Pick of the Clicks 5/29/2016

manic-pixie-dream-girl

It’s a quiet weekend at our house: my husband and my eldest are on a backpacking trip, and our boys are exhausted after a day of swimming and an extended-dance-party-with-light-sabers (because, BOYS). So, that leaves time for a little weekend curating. Here are some of my favorite things from the interwebz of late:

My favorite read this week is from Nicole Cliffe. But before I tell you about this piece, I should say I had read another piece of hers two days before: In Which I Freely Endorse THINX Period Underwear, which had me rolling with laughter as I read. And then, from this same author, 48 hours later I read this—How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life—a STARK contrast in subject matter, but the combination of humor and realness and All The Things makes me want to be her BFF right away. This is a must read, friends:

I had started to meet more people of faith, having moved to Utah from Manhattan, and thought them frequently charming in their sweet delusion. I did not wish to believe. I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.

This was heartbreaking, from Zhaniah – What I want you to know about growing up in Foster Care and subsequently aging out:

I have spent most of my life in foster care and I can tell you, it is like drowning… repeatedly. You are swallowed–wholly, all at once, by something so other, so absolute that you cannot even make sense of it. Each time you fight your way to the top, reaching your hand out for anyone to save you; yet again you sink. Maybe next time. Occasionally, you make it to the top. You are so close to the shore that you begin to think you are in the clear, that you have found some semblance of safety; just to have a wave knock into you, and drag you below. After a while you give in—allowing your body to be swept under; accepting your fate as a sinking ship. You refuse to give the sea a chance to force your body into collapsing, yet again. You give into this immense nothingness because really this is the home you know. You realize the darkness, your quiet and lone purgatory is the only place you have ever belonged-thus the only place you can ever belong. And then, you are under so long that the ground seems like it was never meant for you at all; it is a fairy-tale, gifted to boys and girls nothing like you. Children who are so much more than you. Maybe you were fighting this void for no reason. Maybe no one ever intended to save you anyway.

Really thought-provoking insights on time and whether we have enough of it from Jen Pollock Michel in There’s Never Enough Time:

(T)o suggest that I “do it all” by waving my time management wand over life’s unruliness is to ignore a glaring distinction between me and many other busy mothers: material privilege.

I LOVE Addie Zierman’s answer to a young woman who has been so hurt by her church experience and is now wondering whether any of the spiritual stuff she sees around her is, as Peeta asks in the Hunger Games, “Real or Not Real?

The truth is, every single person gets a mixed bag of messages; half-truths mixed with lies mixed with truth. No matter how genuinely good their family or their youth group or their church or their friends are. No matter how theologically sound their upbringing might have been. Everyone ends up with a bunch of lies mixed in, whether they know it or not. What makes us lucky, you and me, is we know it. 

I LOVE this post from Melanie Dale, and would have included it in this week’s roundup even if it hadn’t been a guest post on this here blog: Cheer Mom. (And, if you click on the link, you still have a couple of days to enter to win a copy of her fabulous book, Women are Scary):

If you are a cheer mom or a cheerleader, forgive me. It’s not you it’s me. I will adjust and be as awesome as possible. I will bring snacks and learn to tie bows and be the sports bra of supportiveness. Don’t give up on me. Please be my friend.

(I mean COME ON: “I will be the sports bra of supportiveness” 🙂 I giggled for a good couple of minutes over that one.)

Then—sound the trumpets!—this week Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy released her annual Summer Reading Guide, and I have instantly queued up a whole host of titles on request on my Kindle. Wondering what to read next? Take a look at the Summer Reading Guide: I’ve read many of her suggestions over the last 2 years and EAGERLY look forward to this each year.

And then this ad, featuring 52 year old ballet dancer Alessandra Ferri, is just AWESOME:

From me this week: To the Brave Volunteers at Vacation Bible School.

And, since it’s Memorial Day, here’s a Letter To My Children on Memorial Day.

Happy Clicking, friends!

 

Cheer Mom

M-E-L-A-N-I-E!!! Who have we for company?

It’s MELANIE! Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o Melanie!

(Please welcome Melanie Dale to the blog today. Better than that: cheer for her, because this is fantastic)

I’m not even sure I’m capable of woohooing unsarcastically, although I’ll do anything to try to support my daughter.

 

I am the world’s worst soccer mom. I hate grass. I hate sports. I hate being outside and sweating. I stand on the sidelines griping about mosquitos and armpits while the other parents cheer supportively.

