big boy beds and bursts of blubbering

Moving Boxes

Sometimes it’s the pile of too-small clothes in the donation box that makes a parent cry.

Sometimes it’s breaking down the crib and carrying it out for the yard sale pile that makes a parent cry.

I did both of those things today without shedding tears.

And then.

Maybe somewhere between re-folding the stacks of yard sale blankets and picking up the 700th Hot Wheels car, I lost it.

It started small with pinched, down-turned corners of my mouth and squinty eyes.  That’s a pretty picture, huh?  Did you just try it?  Yup, it was that awkward.  So thankful that the kids were out on the river with my husband and not at home to see me twisting my face crazy ways.  Within about 5 minutes, irregular rhythms of previously stifled sobs and sniffles were bursting into the empty house.

Nobody’s going off to college; Nobody’s going for an extended stay in a hospital room.

I’m moving our girl out of the room she’s shared with middle brother for the last 2 1/2 years, and she’s only going on the other side of the wall.  She’ll have her own space, and baby brother will move to the bottom bunk.  I’m not too upset about being done with the crib (yet.)  I’m sad that moving her out probably means changes in her relationship with her brother. 

She needs her own space more and more as she is getting older, and there are several other great reasons that swapping rooms has to be done.

But the way they play together 80% of the time?  It’s precious, and I hate being the one to initiate changes that might mean they’re not as close.

My sister pointed out today that I don’t know what positive changes between them it might bring about that I can’t foresee.  She’s right.  And already tonight, I heard middle brother talking about himself in ways that sounded like he might be gaining some much-needed sense of maturation. Halleluuuu-yer! That brought tremendous relief, because I was seriously concerned about jealousy on his part, too.

In an odd way, the pain of moving on from one chapter in their childhood brought me joy.  There are days when I’m too busy or too self-absorbed to be the mom I really want to be, but having my heart break over 10 feet of floor space reminds me that God is slowly making me into who he wants me to be.

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3, emphasis mine)

introducing kids to music {a podcast follow-up}

You know those people who give you a chance even though they haven’t seen you since you were 19-and-something-of-an-idiot?  Cintia is one of them for me, and I like her.  Social media reconnections are boss.

Cintia and I had a conversation today about introducing your kids to music, and it streamed live on YouTube.  If you didn’t see it live, boy did you miss out!  I’m pretty sure she’s already edited out the part where my dog peed on the chair behind me.  Regardless, you can check it out here.  I apologize for the poor sound quality on my end.  I didn’t realize my webcam mic was so bad.

podcastwithcintia

Anyway, I had a few more thoughts after we finished chatting…

On simple ways that parents can introduce music to children:

  • Put a CD player in the bedroom that the child can operate.  It’s better than an iPod at younger ages, and the concrete experience of getting a new CD (even if it’s one you burned from your iTunes) is thrilling for them.
  • Take the kids to as many concerts as possible!  Duh.
  • Keep an eye out for musical toys that don’t do all the work for your child.  If you push one button to hear a song, that’s not really learning anything.
  • Take out your earbuds, Momma.  Play it for everybody!

On children’s ability to sing:

  • Don’t ever tell a child she has a terrible voice or “can’t sing.”  Most parents aren’t that accurate in judging their own abilities, anyway.  The point isn’t always to be the best.  It’s to enjoy.  And, by the way, if we judged how great a cook you were going to be based on your mudpies…
  • The more they sing, the better they sing.  This is not a hard-and-fast rule.  If you make your child sing 6 hrs a day, they are not guaranteed to sell more records than Whitney.  But, singing is the ability to recall and make your body reproduce what you recall.  It’s imitation, and it usually becomes more accurate with more attempts.

On tips for parent-guided interactive musical play:

  • Use your sing-song voice to give instructions.  (Think of the “nanna nanna boo boo” tune and sing “Run and get your shoes on!”)  Betcha the child sings back to you.
  • Be a broken record.  That may go against lots of parenting book advice, but I’m not thinking of nagging.  I’m thinking of the way we have said “I_____ love_____ youuuuu!” thousands of times to my children in the same rising-rising-falling tones.  My youngest began filling in the final high-pitched “youuuu” long before he was really talking.  That’s musical.
  • Get silly.  If you can possibly muster up just a little bit of leftover magic dust from deep in your feet, shake it back out and make up a song about what you’re doing right now.  Or, even better, when your child is doing this (magically unprompted!) join in.  Add to the song.  When you get stuck, just repeat stuff you already sang.  It’s like… magic.
  • Pay someone to teach you how.  Music Together, Kindermusik, Musikgarten, and the Learning Groove are music teacher-led classes that involve both parent and child.

