minute and about 45 seconds left to whip up a birthday before the stupid alarm went off.

[Nora running into the kitchen excitedly at the sound of that dastardly timer going off, seeing my “clearly” planned/well-thought out decorations] “YAY, IT’S MY BIRFDAY, IT’S MY BIRFDAY!!”

Me: “Yes!! And I’m so excited! Let me get a birthday hug and kiss! Here’s your…birthday oatmeal. And your…BIRTHDAY banana.” (which apparently makes all the difference, because she happily woofs it down now with no mention of the grossly unfair “oatmeal line”).

Then we sing “Happy Birthday” again because I’m not totally sure what else to do, followed by some practice saying her new super-exciting age a bunch of times.

And while Jack is giving her the low-down on all the fun birthday things they’ll be doing today, I race to my computer (whispering some choice toddler curses under my breath) to check the tracking on her birthday present I ordered, that I could have sworn was supposed to be here the day before her birthday. And I notice the date…


I should not have said this.

Jack: “Whoooooa! It is NOT your birthday today Nora! We need to take down your sign and your birthday decorations!”

You should NOT say such things to a two-ish-three year old.
I’m not totally clear how, but in the seven minutes she was fake-three, she seemed to have learned all sorts of new THREE-year-old toddler curses and coping mechanisms. Is it just me, or do three-year-olds not handle disappointment particularly well?

So Jack is running through the house singing, “Happy NOT Birthday” (I’m being totally serious), and Nora is following behind trying to attack him with the strength of a thousand angry 2.9 year-olds, as she screams “IT IS MY BIRFDAY! I WANT MY BIRFDAY NOW!! I am NOT TWO. SING HAPPY BIRFDAAAAAAAY TO ME, JACK!” While I frantically try to call husband and ask him for advice on what one would normally do when you find oneself in a situation such as this…

Well. It’s looking like our sweet lil’ thing is gonna be getting TWO birthdays this year. OH MY WORD, I have to do this all over again tomorrow…

Happy Friday everyone!!!

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