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encourage

This isn’t going to be a long post today, but I wanted to write this down while I was thinking about it.

Yesterday, I wrote my post to Bluebelle about being six. (One of the reasons why I don’t post as much anymore is because I want to get away from writing kid-centric posts. They are getting older, and I want them to be able to own their own online lives and protect their identity as they grow. Trust me, I would love to post the million photos I have of their perfect faces, but I try to do that very sparingly and often you’ll notice I’ll use a side or back profile for that reason.)

Last night I was re-reading the post as we were laying down for the evening, and I felt it was important to tell her that I wrote about her and read the post to her. Partially because I desired for her to know that I wrote about her. She’s young, but she knows what it feels like to be embarrassed or be talked about and I don’t want her to feel that if she talks to me about something I’m going to go and tell everyone. More than that, however, I wanted her to hear the words I wrote about her.

It was hard for me to read it to her, but I did.

Why was it so hard? I tell her that I love her and that she’s awesome every day, but how often do we really say the words we feel about a person? Simple words of affirmation are easy for me. They are the “thank yous” and the “I appreciate yous” we say every day. It’s the deep down, “I see this about you and I celebrate it” that is so difficult.

After I read it to her, she was silent for a moment. Then I heard, “You said that about me?,” with a smile in her little voice. “You meant that?”

“I meant every word.”

These are the moments that build a person up, and I don’t think we do it nearly enough.  I know the struggle of learning who I am in Christ yet doubting it because of what the world tells me. When the people who are close to us speak to us the deep, encouraging words we need to hear, it helps reinforce within us the truth.

I can’t make anyone speak the words to me that I want to hear, but I can speak them to others. I can make speaking deep words of affirmation more comfortable. I would like to challenge you, dear friend, to do the same today. It’s a little hard and weird at first, but it will get better. You’ll never know how much you’ll impact someone with your kindness.

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Now she is six.

now you are six red dirt mama (1 of 1)

Now We Are Six

by A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

Now she is six.

Every day she is a testament to how my heart is walking around outside my body. She delights me as well as drives me crazy, because I see myself in her. Yet, I see so much better in her. She is honest, spunky, energetic, bright, creative, artistic, expressive, and tenderhearted. She smacks every other word when she’s trying to tell a story. She makes everyone laugh. I hope she never stops being true to who she is.

Right now she plans to live next door to me when she grows up, and I’m planning to hold her to it. As much as I would love that, I know she will become independent and not need me in the same ways she does today. My prayer is that she will always know I am her biggest cheerleader, and I hope she will indulge me by letting us talk on the phone every week!

I love how everything is magical to her.

now you are six red dirt mama (1 of 2)

Bluebelle,

I love how you dress yourself. I love your passion for glitter and wild patterns. I love how you deem something as “fancy.” I’m impressed by your honesty and the way you reconcile after a tense moment. You’re getting this whole adulthood thing already, and you’re only six. I love how you love the water and flowers and how you are the best big sister. I love that you love Jesus, and you’re learning more about how to love others. You’re reading now, although you don’t trust yourself as much as you should, and I can’t wait for you to realize that reading also tells a story. Once you unlock that world, you will be unstoppable. Never stop imagining. I can’t wait for this summer when I get to have you all to myself again!

I love you.

now you are six red dirt mama (1 of 1)-2

Never stop making me laugh.

now you are six red dirt mama (2 of 2)

You make us so proud. Stay six forever and ever, okay?

Love,
Mom

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moving forward red dirt mama (1 of 1)
No matter how much I try to freeze time, I can’t seem to make it work. It seems we are a people obsessed. We try to keep our faces young and our bodies svelte (I’m laughing because svelte is the LAST word I would use to describe myself!), and now that I am a mother, I want to keep my children in this beautiful age where I am still their favorite person in the whole world. I can put forth a valiant effort, but the seconds flow into minutes and the minutes quickly add up to years.

Already, my oldest is a hairsbreadth away from her sixth birthday. She has freckles and her limbs are now long and lean. She focuses on reading and writing, and she entertains herself. This summer, we will teach her to finally take the training wheels off her bike so she can ride freely up and down the sidewalks when we go for walks. I’m looking forward to the look of excitement on her face when she realizes she can do it herself, but I’m already aching over this milestone. One more step to independence.

As much as it aches me to see my children get older, I know that moving forward is good and necessary. I think we forget how to do that as adults sometimes. I had goals and dreams and friendships in my school years and even a plan up until I became a mother, but I never thought beyond it. My own six year old mind couldn’t fathom anything beyond this level of adulthood, and I spent about 5 years adrift and in a mini-identity crisis. It took a while to realize it’s important to continue to set goals and have plans that keep stretching me as person, wife, and mother.

In the Disney movie, “Meet the Robinsons,” Keep Moving Forward is the motto of the Robinson family. The father, Cornelius Robinson, is an influential inventor. His strength didn’t lie in the fact that he created new things, but in the fact that he learned that every failure and every misstep was a lesson in how to better move forward. We don’t stop thinking, creating, and learning when we become adults. I’m learning for the first time that I’m finally starting to know what I want to do with my life. It’s ludicrous to think that we are supposed to have it all figured out at 22. At 32, I’m just now figuring out that there are more opportunities than what I could fathom as a kid, and we can all have our own piece of the pie. No one has to step down in order for me to step up. I can own my space just where I am.

Moving forward means learning to ride without training wheels. It means identifying the training wheel areas of my own life, in experiences and friendships. Something may be good and needed at first, but we aren’t meant to stay in it. I need to ask myself, “Is this moving me towards something better, keeping me steady, or is it taking away from what needs to be done?”

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Everything has a season. Instead of mourning the end, I think we should focus on what we gained in the process. What moved us? Grew us? Stretched us? Caused us to be a little bolder, a little kinder, a little better? I know I have been riding on my own situational training wheels for far too long, and like my Bluebelle, I need to take my own wobbly steps towards moving forward. I’ll probably scrape my knee a few times, and it will feel a little impossible, but the feeling of the wind in my hair and the exhilaration of doing it is worth it.

Are you moving forward? What do you need to let go?

March 2014 - Red Dirt Mama (1 of 16)

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