I know. I sound super fun. I think when God made me he had in mind more of an indoor, bookish sort who could read about other people experiencing the outdoors from the comfort of a nice sofa.

After years of schlepping folding chairs to fields and trying to make small talk with other moms on the sidelines while my kids attempted to remember which goal was theirs, I finally got to give it a rest. First one, then another child tried and quit soccer and my third and final child decided against giving it a go. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was finished.

And then something happened that made me long for the days of soccer. My youngest, a wee kindergartner, has decided she desperately needs to try cheerleading.

What.

There’s something about parenting that makes us confront our deepest, darkest fears, and I have the fear of athletics AND ginormous girly bows and here is a sport that combines both. We are now facing a childhood filled with grosgrain ribbon and herkies and pyramids.

As I filled out the online form, I felt my insides shrivel. This sport comes with more enthusiasm than any other. Cheerleading is the choice of perky people who love their teams and feel things like loyalty and school spirit and such.

Clearly I am doomed. I’m not even sure I’m capable of woohooing unsarcastically, although I’ll do anything to try to support my daughter. (Though I’m secretly nursing some healthy vengeance against her for putting me through this. How. Dare. She.)

Cheerleaders: R-O-W-D-I-E THAT’S THE WAY WE SPELL ROWDY, ROWDY, LET’S GET ROWDY WOO-WOO-WOO!

Me: But it’s not. That’s not how you spell it. Do they not know? DO THEY NOT KNOW?!?

I had it on good authority that I was going to raise nerds. My husband was the president of the chess club at his little private school where I picture them all in matching argyle and knee pants. (This is probably not true but let me have my fantasy. The chess part was real and he is so hot to me in my mind. Take my pawn again, Nerd King. You’re the man.)

I had glasses, braces, zits, and a varsity letter in showchoir. So, you know, the nerd thing for my kids seemed like a reasonable assumption. I was hoping to throw in some kind of woodwind instrument and a band uniform involving a ruffled dickie to seal the deal, but no. Now I’m looking at pom poms and spankies. (My husband just informed me that cheering seems awfully similar to showchoir and jazz hands. Now I’m questioning everything and need chocolate and a fuzzy blanket and some tap shoes.)

My child is going to be a cheerleader. faints, stands back up, watches Bring It On, faints again

Just as the shaking in my hands from signing her up ebbed a bit, I got an email in my inbox about…football. That’s dumb. Nobody here does that thing. Football? Please. I’ve spent 38 years trying lackadaisically to understand that game and I never will. I watch the Superbowl for Beyonce and Beyonce alone. Why was I getting an email welcoming my child to the world of football OH MY GOSH CHEERLEADERS CHEER FOR FOOTBALL GAMES HOT DAMN.

Cheering doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The girls are cheering FOR something. For boys. I will be spending every Saturday on a football field watching my daughter shake her booty for a bunch of padded up peewee players.

I’m wondering if she’ll forgive me for screaming random epithets about THE PATRIARCHY!

Me: GIRLS! YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHEER FOR BOYS! CHEER FOR YOURSELVES! WHO’S CHEERING FOR YOU, GIRLS!?!

My daughter: I don’t know that crazy woman over there whipping her bra through the air. Weird.

This is what’s going through my head as I prepare for cheer season, I mean football season. I didn’t even watch Friday Night Lights or Varsity Blues. (I thought Friday Night Lights was about theatre openings and marquees. True story.)

I’m completely intimidated because this is not my lane.

But. It’s my daughter’s lane, and even though I can’t be in the lane, I’m going to be at the end of the lane cheering wildly for my little cheerleader. Melanie Dale, Cheer Mom.

If you are a cheer mom or a cheerleader, forgive me. It’s not you it’s me. I will adjust and be as awesome as possible. I will bring snacks and learn to tie bows and be the sports bra of supportiveness. Don’t give up on me. Please be my friend.

This is what we do as moms, isn’t it? We support our kids and consequently end up thrown into new situations with other moms who intimidate the heck out of us as we act like we know what we’re doing. So let me be the first to say, “Hi. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m intimidated and a total dork and scared of blowing it with all of you.”

