To The Weary Christians in the World

Your newsfeed probably looks a like mine.

Disagreements on Duggars and a torrential flood of opinion on transgenders. Racial divide. Controversy. Hate.

Last week, I decided to avoid the conflict and instead write about my son at the pool.

Yeah.

And while it’s disheartening to see my name and blog being shamed online by a small percentage of readers for supposedly shaming innocent girls, I believe my community at large understands my heart, supports truth and can clearly recognize the double standard.

I’ve never apologized for being a Christian parent and a conservative writer. I’ve never hidden that I believe in absolute truth or avoided the Bible’s standard of right and wrong. I’ve never run from standing up for what I believe in. I’ve openly shared about my desire to raise Godly kids who live a pure life. Over the past 8 years, I’ve also talked about my family’s failures in faith.  So, it’s always a shock when my views are attacked and ridiculed for being conservative.

Although I tend to find unkindness a little unsettling, I honestly don’t care what people think about me.

But I am weary.

Beautiful young woman enjoying summer in a field.

Maybe you are, too.

My newsfeed makes me sad. The divide and contempt and disrespect for each other makes me tired.  I’m weary of the double standard that says we can speak freely and take a stand for what we believe in as long as it’s politically correct or doesn’t offend anyone.

It’s not just liberals against conservatives or Christians against atheists, it’s also ugliness between Christians. Maybe that’s the most exhausting thing of all?

We all read opinions we don’t agree with or have family and friends we don’t see eye t0 eye with on every subject. For some reason in our culture, we’ve drawn the line in the sand so many times, we are gridlocked and everything is a battle. Except what matters most–loving God first and others more than ourselves.

We have to remember these small battles and disagreements and daily struggles are just that-small and temporary.  Because there are real people- believers- facing certain death today. From ISIS in Iraq to Al Shabab terrorist in Kenya, there are followers of Jesus who aren’t worried about sex changes and reality TV stars or being offended by something they don’t agree with.

So, what do we do when we are weary and heavy-ladened?

We keep doing what is right.

But we choose kindness over proving we are right.

We refuse to run away when the world opposes us.

We shine our light wherever we go.

We pray for our enemies.

We remember who the enemy really is (and it’s not always those who disagrees with us).

Above all, we love people no matter what.

So, if you’re like me and you find yourself a little weary of all the heartache and heartbreak in our world-don’t give up and don’t lose heart.

For greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world. 

What I’m Loving Right Now

So. Yeah. Let’s talk about good face cleaners and cute headbands, okay? I thought I’d share some of the things I’m loving right now:

  • My teen daughter and I have discovered Aztec clay. You guys. This stuff is unreal. It’s less than $10 for a one pound jar and you can mix the dry powder with apply cider vinegar. Not only it is a deep skin cleanser and eczema healer, it also can be used at toothpaste, detox your hair, and about a hundred other uses. We look really scary with it on, but you can literally feel it tightening your skin while it dries and we can really tell a difference.
  • These stylish fair trade headbands for second (or third day pony tail hair) are my favorite. headband-herringbone-shopify_large
  • I’m also all about The Layering. From tank tops to bracelets, I love to pile it on. I looked down at my arm at church the other day and I realized my hodgepodge of fair trade bracelets from Kenya, India, the Philippines and Nepal made me so happy. I’m proud to #wearthestory and now you can get your own global layered look here at a great deal. IMG_9402
  • My inbox has never been happier with Unroll Me. Have you heard of this amazing free service that rolls up all your unwanted emails and removes them from your inbox? It’s a game changer. Instead of waking up to 100 email I end up deleting, it does it for me.
  • We used these adorable paper baking cups at our last Girls Night Out. And now I want to bake everything in these happy cups! 17844
  • I love easy-reading in the summer. And this summer book list is epic.
  • Coloring. Yeah, you heard me right. Have you heard about the adult coloring books -proven to relieve stress reliever with their intricate designs. It totally works for kids and bloggers.  Ask me how I know.

To The Middle School Girls At The Pool Who Told My Son He Was Hot

Listen, girls. I get it.

You live in a culture where anything goes. And sometimes it’s confusing to know how to handle all the messages media throws at you when the world you live in supports your right to do whatever you want.

