There’s a New {little} Man in My Life

There’s a New {little} Man in My Life

And I’m smitten.

grandparents with hudson

He’s so won­der­ful in every way.

Those of you who have also entered the world of GRAND­par­ent­hood know what I mean. They steal your heart in noth­ing flat.


I’ve been pon­der­ing on what to write about this new phase of life. It’s not like we are the first to ever have grand­chil­dren. Obviously.

And then I remem­bered all those years ago when my first child was born.

The love. The absolute sur­ren­der­ing of my com­fort, my needs, my var­i­ous wants… to that lit­tle baby and his.

And how it dawned on me in those days of lit­tle things how much my par­ents must have loved me in a sim­i­lar way.

I mean, sure: I knew they loved me. But, the same way I was now lov­ing my new baby? All those joys inde­scrib­able that were wrapped up in a tiny smile, and then the belly laughs. The hope that I prayed for my baby’s future life. The late nights gladly sac­ri­ficed for the needs and cries of that help­less baby, who I was hon­ored to min­is­ter to. They loved me like that?

You see, my mem­o­ries are mostly about cur­fews, restric­tions, a busy life filled with get­ting din­ner on the table and school work done. Those nuances of babylove long gone. And yet… My par­ents sac­ri­ficed greatly for their kids. Both of my par­ents worked long, hard jobs. They labored to keep us well cared for. And per­haps they didn’t say things as often as they could have, but they showed their love in many ways. And I never really under­stood a love like *this*.

My hope and prayer is that my kids can see that love that they have for their chil­dren as a sort of reminder to them of the love we have for them. It runs deep. We did not say all the things we could have. In our bus­tle of a busy life, some­times those things get missed and pushed aside. Wait­ing for tomor­row, when we will have more time. Right. Like that happens.

And Hudson’s birth also reminds me to invest even more into those still in our home. These lit­tle peo­ple who are grow­ing older and sur­pass­ing me in many ways (height, knowl­edge, skill…) still need me to remind them of the love I have for them. The new­born new­ness wears off in some ways. It’s not like we can sit at coo at them all day. The 15 year old might think I’ve lost my mind. But, walk­ing along­side my kids and invest­ing in them daily is some­thing to strive for. Tomorrow’s lazy days never do arrive. At least not while I have din­ner to cook and floors to mop.

But Hud­son. My heart soars with joy when I see his face. His mama sends me pho­tos nearly daily of his sweet squishy face that I want to cover in kisses. I know his par­ents will lav­ish love on him, meet his needs as best as they are able, and indulge his wants with wis­dom and joy. And teach him daily about the Love that sur­passes any­thing we are able to do. That Love incar­nate in Christ, who teaches us to love by His per­fect exam­ple. Noth­ing gives me greater joy than to know my chil­dren are teach­ing their chil­dren to walk in truth. God has been mer­ci­ful and so very good to us.

Oh, in case you are won­der­ing… Faith is tak­ing VERY well to being the dot­ing aunt. She can’t get enough of him. When I show her the daily pho­tos of her wee nephew, she squeals with such delight. I think they will be quite the pair. And any spoil­ing that his Mommy and Daddy won’t do, she will gladly pick up the slack.

To the Woman Who is Soon to Marry My Son

To the Woman Who is Soon to Marry My Son

{My sec­ond son is get­ting mar­ried in about a week. This let­ter is to his fiance, but maybe it will speak to oth­ers as well. After all, mar­riage and mothers/daughters-in-law have been around since the begin­ning of time, and will con­tinue until the Lord returns.}

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

My dear, I want you to know that I love you. I deter­mined long before I met you that I would love you. And my heart is over­joyed to find that it is an easy thing to do. In every­thing we do and say and live through our lives in the future, my hope is that you will always remem­ber this and keep it in the front of your heart and mind.

Thank you for lov­ing my son. And for lov­ing me. Thank you for the thought­ful­ness you put into the words you say. And the way that you say them. You touch me deeply with your kind­ness towards my son and our fam­ily. I pray that this will always be so. At any rate, we are off to a great start!

Over the years to come, you likely will see into our lives in ways that few ever will. You will see our strengths, but I am sure it is our weak­nesses that will stand out more. Be patient with us.

You will see the areas where we are more prone to sin. You will see the places we try to hide from the wider world.  You know, those places of vul­ner­a­bil­ity and heartache. Be gen­tle with us.

And as we see those areas in your life, my heart hopes that we will also be patient and gen­tle with you.

