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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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The Inaugural trip

Two weeks ago, we bought our first brand new vehicle for our family. We crossed over into minivan land, a glorious world of tri-zone air controls and cup holders as far as the eye could see. We’ve never owned anything with less than 6,000 miles on it, and we loved knowing that it would be ours for at least the next 5-10 years.

This week we took the inaugural road trip with Odessie (That’s her name) to Arkansas to spend spring break with our families. We unloaded the car, left the kids with the grandparents, and we drove into town to buy some supplies. A storm was on the way, so Todd and I decided to take shelter and rest until the storm had passed.

At first it didn’t feel like we were going to get much more than some rain, and I was beginning to feel a little silly for waiting. Then some pea-size hail fell intermittently, and during that time, some women pulled up behind us in a minivan. One of them came to the car and told us that they cleaned the building we were at and needed to park there to get into the building. They kept circling and staying close and I began to be concerned that we were holding up their job and keeping them out in the elements. As the storm seemed minor, we decided to find different shelter …and then the storm really hit. Hail. A lot of it, and it was large. We were probably only caught in it for about 3 minutes while we found a Sonic to hover under, but it did damage.

After the storm had passed and our nerves had calmed slightly, we drove past our original shelter, where the women were nowhere to be seen. They lied. Honestly, that hurt far worse than the damage to our new van. I found myself ashamed, guilt-ridden for asking Todd to move, and angry that someone would take advantage of us. Every time I pass our van right now, I relive these emotions, and I hate it.

I know that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to be kind, full of grace, and in a ministry of calling people to him. I should put others before myself, and I should always strive to be a servant in whatever capacity I can. So what do we do when we feel we are being faithful to our faith and find ourselves feeling punished? How many times in my life have I thought, “God, I’m doing what you called me to do, why isn’t this easier?”

Yet I know I’m not called to have it “easy.” In this instance, it’s just a thing. A new, treasured, expensive “thing,” but it’s just stuff. I won’t have it forever, and while it will cost time and money to repair, it’s just money. Money we have right now, thankfully. We know what it’s like to be in need, and we know that while we’re finally in a place where we can breathe a little, it’s not even the tiniest bit important in the scheme of things. We know where our true treasure lies.

For me, my heart right now is wrestling with feeling violated, and I don’t like losing my sense of security. I need God’s help in teaching me how to forgive, not just them, but as a whole. I have secretly wished bad stuff to happen to their van… but that’s not the answer. I’m just being honest with you about my emotions.

I’ll tell you what I am thankful for. I’m thankful for Todd. For him keeping his head and keeping us safe. I’m thankful that when I was sure he would be so mad at me, he wasn’t. He looked me in the eye, and talked to me about how he was feeling, and reassured me everything would be alright. I’m thankful that he doesn’t hold onto things with an iron fist — he knows where true value lies. I struggle with that, growing up poor. I tend to get swept up in those details. Todd teaches me so much with his generosity. I’m also thankful for the period of time when we barely had anything. When we truly understood what Paul meant when he said, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

It’s just a van. It’s just stuff. Those women might have gotten their shelter, but I refuse to allow them to rob me of my emotions any longer. My security is in Someone far greater than anything or anyone else.

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