Truth changes more often than the weather and it’s getting harder and harder to stand on anything absolute.

I know your Instagram feed has more duck faces than a pond. And your Twitter stream is hash tagging it up and Facebook has so many selfies that the last thing we think about is others.

Maybe you didn’t see that my son was with his family at the community pool the other day, playing catch with his dad. Maybe you didn’t understand that he didn’t want to hang out with you when you kept bumping into him and following him around. Maybe you didn’t notice he was averting his eyes every time you walked by in your bikini.

Maybe that’s why you walked up to him and said loud enough for his splashing sister to hear, “You are hot. My friend thinks so, too.”

Maybe you didn’t see my son’s cheeks flame and watch him look to his father for help or hear him mumble “like I care” or see him get out of the pool to move away from you. Maybe not.

To the middle school girls at the pool who told my son he was hot

Maybe no one has told you these things, so I thought I would:

Honey, it’s not okay to act this way. It’s not becoming. It’s not grown up and it doesn’t make my son want you. No, it makes him want to run.

See, I can look past your budding body and come hither eyes when you yell out my son’s name and see someone who is longing to be accepted. I can ignore that you asked him too personal questions and look past it and see someone who is craving male attention. I can see that you’re just a girl trying to find out where she fits into this grown up world.

But it’s not okay to be aggressive towards boys. It won’t make you feel better about yourself. And it will only get you the kind of attention you really don’t want.

You’re right to notice my son. He is different. He is good looking. But he isn’t playing coy or hard to get. He is hard to get.

Because he understands he is too young to play with fire and he is fiercely fighting to live a Godly life.

And you aren’t making it easy for him.

We are working really hard to teach our son to live a pure life. We are encouraging him to bounce his eyes away from bikini-clad bodies.  We are raising him to be noble. We are praying for him to have integrity. We are advising him to look into a girls eyes and not cleavage. We are warning him about sexting. We are encouraging him by having these conversations with us about aggressive girls.

We are cautioning him to avoid girls who tell him he’s hot at the pool. We aren’t teaching him to ignore you.

No, we are teaching him to respect you.

And you need to do the same.

Respect yourself. You are beautiful and valuable without even trying. You don’t need a boy’s attention to prove that. I pray you get the kind of attention all girls needs from positive influences at home. I want the best for you, too.

Go ahead, love yourself enough to be just another kid at the pool.

 

Love, the mom of the “hot” boy

Updated:

I’ve closed comments on my post today due to a few personal attacks that I’m contributing to the “rape culture” and accusing me of being shameful and disgusting (you get the point).

I’m obviously not an authority, I’m a mom to both a boy and girls and we are trying to navigate this parenting journey. We’ve witnessed both sides of this issue. I was hoping parents would feel inspired to teach their kids (of both sexes) how to act/respond in these situations and maybe lead to some meaningful conversations. I’m sorry if this post caused you to misunderstand my heart towards our children.

9 Things We Love About Dad

Lightening lit up the midnight sky and I squinted in the dark to see the clock. 3 A.M.

My husband’s normal spot in bed next to me contained a drooling second grader, arms and legs sprawled.

I could see his shadow as he stood next to the window and watched the rain. “She was scared of the thunder,” he whispered. “The yard is flooded. I’m going to stay awake for awhile and make sure it doesn’t get worse.”

It’s just like him to stand guard over our home and family. To watch and wait. To protect and provide. To give up his warm spot in the bed, to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure the Mercy House warehouse roof isn’t leaking water on our precious fair trade product.

It’s been raining for 30 days here in Texas and the ground can’t hold much more. But I turned over and went back to sleep with an 8 year old’s knee in my back. Because I knew Dad was on duty.

My Dad Rocks 1

He’s often the last in bed, locking up and turning out lights and the first up, shaking tired teens awake for school. Many mornings, by the time I’m awake, he’s made lunches and has breakfast in the oven. Yeah, I know. He’s for real.

My husband rocks.

My Husband Rocks

So does their Dad.