On the benefits of introducing music to kids:

  • Letting music be part of our lives connects us to the human experience throughout time.  There has never existed a culture that didn’t have music.  In my opinion, it’s a gift given to us through which we were all meant to worship.  It’s so unfortunate that our competition-driven culture has relegated music to “the experts.”

PS – I don’t have a dog.

appendixless. {and how i learned what i’m worth to my child}

In 5 hours, we will have been in this hospital for 5 full days.IMAG1135bWell, my daughter will have been here all that time. I’ve taken three breaks, the longest being a 12-hour overnight stay at home while my mom took my place. You start counting these kinds of things a lot, trying to bring some kind of qualitative perspective to a seemingly infinite experience.

I’m not a big fan of taking self-portraits.  It’s not always an insecurity thing.  It’s a battle against narcissism thing.  But this one I needed to take:

IMAG1148bI will need to remember this week and that I was here with my chipped nail polish and desperately cheerful sweater for Gabby.

When she was born, my 24 year old self actually wondered, “What if she doesn’t love me?”

When she was 4, I asked my Sunday School class to pray for our relationship, because I felt it was too distant.  (Yeah, we’re old school.  No small groups.  Just old-fashioned Sunday School.)  As I grew as a mom, I learned how to connect with her better.

My girl is an independent thing, and she’s so mature and intelligent for her age that it’s easy to leave her alone too much.  She doesn’t show signs of needing Mommy as much as I’d think a 7 year old would.

This week (and the 5 days of sickness prior to them) have proven that even a girl like her needs Mama deeply.

It turns out that taking that night off at home caused me to miss the worst (read: most painful) moment of the week.  No one told me they were going to remove the drain from her side.  While they were snipping the suture holding the tube in and then pulling the tube through her incision, I was at Walgreens buying a card on behalf of her little brother.

I arrived to find my little girl sitting in a chair next to my mother, holding a scrap of paper to her chest on which I’d colored her name ombre style.  Through tears, she’d asked my mom to get it down from the bulletin board.  “Did your mom make that?” asked her Nanna.  She nodded.

IMAG1142b

I know it’s not my fault, but it still hurts.  Yes, I needed a solid night’s sleep to function better for her.  Yes, it’s okay for her to rely on other people.  Yes, it was great for my mom to get to be a part of the healing process since she lives almost 9 hours away from us.  It’s true that I had no heads-up that it might happen that day.  But knowing that you weren’t there when she really needed you? That sucks.

I’ve since promised I won’t leave the hospital until she does, and I mean I’m not even leaving the unit.  She’s stuck, so I will be, too.  Whatever we need can be brought in by someone else.

There have been other ways to learn that I’m still needed.  Her head rested on my shoulder while we sat in the bed together and watched TV.  She let me rock her when she was so frustrated that I wondered if she’d spawned another personality.  My girl’s eyes dart to me when someone is getting on her nerves and she doesn’t want to interact with them.  She looks for me first when she wakes up.  Her breath deepened when I told her I wouldn’t leave her again.

This is not only my experience.  This is much of what it means to be a parent.

There are times that one parent fits the bill of the day a little better than another.  I know there will be times when she leans more on her daddy, but I don’t ever want to forget the emotional lesson I learned this week.  I’ll need to have it rooted in my heart if she decides to go all “Leave me alone. I just want to listen to my music” when she’s 14.  Maybe I’ll be needed in a different way at that time, but I’ll be there.

31 days of a new normal {day 3}

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

I was definitely a bit edgy yesterday.  I tried to control it so that it wouldn’t spew out all over the kids, but my voice got a little too thin when I had to repeat directions and my patience ran a bit short while I waited for those instructions to be followed.  Too many sighs of complaint, ya know?