This is the First Base of mom dating. We didn’t choose to be together, but our kids are in this activity and we’re here so we might as well get to know each other. Wanna know about the other bases and what I’ve learned about momlationships? I wrote it all down for you in a book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, and Bronwyn’s giving away a copy! Enter below! Woo-hoo! (I’m practicing my cheering yay!)

 

61SMJJdFuqL._UX250_Melanie Dale is a minivan mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. Author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends and It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose (August 2016), she’s also a contributor for Coffee+Crumbs and an advocate for Children’s HopeChest. She’s been featured on Parenting.com, Scary Mommy, Working Mother Magazine, Deadspin’s Adequate Man, and Today’s Christian Woman. Living in the Atlanta area, she blogs at Unexpected.org about motherhood, orphan care, infertility, and sometimes poo. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@unexpectedmel)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Image Credit: Cheerleader/ThaQeLa (Flickr Creative Commons), edited using Canva by moi.

To the Brave Volunteers at VBS (or Holiday Club, or Vacation Bible Club, or whatever you call it)

to the brave volunteers at

I signed up to help with our church’s annual Vacation Bible School this year. Again.

And—just like I do every year—I’m wondering why the dickens I volunteered for the madness. Again.

But as I think about it—again—I can tell you why. It’s not because I’m great with kids: I am not the Pied Piper of Hamlin by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not because I love songs-with-dance-moves and themed snacks: trust me. And—perhaps this might surprise you—it’s not because I have three kids that will be participating and I feel the need to watch them and participate with them. It’s definitely not because I have nothing better to do.

The reason I sign up… for the tenth year in a row now… is because of the difference one volunteer made in my life, over thirty years ago. My parents were newly divorced and as is the custom for many kids-of-divorce, we spent alternate weekends and holidays with each parent. My Dad had started going to a church, and during one of the first holiday times we were with him, he signed us up for Holiday Club (as it was known there). It was next-to-free-childcare; it seemed fun, and he had to work. So, we went.

I don’t remember much about that week. I vaguely remember a gaudily decorated hall, and I’m fairly sure there were games that involved screaming as we chased beach balls. I don’t remember a single person’s name, but I do remember this: not long after Holiday Club, I got a letter in the mail from one of the leaders. A real letter. With my name on it. In the mail. With a stamp. For me.

I remember pacing my room as I read, and re-read, it. I remember crying, because she remembered what I’d told her the week before: that my parents were divorced, that it was hard, that adjusting to step-parents and juggled weekends and school stress was difficult. That I was lonely. That I was scared. She remembered and acknowledged those details; she reminded me to trust in God because he cared about me; she said she was praying for me. Her letter was less than a page long, her name signed with a flourish in the bottom right hand corner. It wasn’t much and yet it was everything.

Her care showed me God’s care in a way I’d never seen before. Her seeing me and noticing me in the middle of a crazy week with screaming games and wild distractions made me feel profoundly seen and noticed. She offered me a glimpse of the welcome of heaven, and I was desperate for it.

I wrote back, and I think she wrote me again two or three times before our correspondence dwindled.

But it didn’t have to be a lifetime of correspondence to have made a longlong impact. That first letter was enough. She was a volunteer—possibly a high school kid—and she took the time to show love to a know-it-all kid who was really hurting beneath her sassy exterior.

It’s been more than thirty years, but I think of that Volunteer every year. I think what a difference it made—and how she’ll never know—and when that sign-up clip board gets passed around asking who wants to help out with VBS, I write my name on it. Even though I’m not fabulous with kids. And even though themed snacks and decorating are not my thing.

I sign up because children are people, and I was a hurting little person once and a volunteer saw me as a person and loved me. I may not be great at children’s ministry, but I can love a little people for a couple of hours once a year. And who knows what difference it may make?

To all you brave, wonderful people who signed up on that clip board and who will be playing the games, serving the snacks, sitting in small groups, and talking with kids this holiday: I wanted to say thank you in advance. And Bless You. Yours is Holy Work, although you may never know what difference you made.

But I just wanted to say: you do make a difference.

And,

Thank You.

 

Photo credit: cbcphotos (Flickr Creative Commons) / edited by BL using Canva.

Pick of the Clicks 5/21/2016

pick a strawberry

Hello, friends. The weeks are WHIPPING by like the final sprint to the end of the school year that they are… but in the midst of the madness you probably still want something good to read every now and then, right? Here are some of the best:

HELL YEAH to this from Glennon Doyle Melton: Pe-TISH-ion

When I was little — I looked at the one size fits none standard of beauty and thought: “Damn. There’s something wrong with me.” And Tish will look at the same crap and say: ” Damn. There’s something wrong with THAT.” And she’ll likely get a little pissed. And that’s what I want. I want girls who are angry instead of sick.