I’m sure my son will not only tell you of the joys, the highs, the tri­umphs in our lives, but he will share the low points, the places where we failed. We all have those, you know. We like to pre­tend that we don’t. But we do. Like most Chris­t­ian par­ents, we desire to raise our chil­dren well, in the love and nur­ture of the Lord. But like all par­ents from all times, we are still deal­ing with real life: exhaus­tion, bills, impa­tience, sin. And so, it doesn’t always look like that shiny brochure we imag­ined when we got mar­ried and started hav­ing kids: the one that pic­tures per­fectly dressed chil­dren, a “House Beau­ti­ful” home, a sophis­ti­cated wardrobe that fits on a slen­der body, and a per­pet­u­ally happy husband.

Unless it’s the one you find at the bot­tom of my purse, with crumbs ground into it, pen mark­ings, smudges. If that’s the brochure you have in mind, then we’re good.

I have found that the trick is to keep our eyes on Christ, not on our crum­pled brochure. Why is it that we cling so tena­ciously to the ideals we man­u­fac­ture in our minds? Don’t we know that that isn’t real life, even as we pour over Pin­ter­est and Face­book, with all the happy ideas and smiles?

Mostly, we have had an incred­i­bly happy life together, rais­ing this son who will soon be your Mis­ter. He is tena­cious. He is faith­ful. He is gen­er­ous. He is stub­born. He is not eas­ily swayed. But, when he is in, he’s all in. You never have to doubt his com­mit­ment. He loves deeply, with every­thing that is in him. He is ten­der and soft, in that hard, rugged way. But, I think you know all of that. Be care­ful with him. Your words have great power to build or to tear him down. Never for­get the power you have.  Proverbs 14:1 teaches us that “The wise woman builds her house, but the fool­ish pulls it down with her hands.” Yes, and yes. Try to grasp that con­cept. I’m still try­ing to grasp it after 25 years of mar­riage. It’s a huge thing. I am still baf­fled when I learn how strongly my words have impacted my hus­band. Both for good and for bad. Be quick to repent and apol­o­gize. We have noth­ing to gain by stub­born­ness. Only days, months, years to lose to bit­ter­ness and strife. Choose the good. Choose the joy. Choose the love. Choose ten­der­ness and com­pas­sion. You’ll be blessed so much more with those.

I look for­ward to watch­ing the two of you make your life together. You will have strug­gles, but those are great oppor­tu­ni­ties to unite your hearts as one as you work together to get through them. You will have vic­to­ries. They may be small, like get­ting the tod­dler to eat his veg­eta­bles;  they may be great, like buy­ing your first house or tri­umph­ing over sin through the power of Christ in you.

And I will be here cheer­ing you on. Encour­ag­ing you in your role as a wife. I want you to suc­ceed at being the best wife you can be to my son. Because I believe it will help him be the best hus­band to you. And every­one wins. For gen­er­a­tions to come.

It is not my desire to be that med­dling mother in law in the mid­dle of your lives. My desire is to come along­side you, offer­ing encour­age­ment. And advice when asked. If I seem aloof at times, it is likely because I am try­ing to give you space. You are always wel­come into my lit­tle world. But I will try never to pre­sume a cen­tral spot in yours. My door is always open to you, or my tex­ting phone, whichever the case may be. And you two are always wel­come at all fam­ily and hol­i­day occa­sions. But, we will never have expec­ta­tions that you will be there. I pray that you never feel any pres­sure from us in these poten­tially dif­fi­cult mat­ters. We will take great joy for any and all the times we have together. And be thank­ful for those times. And under­stand­ing when it can’t be so. At least that’s our heart in the mat­ter. I pray the Lord will give us strength and per­spec­tive that blesses you in your marriage.

I no longer have an alle­giance to my son. I have an alle­giance to YOU: the two of you as one flesh. I love you as though I bore you myself — because my son loves you and has cho­sen you for his bride. It’s a won­der­ful bonus that I like you, too. God is so good.

So, my dear, wel­come to the fam­ily. I think my son has done a won­der­ful job in choos­ing a wife. I pray that he is the hus­band to you that you need:  for com­pan­ion­ship, love, your per­sonal sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion, and grow­ing in matu­rity in the Lord. He has had an excel­lent exam­ple in his father.

I love you.


photo credit: Sierra Candler

This blog post is shared over at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.



So, What is the Virtuous Woman?

So, What is the Virtuous Woman?

