The Search Has Ended

Every child has it.

That favorite toy. That special blanket. That irreplaceable stuffed animal. 

For me, it was Bear-Bear, a fluffy brown bear that my great-grandmother gave me at the age of 5. It was nearly as big as me. 

Wesley at the age of two adopted a small stuffed white dog with an orange ribbon on her neck and named her Baby Puppy. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Caleb has latched on to a small Mickey Mouse doll that technically belonged to Wesley, but because Brother is so sweet and giving, he gleefully gave up Mickey as a gift to his little boy-shadow.

Caleb calls him “Mippie”, and asks for him every night when fatigue sets in at bedtime. But for several days now, Mippie has gone missing.

We’ve been busy. We’ve traveled several times in the last couple of months and Mippie somehow got lost in the shuffle. We’ve tried to give him a temporary replacement, like a  stuffed leopard or a quilted dog, but he still asks for Mippie with giant, inquisitive blue eyes.

Today, the search has ended.


I grabbed up a half-crushed shoebox on Caleb’s bedroom floor to throw away, but found it to be a little more heavy than I expected empty cardboard to be.

I opened it up, and there it was.

The Mippie.

*cue angel music*

All is well in Toddler Town today. The Mippie has been found.

#whew

Lesson of Faith from a Five-Year-Old

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Our nightly bedtime routine consists of Kris rocking Caleb to sleep while I lay down with Wesley in his bed.

Tonight, as I tucked him in and we settled down, Wesley insisted that I get a piece of paper and a pen to write something down.

Suspecting that he was just stalling, I told him “no”, that it was too late, and he really needed to go to sleep. But he continued to insist that I needed to write something down, although he wouldn’t tell me what needed to be written or why. I began to sense a need in him to express whatever words were on his heart, so I relented. I crawled out of bed, grabbed some scrap paper and a brown marker from his coloring book drawer, and settled back down next to him.

“Now,” I said. “Tell me what you want me to write.”

He took a deep breath, and words poured out.

I love Mommy and I love Daddy and I love Jesus. Cover your power all over our house. Please protect us. Help me do what is right. Please help me, because I am your love. Please heal my eye. Thank you for protecting us. And please help me find what you want me to do when I grow up. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

My heart swelled with pride and my spirit soared. This powerful prayer of a child was spoken with confidence and boldness, because his trust in Christ is absolute.

Tonight, I was taught a great example of pure faith – from my five-year-old son.

Babies Don’t Keep

Song for a Fifth Child (Babies Don’t Keep)

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

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Jun Aviles

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.

Run Wild

My sweet friend Heather Palmquist enlisted me in a challenge of her making:  to create a poem using only the song titles of my current playlist. I used my two Spotify playlists that are basically the background music while I’m working on my Young Adult novel. The music has helped propel me to a manuscript that is nearly finished – only about 4,000 words to go!

You can read Heather’s quite amazing poem Shuffle (allegro) , along with the two other friends that participated as well. Angela’s Playlist Poetry, and Jinxie’s Out of the Black.

Run Wild

Run Wild

Run Wild, Now We Are Free.

Keep Fighting, White Angel.

Can You Hold Me, Unbroken?

Tangled Strings, The Warmth, Elixir.

Out of Nowhere, Illumination.

May It Be.

Out of the Woods, Small Memory.

Skimming Stones. Geronimo.

Sailing Again, Crystalline.

How You Love Me, Illusion.

When the Days are Long and the Kids are Small

Every so often, I go through my sons’ closets and drawers to organize, pull out what is worn out or no longer fits, and neatly put back the keepers.

This afternoon was for one of those tasks. I pulled boxes down from the attic with Wesley’s hand-me-downs, and started the daunting task of going through clothes. Wesley was downstairs helping Kris with some woodworking, and Caleb followed me around with his giant blue eyes and babbling conversation.

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As I carefully unfolded and refolded every item of clothing, one by one, I was grateful for the salvaged clothes that gave Caleb plenty to play in. My heart ached with the memory of Wesley wearing the same things when he was 2 and 3. The blue shirt with sharks on it. The Avenger’s PJ’s that have seen better days. The monster truck shirt that he grew too fast to ever wear.