Lionness

Lionness (Photo credit: tshantz)

My 3 year old is, well, a 3 year old.   His “I wanna watch mooooore TV” whine, preceded by kicking his sister and laughing at her and succeeded by a firm “NO!” to my go-brush-your-teeth command set me off like a lionness bitten by one too many flies.  And a few minutes later, he apologized, ’cause he’s sweet, too.  I apologized for losing my temper.  Then he slowly approached me, put his hand on my shoulder, and carefully asked, “Mom, what did the doctor say?”

It melts my heart that even though many people will not understand the fluctuation of my symptoms and subsequent ability/inability, my kids get it.  During prayer on their beds, my 6 year old reached over and rubbed my back.  It hurt like crazy because she was hitting a sensitive patch, but I wasn’t about to stop her from showing compassion.

If you like reading stories of people who in progress, check out more here. WIPWednesday

BANG! {and they’re off!}

The boys are down for a nap, and I’m waiting for my brand spankin’ new 1st grader to come home.  (New to first grade, not to me.)  “Waiting” makes it sound like I’m killing time, but I just finished writing my to-do list in green dry erase ink.  Everything needs to be purposeful (including blogging!) because school is back in session.  Go back and read that last phrase in your slow motion voice.

Whiteboard Markers

The kids’ laundry is cooling in the dryer, my big honkin’ pink binder impatiently waits to collect yet unwritten lesson plans, and a black leotard is faintly calling, “Find me!  T minus 2 hours…”

There is some wisdom in advice that says to leave your work at work, but I find that impossible to do, even if I leave my copy of my curriculum standards in the school building. During the opening day assembly in the dim gymnatorium, I smiled to myself remembering how excited G was this morning.  When I got home, I wondered how many of my recruits will actually get to have their schedule changed to include a music class.  My two worlds bleed into each other in my mind and heart, whether I like it or not.

I loved the reminder from Lara Williams today that God prepared these jobs (big and small) for me.  I don’t feel overwhelmed by them as long as I remember that he chose and has equipped/is equipping/will equip me for this spot I inhabit today.  I feel like I have quiplash after typing that.

T minus 30 minutes til I hear how awe-inspiring it is to be a first grader.  Better get that laundry before it’s stone cold!

possibly too much pre-coffee irony

A few of you may have noticed that button over to the left that says something about mornings.  You may have groaned at the sight of it just because of the ‘m’ word, but it’s a heart warmer for me!

Columbia River Gorge at Sunrise, From an Elevation of About 7,000 Feet 05/1973

Here is an excerpt from an email that I sent to some other women who are taking the Hello Mornings Challenge.

#myHMCstory

I began this challenge back in January, when groups were assigned (randomly, I guess?) and I hadn’t met any of the participants.  The challenge started about a week before I went back to work after having taken a semester off.  A few weeks after that, I began experiencing odd medical symptoms that have had me back and forth to doctors all year long.  Weird symptoms, a stressful teaching environment, an infant who wasn’t sleeping well… It sort of seemed impossible, but it wasn’t!

Because of the Winter session, my heart is believing more and more that early morning time with the Lord is crucial Twenty more minutes of sleep isn’t going to make a difference in my symptoms, but twenty minutes of time with the Lord will make a difference in how focused and loving I am today.  And you know what else?  One of the people I have leaned on the most through these tests and doctor visits is a woman with a similar story that I met through #HMC11.  Think that was a coincidence for us to be put in the same group?  I don’t!

I sent that 2 days ago.  Then this morning, my youngest woke up crying 20 minutes before my alarm went off.  And I was so focused and loving irritated.  The irony is not lost on me.

Really, I was irritated because I knew he wasn’t going back to sleep easily (or maybe at all) and I just wanted the silent morning all to myself.  I’m selfish.  And that is exactly why I need the Hello Mornings Challenge.  I need some accountability – via social media – from other women who have the same thing in mind:  getting up earlier than the rest of the family so I can spend time with God (and maybe even exercise and plan ahead for the day!)  I’m a selfish woman who will become less selfish if she gets that all-to-herself time with God.  (Again, ironic?)

Taking on my days this way has impacted me so much that I decided to be an Accountability Captain this go round!  Being a leader makes me step up my game, so here’s to more consistency!

I’m linking up at Inspired to Action today and Kat (our fearless pre-dawn leader) asked if we have any tips.  I do.

Use a plastic baby utensil to stir your coffee, and you’ll never hate your silverware for being too loud.

how ’bout them questions?