I have noticed in my con­ver­sa­tions with other women that many peo­ple seem to mis­un­der­stand the idea of what it is to be a vir­tu­ous woman. It appears that some fall into the camp of believ­ing that it is a holier than thou, pietis­tic char­ac­ter­is­tic. Not really attain­able. Or at best, a forced pub­lic face of holi­ness. I have heard, “Oh, you’re the ‘vir­tu­ous wife’.” As if I believe I am some­how ele­vated in my esti­ma­tion of myself, and think I am the one and only. Please, let me be clear when I say that I desire to con­duct myself in such a way that I bring honor to Christ, my hus­band, and my church in the way I live. I also know that I fail mis­er­ably.  A lot. More than I like to admit pri­vately or pub­licly. I have no delu­sions of who I am based on my own merit. And yet, Proverbs 31 extols the vir­tu­ous woman. She is a good thing. And she is a real thing. She isn’t some fan­tasy that no woman can hope to become. We are not to say, “Oh, well, yes, that sounds all good and fine, but REALLY, I can’t be expected to be that.” And then go on our merry way ignor­ing this per­son: the vir­tu­ous woman.

I came across a won­der­ful blog post by my friend, Kelly Craw­ford, who blogs at Gen­er­a­tion Cedar,  the other day where she dis­cusses this very topic.  She gave me per­mis­sion to share her post with my read­ers. You can find the orig­i­nal post here.

What You Need to Know About the “Vir­tu­ous” Woman

by Kelly Crawford

Beautiful blond sexy woman warrior with sword outdoor

A big smile broke out across my face yes­ter­day when I was show­ing my girls how to study the Bible using a Strong’s con­cor­dance. I had cho­sen Proverbs 31:10 and we were look­ing up the word “virtuous.”

If you grew up in a Chris­t­ian home or church, you are well-familiar with talk of what it means to be a “vir­tu­ous” woman. Some women don’t even like to use the word any­more because its mean­ing has become jaded, its image attached to self-righteousness piety (sadly, but true). At best, we think it means “good, godly, pure.”

I was so sur­prised to see the word in its orig­i­nal Hebrew. Look:

a force, strength, abil­ity, might, effi­ciency, wealth, army

And the writer of Proverbs rightly asks, “Who can find this kind of woman?”

I sub­mit, she is still hard to find. She is hard to become. She is hard to raise. But we must com­mit to the task.

I’ve seen a dis­turb­ing trend among young moth­ers and wives the last few years and I’ve thought a lot about our response to it. With the abil­ity to “peek” into the lives of oth­ers so eas­ily through face­book and blogs, I see moth­ers who strug­gle, com­plain and all but give up on their task, con­clud­ing it’s too hard. They are weak, frail and emo­tion­ally volatile.

And I con­fess I’ve been her.

I think we need more pluck. I know I do, and I cer­tainly want my girls to have it. But pluck is such a small word now. We need vir­tu­ous women.

It’s ironic that the stereo­type of women who devote them­selves to home, believ­ing God has made them helpers to their hus­bands, should be “pathetic” and “weak.”  The Bible gets blamed for “oppress­ing” women and giv­ing them a so-called lower station.

But it’s in the Bible where we find that a vir­tu­ous woman is akin to an army, a FORCE, to be reck­oned with, no doubt. And as we raise our daugh­ters, we know they need to be strong to hold up to this ardu­ous task of rais­ing the next gen­er­a­tion, as that work is done in the grind­ing out of days and weeks and months and years.

So we’re not talk­ing here about “mak­ing sure they know how to mop.” That’s not the pic­ture of the vir­tu­ous woman I see from Proverbs 31. There’s a whole lot to her, to know­ing how to be effi­cient in all areas of life, to rul­ing her home well, to man­ag­ing dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties and chal­lenges, to edu­cat­ing her chil­dren, to being wise, to com­ing along­side her hus­band and bear­ing him up, to sav­ing money, to mak­ing money, to being alert to the needs around her, to min­is­ter­ing–she is an army in one lady.

I know that one lit­tle Hebrew word has breathed new life into my efforts as I seek to raise vir­tu­ous women. Effi­cient, mighty, able women. May we raise up a strong force for the glory of God!

- See more at:

I am so thank­ful to Kelly for writ­ing this. She shares so many of my thoughts. A vir­tu­ous woman. Yes! An army. A force. Ladies, we have a gigan­tic job before us as we raise our chil­dren, run our homes, min­is­ter to our church body, and love our hus­bands. It is not for the faint of heart. Kelly has helped breathe new life into my min­istry in my home. A vir­tu­ous woman. Yes, please. I have three daugh­ters I am help­ing to raise. These words have empow­ered me with a bet­ter vision for how to attack this chal­lenge before me. I pray it equips you as well.




Busking at the Mall…And Anywhere Else She Can Think of

Busking at the Mall…And Anywhere Else She Can Think of

The girls were given an oppor­tu­nity to play their harp at the mall this past week­end. So, they have been prac­tic­ing and prepar­ing for their big pub­lic debut of harp play­ing. I sensed some nerves rat­tling around in the girls over the last cou­ple of weeks as the day drew nearer.