I held the monster truck shirt up to Caleb, and he pretended to fold it (wad it) and toss it back into my lap, making the sounds of a crane on a construction site.

Then he turned and began to squat-stomp, making the sound effects for every step, stopping to roar every few seconds. He stretched his little neck and opened his mouth wide, showing me how a T-Rex would tromp through the piles.

He draped over me and gave me a hug so tight, I couldn’t breathe. Then he turned and plunked down into my lap, wiggling his toes as he babbled on and on about something of epic toddler importance. Then he stood and wrapped his arms around me in another tight hug. Back and forth he went, lap then hug, then lap, then hug.

I could have gone on like that forever.

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He’s still in diapers now. It crinkles when he walks. He’s growing out of his shoes way too fast. With every fresh hair cut, he looks a little bigger. His vocabulary is expanding.

One day he’ll tower over me and lean down to hug me. But for now, I’ll sit on the floor and let him squeeze me in a hug as many times as I possibly can.

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Can We Really Trust God?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

As a Christian, you would think this scripture would be easy to follow. Trusting God – that’s easy, right? He’s our Creator. Our Protector. Of course we can trust him.

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Photo by Michael Hull

So why don’t we? Why don’t I?

I say I do. I feel like I do. But then, as soon as he asks me to do something that I don’t understand fully, I hesitate. And that disappoints me. I want to be that person of faith that obeys Christ without second-guessing. I want God to know that he can rely on me. That he can use me. He certainly doesn’t need me – but he wants me. And that’s a pretty powerful concept.

Trust is a choice. It’s not just a feeling, or something you say as a display of faith.

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Photo by Samantha Sophia

We can trust him in our joy, and in our depression. When we thrive and when we suffer. When we love and when we clench our fists in anger. And this is why:

Because God loves us unconditionally.

That’s it. No matter what, God adores us. He wants us. He loves us. That dirty heart of yours? He sees the beauty and wants to polish it up. Then he will shine through it. That shameful past that makes you cringe? God holds out his hands for it. Because he can use it. Then he will shine through it. Those dark clouds of hopelessness smothering the life out of you? God is waiting for you to notice that he’s standing right beside you. Because as soon as you do, hope breaks up the clouds. Then he will shine through it.

Because by trusting him fully, you’ll find unspeakable joy.

Try it. See what happens. What have you got to lose?

He is God, after all.

And you can trust him.

Does Reading Restore a Sense of Wonder?

Different people read different things for different reasons.

The stressed, overworked, single mother of three may sigh as she turns the page of a romance novel in the dark hours after the kids have gone to bed.

The analytical young dad may crack open the cover of a military adventure, likely having to force down a grin and a fist pump as he revels in the battle victory of the hero.

Continue reading “Does Reading Restore a Sense of Wonder?”

God’s Treasure

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http://www.music.taliferro.com

This is a journal entry from a year ago.

Yesterday was Easter service at my church, and instead of preaching the typical Easter story, our pastor taught on Psalm 118. He read from verses 8 and 9. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in Princes.”

This hit me particularly hard, because the day before I’d essentially had a meltdown.

Continue reading “God’s Treasure”

Voyage to the Star Kingdom

Grab your wallet, some tissues, and order this book.

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In the small community of Village-Upon-Stone, a storm settles solely over the house of a beloved family. Instead of leading their normal, happy life, the family—a father, a mother, and three young daughters— must battle fierce winds and torrential rain. The other villagers come to the family’s aid, but it’s no use against the rapidly rising waters. The family and their neighbors pray to the Star King for relief. They know he is good, but they have never endured such a storm; what if he does not send help?

Continue reading “Voyage to the Star Kingdom”

Why You Should Keep Writing While Querying

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In my last post, I mentioned that I was on submission to agents with my manuscript, Ghosts of Oak and Ivy.

I’ve already queried seven agents. Five haven’t responded yet, and two have responded with rejections. Rejections are all just part of the game – I knew, realistically, that I would likely get many rejections before seeing a request for a full manuscript.
Continue reading “Why You Should Keep Writing While Querying”