My Dad Rocks2

We work together every day and that means sharing car line and dinner duties, after-school practices and late night accounting, travel and speaking engagements. But I think it’s too easy to take the good in our lives for granted. So, I thought we should share 9 things the kids and I love about the man of our house:

9 Reasons Why Dad Rocks

  1. He doesn’t step over the hairball in the kitchen floor or pretend it isn’t there. He picks it up. (And sometimes chases the kids around the house with it).
  2. He puts the family’s needs and dreams in front of his own.
  3. He always make us laugh by singing silly songs, making up goofy words or holding us down and tickling us to Level 41 (and sometimes he embarrasses us. But only when he wears his cowboy hat to school activities).
  4. He protect us. We have never felt afraid with Dad in the house (Mom, on the other hand, is a big chicken).
  5. He can grill anything. And he enjoys it.
  6. He talks to our kids about hard things– past mistakes and hopes for the future.
  7. He is the Master Looker in the house. Nothing is really lost on his watch. (Except for Mom’s keys at the beach on Spring Break. But we all know they are somewhere).
  8. He cherishes his wife and gives his kids a darn good example of what committed love looks like.
  9. He carries pictures of his family where his money used to be.

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The Best Way to Discover Which Way to Go

When my kids were young, we moved from the lush green hills of Arkansas to the brown rocky landscape of New Mexico.

I didn’t recognize the beauty in either place, until I left them.

The Sandia Mountains  in the desert of New Mexico

It was the season when I did nothing for anyone.

Including myself.

I felt like I lived in circles. Doing the same thing I did the day before. And just thankful to get through it.

I was tired and life was hard.  I was stuck in a job I hated. Struggling in a broken marriage and the monotony of motherhood. I was always looking for the next “big thing” in my life to give me a temporary high. Sometimes it was shopping, sometimes it was eating.

Sometimes nothing worked.

Now when I look back, I don’t see wasted time. I see fertile ground.

Because sometimes you have to get so sick of your life, your mess, your view that you begin seeing those around you.

Click to keep reading at (in)courage…

For The Momma of the Strong-Willed Child

She made a beeline for me at the girls night out.

“You said your daughters are strong-willed, right?” she got right to the point.

We found a corner of the room and I waited. She had a lot to say about her precious and precocious two year old, her first daughter.

“She screams no! She throws herself onto the floor when she doesn’t get her way. I can’t go anywhere with her. My sons never once acted like this and I don’t know what to do.”

I listened and smiled and nodded my head because I understood. Sometimes the best way to encourage one another is to remind each other This is normal. And This shall pass. And You’re not alone. 

I mean, it’s happening in The Oval Office. CNN is talking about tantrums, y’all. (And I thought my son’s library meltdown of 2006 was epic).

150525102257-obama-boy-oval-office-exlarge-169

Claudia_Moser_thro_3315711c

You will survive this hard place.

And most importantly, One day, You will thank God for it.

My own strong-willed girl walked up in the middle of our conversation and my friend said, “Look at your daughter. She loves Jesus. She’s amazing and she isn’t out of control.”

“Not in public anyway,” my daughter quipped and wandered off.

We laughed. Because I’ve learned strong-willed toddlers grow up to be strong-willed teens.

And that’s more than okay. It’s actually a blessing and I wouldn’t change it if I could. Even when saying no means tempers flare or make the meanest mom. I’ll take it.

I pulled my friend close and I said these words, “Listen, I know these strong-willed children are challenging. They push our buttons, they make us question our parenting. We cry and hit our knees. But they are used by God to transform us. They show us our humanity, our weakness and mostly how much we need Jesus.

for the momma of the strong willed child

“We want our determined, fierce kids to stand up first to us so someday they can stand up against the world.”

I thought of my own strong-willed girls who have stood against most of my food and friend and fashion suggestions for years, only to see them stand up for faith in the face of a culture that lacks it.

The beauty of strong-willed children is that they are strong.

They will try and lead and manipulate us; starve and dress themselves and win every argument. Their determination will embarrass and thrill us all in the same day.

We will beg and barter and bribe. We will question every move we make and cringe at every fit. But we will remember that their fierce determination is channeled into velvet strength and these kids who won’t give up their will, also will not give in.

Yes, they chase hard after what they want, but they also chase hard after what’s right.