I love this reflection from Micah Boyett on what she’s learned, experienced, and gained from sharing her married-with-kids home with a single friend: You, me, and Leigh.

All of us—my husband and Leigh and I—shared the same reasoning: this experiment was good. In fact, we all agreed that it had genuinely surprised us all with its goodness. Its unexpected gifts were making all of our lives richer, and taught us a few valuable lessons.

THIS, from Alia-Joy Hagenbach, is a most magnificent read about marriage. (Really, you should read it)— The Hospitality of Marriage: Loving Life It’s New:

We were never an ideal match, we have been strangers as often as we’ve been friends. We’ve had to relearn what it is to make space for each other. I never thought the training grounds for hospitality would be in the welcoming of who we are.

This was fascinating: Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor, from Kim Scott:

Gender politics and fear of tears push men away from being as radically candid with women as they are with other men. This is bad for men, women and the truth. Gender bias pushes women away from being radically candid in a way that is also bad for men, women and the truth.

And from David Brooks (who’s reading James K.A. Smith, another favorite of mine), Putting Grit in Its Place:

(H)ard work and resilience can only happen when there is a strong desire. Grit is thus downstream from longing. People need a powerful why if they are going to be able to endure any how.

Them’s fightin’ words from Nate J Lee in Hillsong Church: Do Not Colonize San Francisco, but I think he has a point (and his discussion of the context of the Scriptures on which this church plant is being done is particularly salient…)

Ben Houston has pulled the age-old theological sleight of hand that has enabled all colonial destruction that has occurred in the name of Jesus: He has positioned himselfin the place of Biblical Israel within the Biblical narrative, effectively positioning Hillsong Church as God’s chosen people to bring their exquisite salvation to the rest of the world, by any means necessary. It also means, to be clear, that the strategic cities of the world, of which San Francisco is one, are the Promised Land, filled with milk, honey, and slow drip coffee, destined to fall into the hands of God’s chosen people.

…and in a similar vein see also this excellent piece from the increasingly awesome Babylon Bee: Man With Jeremiah 29:11 Tattoo Recounts His Time In Babylonian Captivity. Seriously, folks, we need to handle our bibles better. (Be an exegete.)

Here’s your video clip for the week: just four minutes long, on how wolves change rivers. My Mother in Law sent this, thinking my son would find it interesting. I thought I would find it “educational”, but it was FASCINATING. I had NO IDEA…

From me (since the last pick of the clicks):

Better Than a Rolling Jail

What Marriage Isn’t

We’re Done Having Kids… Touch Wood

As always, thanks for reading! And if you have any questions you want to send in for the Ask Me Anything column, please do!

Why Foster Care has Been Good for my Biological Child

Jennifer Hartley recently shared some thoughts on social media about the risks and rewards of foster care to her biological children, and I’m so grateful she is willing to share them here. 

Jennifer hartley

Jennifer Hartley and her daughter (used with permission)

“But how do you know your children will be safe?”

This is a question I hear from caring people who are concerned that fostering will have a negative, harmful or even damaging impact on my biological children. My reply is usually that we would not be able to foster if I felt that it wasn’t a safe and overall beneficial experience for my children. I don’t deny that opening our doors to children who have been abused, neglected and abandoned entails some risks that must be mitigated. As a mom and foster mom, I am vigilant to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all the children in my home. However, I am not one to believe that I can adequately control what my children are exposed to by not fostering. Rather, I believe that the benefits to my children far outweigh the risks.

First of all, I believe that fostering brings out the best of my parenting ability, which benefits my children. Fostering provides many natural opportunities to parent purposefully, thoughtfully and proactively – in other words, to be a better parent. Because life necessitates talking with my foster kids about things like intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, choices, consequences, responsibility, and needs vs. wants, I find that as a foster mom I am more proactive about (and less likely to procrastinate) talking to my own children in age-appropriate ways about these subjects. Far from being taboos in our home, I have chosen a lifestyle of proactively educating my kids about subjects that I would be naïve to imagine could never touch them. One personal indicator of my parental success level is the presence of an ongoing discussion with my children about topics including safety, ethics, responsibility, advocacy (for self and others) and problem-solving.