We made a decision!  I’m headed back to work part-time at the alternative high school.  Best part?  After crunching the numbers and realizing we had no option, my husband looked at me and said, “I would have told you that you should go back anyway.”  Why?  (I know you were thinking that, too.)  “Because I feel like the Lord has called you to work with those kids.”  Well, okay then!

So teaching in the public school setting is back on my mind and my Pinterest boards.  And I keep hearing/reading/experiencing stories of kids, we’ll say ages 3-30, being less independent these days.  When you stir those things up along with a couple of jigsaw puzzles and a handful of “Huh, Mommy?” moments, you get a blog post on the importance of asking high-quality questions.

The child’s question:  Where does this piece go?

Good response:  Well, where does this tiger’s eye go?

Better response:  What do you see on the corner of that piece?

 

The child’s question: Can I go get dressed now?

Good response:  Did you put your cereal bowl in the sink?

Better response:  Have you done everything you need to do here?

The child’s question: Whuhhhhh?

Good response:  Did you hear me say it’s time to get ready to go?

Better response:  How long do you think it will take you to be ready to go?

Spoiler alert… made-up word ahead. The point is to be two steps ahead of your questionee.  Don’t ask a yes or no question if you want mental independence.  You’re wasting precious time.  Don’t even ask a question with an obvious answer, unless you’re working with a 2 year old.  Ask the question just beyond that, and your questionee will usually answer both for himself.  If they can’t, step back with them and work through the progression.  The older a child gets, the further away you can step with your questions.

Whatever you do, don’t lecture all the time.  BOOOOOOOO, lectures.  You know you hate being lectured.  And don’t ruin the beauty and usefulness of questions by using them as a lecture.  I absolutely detest hearing teachers practically yell questions at students that aren’t expected to be answered.  You know you’ve seen an adult back a child up against a wall and say, “How many times do I have to tell you….?!”  That kid has just learned that they’re not responsible for answering your questions.  They’re just responsible for standing with their eyes on the floor.  We won’t go into all the other problems with that scenario today.

Asking good questions is an important part of a relationship.  When you’ve been listening well, you can ask a deeper question.  When you ask a deeper question, you can often see the heart behind the response.

Who doesn’t want to teach hearts as much as they want to teach minds?

don’t let your kids be pitchy

English: YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 14, 2008) The c...

You’re at a public function.  The kids climb, waddle, jump onto stage.  They are so darn cute.  You want to turn into Aunt Dottie and pinch their cheeks.  So cute.  The accompaniment begins. Little hands begin to mirror the hands of the adult sitting on the floor in front of them.  Super cute.

And then they open their mouths.

Oh. Good. Grief.

How is it possible for 17 kids to sing in 19 keys?  Why don’t I recognize this song anymore?  Why has that one kid turned into a Tyrannosaurus Rex?Tyrannosaurus rex, Palais de la Découverte, Paris

Y’all, kids should generally be able to sing.  I don’t mean they should all be deciding which record deal they’ll take.  I mean the ability to match pitch should be more common.

Time-Out for the Musically Clueless:  Matching pitch means making your voice create a sound at the required frequency, or pitch.  Almost everybody can tell when somebody else is singing too high or too low, but many people these days can’t tell when they themselves are off.  Each note of a melody is like a target that’s hung at a certain height on the wall.  The sound of your voice is like an arrow. The farther away from the center of the target your arrow lands, the worse you sound.

I’m stunned at how many kids can’t match pitch coming into Kindergarten at the elementary school where I taught.  I really hope this isn’t the case everywhere.  Few people truly lack the physical and mental requirements to learn this basic skill.  My eleven month old can match the contour of my vocal play, and if you’re a parent, you’ve likely noticed these type of developments in your own kids.  Every culture in the world throughout history has had music, and it’s normal for singing to be a part of daily life. Yet, as I listened to kids audition for choirs and solo spots over the years, I wanted to jump up and down when I found one who could match every pitch of “Happy Birthday.”

What gives?

Much of contemporary culture relates to music differently now and it seems to be stealing this natural developmental process away from even the youngest of us.  Here are just two of the things you can do to help the little musicians in your life:

1)       Sing in a key that works for them.  We’re way more comfortable singing low, but kids (especially the very young) have a limited range of notes that work for them.  When you sing too low for them, they sound like dinosaurs because they can’t get to the notes.

