Some phases of life are “easier” than others. Right now, we’re in one of those remind-me-to-breathe times. I don’t know why.

But in the midst of challenges, I’m always grateful that rarely does everything crumble at the same time.

With five kids, usually one is dealing with something funky. It could be their own bad attitude and unwise decision making. OR it could be a situation that falls into the unfair category. Because, inasmuch as people travel behind our wake, we travel in the wake of others. And sometimes things beyond our control can pull us down.

It never ceases to surprise me – the way parents question ourselves in the midst of trials. We don’t tend to overly praise ourselves in the good. If your kid scores National Merit or makes the Club sports team they practiced so hard to make – we aren’t sending props out to ourselves.  … So why are we so quick to microscopically re-live every detail when life isn’t quite so smooth? We think back, wonder if, question decisions, worry about the future, and quite possibly fret.

I think that’s a waste of effort and mental capacity (which in my case is very limited :).

The other night at dinner, I saw something that I hope I remember for a long time. It’s something I already knew – but something that can get lost in the midst. It was a reminder to breathe.

While waiting for our food, the kids began to doodle.


I sipped my tea and I watched and I noticed –


each child, doing his/her thing. … Always up for a game, little Tic-Tac-Toe, playing …


the brother (you can’t see) next to Tic-Tac-Toe scribbling wildly :) …


a sister and her seascape (I can almost hear the kid repeating one of her all-time favorite phrases “Just keep swimming … swimming … swimming” while doodling) …


a brother who can’t turn it off (by the time our food came, he had filled every blank space in front of him with equations building off of each other) …

IMG_2654.JPGand another sister, playing with letters.  A future graphic designer maybe? I don’t know, but this is what she sees and thinks about most of the time. Her name is Lucy. Can you see it? She does – with everyone.

Oh my goodness … they’re all so different.

And I started to breathe.

And I asked myself … are you loving them well? Really loving them for who they are, not who I want them to be or think they ought to be or who society says they should be. But loving them for the special individuals they are. Am I helping each of them discover their unique gifting and building them up in that? Even when such gifting might take them down a road that could look a bit different than what I or everyone around me expect(s)?

Each child is gifted. (Some are gifts are easier than others.)

And each parent is gifted, too.

Gifted to love the children, with whom you have been blessed, like no one else can love and encourage them. Remember that. And breathe.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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