Fostering gives us as parents the opportunity to consciously model healthy behaviors and values important to us, not the least of which is the courageous love, faith and risk management required to walk closely and long-term with at-risk children and their families.

Fostering nearly half her life, as she has, has given my eldest the chance to grow in important ways. I have seen her develop in beautiful, sometimes surprising ways specifically spurred on by her experience as a foster sister. I’d like to call attention to just a few of the immense blessings and benefits that come to our children when we give them the gift of being a foster sibling, as I’ve seen in my own daughter.

  • Fostering enhances my daughter’s strengths.I have seen her grow in character, inner strength, and self-worth as she helps to love, shelter, shepherd and nurture other children.
  • Fostering increases her capacity for empathy and for magnanimity.She sees, knows, and is friends with those whom society would deem “the least of these.”
  • Fostering necessitates her awareness of the importance of self-care and self-advocacy.She has learned that when her own needs are not met, she will survive, but she will not thrive. She has learned to communicate clearly and appropriately and to speak up regarding her own well-being.
  • Fostering shows her that she plays a significant, but humble, part in the healing of brokenness within our community.She has seen the difference that modeling healthy behaviors can make. She has also seen that we are powerless to rescue others on our own.
  • Fostering builds her self-confidence and teaches her valuable skills.She takes seriously being a role model to vulnerable kids, and sees herself as both a leader and a learner.
  • Fostering illustrates to her truths about child development and psychology that many of us only learn in a classroom.The role of play in healing. The significance of safety and security in building self-esteem. The importance of consistency and predictability for everyone, but especially for those with a history of trauma and chaos.
  • Fostering brings her into life-to-life contact with kids very different from her. She finds that they truly enjoy building a friendship, despite the fact that they may never have met otherwise.
  • Fostering helps her to appreciate the simple things.She may have a boring mom, but she has a mom to tuck her in at night. She may not feel excited about what is served for dinner, but she has food on the table. She may grow weary of completing her homework, but she has a family that is able to prioritize her education and her future.
  • Fostering demonstrates to her the critical difference between respecting someone and feeling sorry for them. Kids who have been given tough work to do by those who should have cared for them do not gain from or appreciate our pity. Rather, they benefit from respect, understanding and having someone who will stay with them as they journey the unpredictable, unrelenting, never-quite-familiar road of healing and recovery.
  • Fostering reveals to her the breadth of her own privileged experience.She has learned the importance of reaching past her own comfort zone to truly see and value others.
  • Fostering inspires her to extend mercy.Understanding what some kids have been through has taught her to be gracious when others lose their composure easily, lack social proficiencies, or display a surprising absence of life skills.
  • Perhaps most importantly, fostering teaches her to live authentically.She realizes that our foster children internalize how we communicate our spouse, children or parents behind closed doors, when no one is around. They watch how we model (or don’t model) what we say we believe in. They have front row seats as we build rapport and establish healthy boundaries with people very different from us, who don’t trust us and maybe don’t even like us. They witness and experience how we love and how we live. She (and we) can’t be one person at home and another at school, church or soccer.

None of us can absolutely guarantee the safety of our children against all possible harm. It is a hard truth for us as caring, concerned parents. What we can do, though, is give them tools to protect themselves, help them to stand up against wrongs, educate them about topics that may make us uncomfortable, and model for them giving the gift of a wide love to others. And this, we may find, is what family is really all about.

Jennifer Hartley is a mom and foster mom to 5 children, wife of 18 years to a supportive and hardworking husband, and works full time as a foster parent recruiter and trainer for the Department of Children and Families in New Haven, CT. 

We’re Done Having Kids… (Touch Wood)

We're done having kids... (touch wood)

This week our youngest child turned four and the last of the baby-gear items left our house. The item in question was our trusty Ergo baby carrier which we had kept in our minivan (aka the rolling jail), for just-in-case occasions.  But this last week we also said goodbye to the a/c-less minivan (and hello to a blissfully cool SUV), and when cleaning out the minivan I realized it had been months since we’d used the carrier. It was time to bequeath it to a new family. In so many ways, it’s the end of an era.

We are officially a house where no bicycles have training wheels, no-one except Mommy needs to nap, all seat belts can be buckled by their occupants, and everyone can wipe their own butts. (<< note I said can, not does. There’s yet work to be done.) It’s been a long nearly-nine-years but we have made the transition from being the parents of babies and “little people” to being the parents of articulate, opinionated, growing-in-competence, medium-sized people.