This graphic might help you if you’ve got just a bit of background.

2)      Give a bazillion opportunities for listening, for singing, and for improvising.   Challenge them to mimic your silly voices.  (You might want to set a timer on that one.) Let them make up songs for you.  Encourage them by singing along to your own favorites in the car, and tell them how much you like to hear their voice.  They’re building a musical vocabulary, and they need a chance to practice it.  Did I say bazillion?  Eh, make it an even megathillion.  In short, we’re not singing enough.

I can appreciate the momentary cuteness of the 19 simultaneous keys, but hear me when I say that there’s more.  They’ll miss out on quite a bit without this foundational skill of matching pitch, because they’ll never know the joy of joining their voice with others in simple unison.  They’ll certainly never experience the joy of singing in true harmony.

I believe we’re inherently musical, and it’s a travesty to see us reserve singing for specialists.

yogurt on a fork and sundry inspirations

image

You see that?  That is what you do when you get home with yogurt for your baby and realize that the expiration date is 12 hours away.  You stick a [plastic baby] fork in it [and then put it in the freezer.]  It’s done, baby.

tea party

And you see that?  That’s what happens when you’re unshakably determined not to bring the Disney princess tea cart back in the house that’s sitting on the back porch in the yard sale pile and a very imaginative 6 year old girl feels that her tea party would be much improved if it were mobile.  You stick some casters in a cardboard box and call it a day.  (Then you call yourself stubborn for not getting the doggone tea cart off the back porch.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately (and apparently so have a lot of others… check out The Nester’s post.)  It’s deeply satisfying to have a creative moment, because creating is part of who we are as humans.  We’re made in likeness of The Creator.  Humans even get to be part of creating… humans.  Isn’t that crazy?!  Anyway.  Crazy.

I sense a series coming on here about creativity, so I’m not going to spill all my bloggy beans in one post. Today I only want to take you inside one amazing, frozen moment in my classroom about two months ago.

I had a class of five boys.  (Remember? I teach at an alternative high school.  Small class size rocks.)  We spent about 20 minutes on most days working on drumming skills using congas.

Congas

Photo by vxla on Flickr

Ah, yes.  Those things.

Never having taught at this school, I was a bit nervous to introduce this portion of our instrumental class.  I certainly did not want to tick off my hallmates or downstairs neighbors with incessant, loud, really bad drumming.  I checked with my peers.  Sure, they all said. That won’t be a problem.  I have planning during that block anyway.  I even heard a few Great!  I think some of those guys will really respond to the drums.  “So they’re interested in emotional rehabilitation through drumming, too!” I naively thought.  (I might want to be a music therapist when I grow up, by the way.)

About a month in to our daily drumming sessions, one of the staff met me in the hallway and said, “I noticed your guys finally changed up the rhythm.  That’s cool.”

I wish I’d taken that course in undergrad called Backhanded Compliments 101, because I think she just dished one out.

Since I’m not sure if you’re a music educator, I won’t bore you with the methods I used or the particular objectives I had in mind.  What’s important is that the guys were responsible for listening for empty space and filling it in with their own creation.  Some of them weren’t really comfortable with that.  For a long time, we ended up gravitating toward the same tempo with the same, slightly syncopated base rhythm.  No matter how we started off, someone pulled us to that comfortable place.

And then one day, someone got tired of the comfortable place.

During one exercise, I tell kids to listen (duh,) loop (repeat a simple idea over and over,) and lay out (occasionally just stop playing.)  This student, whom we’ll call James, just stopped playing.  I thought he was quitting for the day, because that was his general mode of operation. Our boredom with the rhythm morphed into a tiny tension as we wondered if there would be yet another showdown between Mrs. Lutz and James.

It turns out that he was actually following my suggestion and laying out so that he could listen, because he dropped the most pleasing, unexpected little chain of sounds in the middle of that musical space.  It felt like watching somebody cleanly jump in between the double dutch ropes after 25 kids had gotten smacked with them.  We straightened in our chairs and shifted the congas on our feet.  (Conga stands? We don’t need no stinkin’ stands.)  Our eyes went to his hands, and naturally, those students less comfortable bringing new ideas to the table were glad to try out his.  They couldn’t help but be drawn down the new path, because James gave it energy and commitment when he offered up his new idea.  Pretty soon, he had us pushing the tempo. Once we felt the new groove, other kids had new ideas that now seemed so obvious, even though they’d felt dry for ideas for almost a month.