Except for with Faith.

On the way to their last harp les­son before the big day, Faith piped up from the back seat, “Mom? I have a great idea!”  {Oh, dear. I can only imag­ine what’s com­ing next…} “I think we should bring Peter’s fedora and get tips while we play at the mall!”

Two things ran through my head:
1. How on earth did she know it was called a fedora? and
2. Do they allow this?
and to be hon­est, there was a 3. WHAT?!?!? Where did she get this idea from?

As I attempted to sup­press my shock and the fact that I found this humor­ous, I decided to duck the ques­tion, and gave all blame and respon­si­bil­ity to her teacher. “You need to ask your teacher. You prob­a­bly won’t be allowed to do it.”

Well, lo and behold, her teacher thought it was a GREAT idea! Faith marched right into her harp les­son and asked if she could have a tip jar. No gig­gles or sur­prise from her teacher. Just nods of yes and encour­age­ment. Ha!

So, Faith got one of my mason jars with chalk­board vinyl on it and wrote out “TIPS” with a red chalk marker. She car­ried that jar to the mall, and stuck it on the floor in front of her harp. Of the three girls, she wanted to go first. She plopped right down in her chair and played “Away in a Manger” 6 times through. In a row. With her sparkly pink shoes show­ing under her flow­ing dress.

faith harp

And she col­lected tips. After some­one would drop a dol­lar or some change into her jar, she smiled and said, “Thank you!” And then kept play­ing. She delighted her audi­ence. And her mother, of course. And, her sib­lings as well. She does that to us.

Not to be out­done, her sis­ters took turns play­ing also. They seemed to enjoy this new ven­ture after they worked out their nerves, and were quite pleased with Faith’s Tip Jar.

duet harpThe girls had a won­der­ful time, the patrons at the mall seemed delighted to see such young girls play­ing the harp. It was so fun to see the older peo­ple and lit­tle chil­dren watch them. I saw quite a few twin­kles in the older generation’s eyes, and gaped mouths in the lit­tle ones. One sweet lit­tle girl even danced for Pey­ton as she played “The Holly and the Ivy”. And one adorable lit­tle boy wanted to give it a try also. Play­ing the harp, that is, not dancing.

So, tonight, we were enjoy­ing some fam­ily time. Faith and I played a game of  Skip­pity while the older chil­dren played Ticket to Ride with Daddy. She read The Princess and the Pea to me, and I asked her to play a song for me on her harp. She ran to get her tip jar, and she told me to go get my wallet…

See her tip jar in front of her harp?

See her tip jar in front of her harp?

Not so fast, you lit­tle stinker!

**The pic­ture at the top of this post is one I took of Faith out of our din­ing room win­dow. We have had a lot of snow over the last week, with tem­per­a­tures falling below zero most days. Faith won’t be deterred. She had Pey­ton bun­dle her up and out she went. Her bright col­ors really cap­tured my atten­tion, so I grabbed my iPhone to see if I could snap a few shots of her with­out her notic­ing. She was busy, hop­ping around from spot to spot, shak­ing lit­tle trees, dig­ging up snow, look­ing for adven­ture. I finally caught this one, and think she looks like a lit­tle snow elf. I really want to pack­age her up and keep her lit­tle for­ever, but I know she must grow up and become the woman God has in mind for her to be. So, we teach, train, dis­ci­ple her daily. And, like the sib­lings that go before her, we com­mit her and her future to prayer, that she will always have a heart sen­si­tive to God, long­ing to please Him, honor Him, and know Him more fully. I feel so unwor­thy for the task.



It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year! Time for the Christ­mas music, trim­ming the tree, Christ­mas shopping…

I’m not sure if it is because we moved so much over the years, and we wanted some sort of con­ti­nu­ity for our chil­dren, or if it would have been this way any­way, but over the years we have col­lected tra­di­tions that remind us of our spe­cial days.

On birth­days, we hang bal­loons out­side of our children’s bed­room doors with a bal­loon for each year that they are cel­e­brat­ing (3  bal­loons for our 3 year old, 15 for the 15 year old, and so on). Of course, if I didn’t know the kids got into the bal­loons and I only have 11 left but don’t real­ize it until mid­night, the 17 year old only gets 11. Hate it when that hap­pens!  This comes from Daddy always say­ing, “yes,” and Mommy not hid­ing the bal­loons very well. But I digress…

Con­tinue read­ing over at Joy­ous Notions…where they are cel­e­brat­ing with a series of The Five Days of Christ­mas.  And I’m giv­ing away a Christ­mas design from Fruit­ful Vine Cre­ations!

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