Backyard Games

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Yesterday afternoon the boys headed out to play. We followed them up the street and walked into the main gathering space of our neighborhood. I walked up the yard to discover about twenty boys playing Ultimate Frisbee. I hung around outside for a while and then popped in to see my friend Kelly.

I don’t always trail my guys when they’re out and about. Somedays they go to this space to play soccer (which they had moved onto by the time I left Kelly’s). Sometimes they play basketball at our house or at someone else’s court. There’s always at least this many boys ready for some fun.

This isn’t out of the ordinary, but for some reason yesterday I was just struck by the beauty of it.

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Book Ban!

Hallie Lord’s new book is about to drop — the book that I wrote a chapter for (along with a ton of amazing women and I’m thrilled to have my name in the mix).

She and her husband made a fantastic book trailer which was promptly banned from Youtube. Huh? Jen Fulwiler has some interesting theories on why that happened.

So here’s the trailer — and those of you who know me and my pal Suse will get a kick out of the quote Hallie used for the trailer. Jen thinks the use of the knife and the word “margaritas” might have something to do with the ban. What do you think?

Anyway, you can get the book here, and I really hope you will!

“Style, Sex, and Substance” book trailer from Hallie Lord on Vimeo.

Right Here, Right Now

3218 3218_ () 3218 3218 I caught one of my boys trying to shoot hoops off our roof the other day.

Just admitting that truth out loud is giving me flashbacks. You’d think with all these boys, a wild mix of teenagers and middle schoolers and Y chromosomes everywhere, that I’d be used to that sort of thing. But I’m not, and let’s be honest, I hope I never am.

So we were working on something downstairs and this boy went upstairs. He went upstairs to get dressed for something at our church — an event where he would be serving the altar for a special occasion.

It boils down to this: he was upstairs getting dressed to go prepare to be an altar server and in the five minutes he had before it was time to go, my son opted to crawl out onto the roof and try to make a basket.

I was calling his name and when he didn’t answer after a minute or two, I gently walked upstairs, entering his room oh-so-quietly because I was sure I’d find my boy sleeping. The sweet, gentle slumber of a growing young man headed out to do a corporal work of mercy and instead I wound up screeching at the top of my lungs OH MY GOODNESS WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE ROOF?!

I got my boy’s attention in a big way and asked him what in the world he thought he was doing?

“Trying to score,” he said. No big deal.

Obviously it was a huge deal, one that took me several days to get over. I was mad and frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed.

“Lord,” I questioned, “what were you thinking sending me all these boys?”

I wonder if maybe I didn’t handle this situation too well. I fretted about my inability to train my children — on the roof? Seriously?! — and how we could be this far into the whole “parenting boys” thing without having covered that most basic of rules.

So we covered it, right then and there. But a few days after the event, I was still so upset, going about my day with my feathers ruffled because that situation was so far out of anything I had planned on dealing with and I felt so ill-prepared to handle it.

That afternoon, I was changing a poopy diaper, dealing with the stink and grime of it all and I had one of those flash moments where I saw myself in that moment. I kind of stepped aside and watched as I sat there, wrestling a fidgety toddler and her diaperful of poo.

And I had a smile on my face. There I was wiping and cleaning, wrestling — and singing. And smiling. I was happy in the midst of all of that challenge.

A few years earlier, that moment would have been my undoing. I might have completely unraveled at the irrational behavior of a child trying to escape the good deed of me cleaning them up. But now? I was used to it — I had made peace with this act, I had learned to embrace the duty of that moment and to give it back to God as one small (frustrating) portion of my day.

So here I am dealing with was a new moment: irrationally wild behavior. It was thrown at me, something not before on my radar, and while I hope it won’t be there again (though I’m smarter than that, I hate to say it), it was almost symbolic of a new season in my life as a mother.

There are always new moments, there is always something new to learn to handle with grace. Having boys that are growing and pushing the limits and learning who they are and who they will become — that is going to be a challenge for me.

My duty of the moment is to seek the grace in the midst of the crazy, to pray for wisdom and guidance and the ability to be the mother God wants me. I want to raise these children right, and keep my wits about me while I do.

This originally ran in The Southern Cross. 3218″>

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This.

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This afternoon at around 3 p.m. I sent out a text to just about everyone in my phonebook who lives in my neighborhood. I had this idea, inspired by my friend Dennis, to do a “flashmob” for my mom. My mom starts her chemo tomorrow morning and I’d love prayers for her. This is a big deal and prayer works.

I was thinking that in addition to all the prayers surely being sent up for my mom, for her peace and complete healing, how wonderful it would be if there was something tangible we could do to show our love. And this idea came into my mind, to invite as many people as possible to show up, out of the blue, and sing to my mom.

So I sent out the text, inviting people and asking them to forward the information. We’d all converge on their lawn at 7:45 that evening. We’d sing a few songs, show our love and there you go.

At 7:43, I peeked out my door, about to head over. It looked pretty quiet, but I hoped maybe 50 people might show. As I came down the driveway, I realized that no one was in front of my folks’ house — everyone was to the left or to the right. People, tons of them. Everywhere. What a sight.

When you ask me about my life here in this Christian community, “The Community,” this is it. It’s 200-plus people showing up when you need them, pausing their Sunday evening plans to come sing to your momma and daddy who are about to embark on a journey. They come to say “we love you” and “we care” and “you are not on this journey alone, not at all.”

The sweetest part of the evening, aside from just all the love saturating our little corner of the world, was watching other cancer survivors stop and hug and encourage my mom. They really have been there and they will be here for her, every step of the way. All of us will.

This. This is what community life is all about. It’s about not being alone in what might feel like your darkest hour. With this many people at your side, it doesn’t feel that dark at all.

I love these people. I am blessed to share life with them. 3209″

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