So, Momma of the strong-willed child pulling out your hair, wondering if you’ll ever be able to eat in public again, be encouraged. That little one will change the world.

But first, she will change you.

We Had The [Groupon] Time of Our Lives

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
Just like you, we live crazy busy lives. And sometimes we need to getaway…not from life, but so that life doesn’t get away from us.
Traveling to new places is a gift. Sometimes traveling with kids can be the challenging gift we give ourselves.
Thanks to Groupon, our family was able to mark two trips off our Family Getaways Bucket List and not only was it painless, it was delightful. Groupon Getaways made it easy to book our family of 5 in hotel rooms in Austin, Texas and Washington D.C. Not only did we have non-stop flights and discover delicious food, we had a lot of fun.
Making memories on the road or in the air, is one of the highlights of our family. We are always dreaming of the next place to explore.
Our favorite moments in Austin, Texas were definitely the food and funkiness. We loved the mix of old and new architecture and visiting the Capital in the state we live in was so informative and educational.
Washington D.C. offered us so many amazing moments. That first glimpse of the White House through my 8 year old’s eyes, the Presidential motorcade and viewing the epic treasures at the Smithsonian were among our trip highlights. Oh, and trying new kinds of food. Always the food.
Here are the 3 reasons why I highly recommend using Groupon to book your next Getaway:
1. Groupon takes the hassle out of trip planning. From booking hotels to flights to all-inclusive packages, Groupon makes this part of travel easier. There are so many options to choose from, based on price, locale and the type of trip you’re looking for. With just a click of the mouse, we were able to quickly and easily plan our trips.
Click here to continue reading why I recommend Groupon for your next getaway!

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Dear Children: Let Me Explain This Thing Called Summer

It was an hour after she got home from Vacation Bible School last summer.

One hour after Water games! Snow cones! a Slimy Craft! Dancing and Singing! The Best Day Ever!

We were in the second week of summer. The second week of sleeping in and she was slipping and sliding towards boredom.

splash1

 

splash2

Walking around the house, whining about nothing to do.

Kicking her foot and waiting outside the bathroom door. (I wasn’t hiding, really).

Sound familiar?

Go. Find. Something. To. Do.

She gave me an empty stare and then I realized she was waiting on me to tell her what to do, to do something with or for her.

And there it was again, this “You Owe Me” mentality that is wrecking our culture. We do so much for our kids- camps and classes,  back and forth to lessons and events, we spend money and fill their lives with stuff and you’d think they would be oozing gratitude, but we are taken aback when they just want more.

More activities, more fun, more stuff.

More.

And honestly, I can’t really blame my first grader. Because for a long time, I provided The More. I bought into this lie that it’s my job to make my kids’ childhood magical and fun and everyday an adventure all about them.

I have fed the entitlement beast and when it rears it’s ugly head, my children aren’t the only ones to blame.

Our children need to be bored. They need to kick their feet and wait outside of bathroom doors, unanswered. They need to be sent outside or to their rooms to play. They need to turn over the bag of tricks and find it empty.

Because that’s when they will discover they don’t need stuff to fill their time. They don’t need a plan for entertainment.

They can create their own. And that’s when summer gets magical.

I pulled my little one aside and got down on eye level and I said, “Let me explain summer to you, honey.”

“There will be fun days! We will check boxes off your summer bucket list. We will play. We will work. We will serve. We will have great times. But there will also be a lot of unplanned days, there will be empty hours. There will be days when you’ve watched enough TV or we won’t be leaving the house for something super fun.

At first, these days may seem boring or like there is nothing to do. And that’s okay. Because after you whine and perhaps, cry, you will have to make up your own fun. You’ll get into that book from the library. You’ll draw doll furniture and cut it out and give your paper dolls a good home. You will figure something out. I love to see you having fun, but I will not, I cannot make every day fun. It’s not my job to make every moment The Best of Your Life. But it is my job to teach you that the days that aren’t fun usually end up being the best ones of summer.”

She ended up with a bucket of Legos and spent a couple of hours creating the coolest flying space car ever.

Sometimes we have to just wait for our kids to remember just how fun boredom can be.

C’mon, moms! Who’s with me?

 

edited repost