This moment isn’t just about drumming or music or high school boys in an alternative school.

  • Sometimes boredom is the mother of creativity.
  • The listen-loop-lay out idea is wisdom in action.
  • It’s normal to feel a little anxiety right before the change happens.
  • Bad ideas will fail, but sometimes so will good ideas offered without commitment and energy.
  • One new idea often leads to another.

And you know that yogurt popsicle I showed you?  That turned into my favorite ten minutes of the following day.  All three of my kids and I sat on the kitchen floor and and laughed and ate together. I will definitely be doing that again, if ever I find myself with yogurt on the brink of being unsafe to consume.  And that mobile tea party?  She played with it for at least 8 minutes.  I don’t care, because it just felt good to try something new.

how we speak to children

My friend Libby is forever telling her students that excuses belong in the trash can.  I think she even had a pail labeled “excuses” at one time.  Without a doubt, she’s a compassionate and forgiving person, but I think we could all take a dose of her no-nonsense medicine at some point in our lives.  I had a big spoonful of it this morning fed to me just this morning by my 3 year old son.

Mom, why did you say that mean to me?  You were happy just a minute ago.

He’s at that stage where he asks 19 questions per hour, and at least 10 of them he already knows the answer to.  Another 5 of his questions don’t really have an answer unless you want to get into philosophy or metaphysics.  I’d just finished an hour-long, unplanned visit to my doctor — with two kids and a loud baby in tow — when he asked,

Mom, why is this the way?

Gadget Mobile“We’re driving this direction because Mommy is still saving up for that Inspector Gadget-Mobile we want.  Otherwise, we’d be sprouting helicopter blades right now.” Okay, I didn’t say that.  I wish I had.  Sometimes I remember to use humor, but today I was more focused on getting out of the tightly crammed parking lot and getting the promised milkshake rewards.

I don’t know, Ben.

My words were clipped, and my cadence conveyed my annoyance.  Even a 3 year old knows tone, and we are foolish to forget that.  If this tiny 4-word sentence held enough meaning for my very young son to comment on it, what is it like for kids who hear daily that their very existence is, at best, an annoyance?  Sarah Mae recently wrote about an incident in an store that left her crying in the parking lot, and I’ve had so many similar experiences.  In a store, in a kitchen, in a school, at a gas station, way more children than you might realize are hearing horrendous, spirit-murdering statements from those who should love them.

I wish you were never born.

You screw up everything.

My life would be so much better without you.

To these fear-mongerers I’d like to say: No excuses.

  1. Bring the worst of your life’s circumstances to the table and they still won’t get you a “not guilty” plea in front of your judge.  Of course you’re angry that something bad happened to you;  you wouldn’t speak like that if everything was swell.  You can’t bring a worthy excuse regarding your own pain.
  2. Your judge is God, who created that precious child to be a tiny reflection of himself.  It really doesn’t matter if the kid asks 47 Q/hr.  It doesn’t matter if she just ruined your plans for the weekend out of her selfishness or if he did exactly what you told him not to do again.  You cannot bring a worthy excuse regarding how bad you think your child is.
  3. Newsflash:  All children are born selfish, impatient, and needy.  It’s a parent’s job to help grow them out of these traits and grow them into that reflection of God they were intended to be.

Parents are hurting, and they’re hurting their children in turn.  How can we teach parents to apologize and mean it?  How can we help them steer their pain away from their children and toward healing?  How can we warn teenagers and young adults that parenthood is so much more than having some cute picture to post on Facebook?  I find all of these lessons in Jesus.  He models humility, he brings peace and healing, and he grants undeserved grace to me over and over again.  My excuse pail runneth over.

I apologized to Ben, and I told him I’d work on not being mean.  He said, “Okay.  I’m still happy.  I love you.”  Parents who say and do really horrific things to their children and parents who get snappy over silly things have this in common:  we need mercy and grace and miraculous help to get over our selfishness.  I am so very grateful for a child who speaks grace to me.

What are we going to do for these kids?  Yes, we.  I don’t have an answer yet, but I know that a large mass of people need to take note, pray, and… I’m hoping someone knows what comes next.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14