There are some really beautiful things about this change. We all usually sleep through the night. They can tell me where it hurts, and they laugh at jokes. Sometimes, when the planets align and all my mommy-mojo is at work, they play nicely together and I can read a book while the children are awake and occupying themselves. I mean WHAT?! Really?!! There were a couple years there that I didn’t think that kind of daytime luxury would ever be mine again. For these changes in season, my primary emotion is one of gratitude.

There are also moments of unmitigated sentimentality. Like the day we dismantled our youngest’s crib and left it to rest in pieces, and there was something so sudden and unexpected about that change that I cried on and off for several days about it. Every now and then one of my kids will climb into my lap and ask me to read them a story, and I know that one day it will be the last time and the thought catches in my throat. But that time isn’t today, and so I read and try to keep the schmaltz at bay.

But between the gratitude and the sentiment, I just wanted to confess one more feeling: fear. For I know a handful of people who were just settling into this sweet post-toddler zone I’ve been describing, who had just given away the last of their baby gear, only to discover that—surprise! surprise!—they were pregnant again. And lest you think we only keep company with Natural Family Planners who rely on calendars to keep them child-free; let me say we’ve heard this story from people who’ve taken permanent steps to stop them brooding breeding.

(Joke from my husband: What do you call people who practice the rhythm method? Answer: Parents. Crazy voice in my head taunting the “what if” scenarios: What do you call people who’ve had vasectomies? Answer: Very surprised parents??)

So this week, as my children buckled themselves into their seats and I drove across town to drop off that last baby item to a new foster family… I’ll confess I felt a little fear. Because what if this is our story, too? Just when we feel we survived the baby-years and are settling into the sweet season of the elementary years?

Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge should we come to it. We had been hemming and hawing about if and when to have a third kid when God short-circuited our decision-making with a surprise pregnancy… and he was possibly the best surprise ever. We have laughed more and loved more every single day on account of that unexpected little boy. And I suppose that even if we were to have a (VERY!) surprise fourth, we would look back with gratitude and a “we couldn’t imagine life without them” testimony.

But for now, as I look at my baby-gear-free house, what I feel mostly is a quiet gratitude for the years past and the season we’re in. We have three kids and that seems a good number to us. The bakery is closed: no more buns will be baked in this oven… that we know of.

That’s our plan, but I know from experience that God pays little attention to my plans. So I’m giving away that baby gear, but—as with all things—leaving room in my soul for some divine mischief and mystery.

Better Than a Rolling Jail

minivan

My kids say some pretty-dang-hilarious things, and I was reminded yesterday of one of the funniest quips yet.

We had spent the afternoon with fun friends on their farm (the same friends who took a mislaid stripey sweater on the adventure of its life), and it was time to leave. Of course, the kids didn’t want to go, and the effort of corralling them to the car felt a bit like trying to catch that one piece of egg shell that slipped into the cake mix. After several kind requests, I upped my Mom-game: “GET. INTO. THE. CAR.” I hissed as I strong-armed him into his buckles.

My son didn’t miss a beat: “This isn’t a car,” he yelled, “It’s a ROLLING JAIL!”

I laughed the whole drive home.

****

I’ve been slowly making my way through the one year devotional based on Dallas Willard’s Hearing God. Yesterday’s entry was based on Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to God.

As if often the case when reading in the morning, my eldest had slipped under my arm and was reading the Bible with me. I read the verse out loud and thought a moment, before saying to her: “I think we do this most regularly in the car, don’t you think? I think that’s the place we most often talk about what we’re learning, and it’s definitely the place where we do the most singing.” (Note to the reader: we’ve had Seeds Family Worship albums playing on repeat for pretty much five years continually now. And I’m still not sick of them.) My daughter agreed: yes, the minivan probably was the place where we heard and sang Scripture most regularly, and after more than five hundred repeats of those CD’s… the words are carved deep into our subconscious… which sounds like letting it “dwell in us richly”, don’t you think?

And all of a sudden my son’s hilarious words from the farm flew back into my memory, and I thought a new thought about our minivan and its unexpectedly prominent role in our spiritual formation:

It isn’t a car… it’s a Rolling Church.

And that thought kept me laughing the rest of the day.