cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Did That Really Just Happen? (Parenting Edition)

Welcome to another installment of *trumpet fanfare*

Did That Really Just Happen? (all-new Parenting Edition):

1. I spent 45 minutes detangling knots from a precious little noggin...and it wasn't Sophia's.*
2. I washed my face with hair butter.**
3. Timothy caught me scarfing a chocolate muffin out of a cereal bowl (I used a spoon and everything -that's an elaborate guise). The girls, however, were none the wiser.
4. I have horrified my children as only a mother can. At their insistence, I tried on skinny jeans. That'll teach 'em.***
5. Last night was "Presidents Night" at AWANA. I slapped a tie on my daughter and told her to hold up bunny ears. She was the only kid who went as Nixon.

Keepin' It Real,

*What exactly do nine year-old girls do to their hair?!?
**Now my chin hair should be silky and lustrous. Thank you for noticing.
***In other news, we're accepting donations for future therapy sessions for our children.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why "28 Ways To Connect To Your Spouse" Is Not As Attractive As "28 Ways To Connect To Your Child"

I've found that people are much more receptive to ideas aimed at improving their relationship with their children than with their spouse. Once the advice is for our marriage, we tend to skim the information. I'm guilty as charged. I look forward to reading a blogger's suggestions for parenting. I will altogether skip articles that tell me how to show love to my husband.


When we see advice for parenting, we see fun. When we see advice on marriage we see failure.

A list of 28 ways to connect with your kids is just icing on the cake, but that same list applied to your spouse acts as judge and jury. I go from being a mom brainstorming a list for parents, to seeming like a know-it-all wife who has it all together and is going to enlighten my poor readers, whose marriages are in shambles.

Stick tight with me for just a moment. This is practically the same list I provided for parents. I changed it up a bit, but most of our closest relationships require the same formula, tweaked to fit the individual. Don't stop reading. I assure you, I fail daily to heed my own advice. Just accept these as ideas from one flawed human to another.

28 Ways To Connect With Your Spouse:

1. Begin by learning their love language(s). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this book (or this one if you're of the male persuasion).
2. Whenever possible, make eye contact with your spouse when they talk to you, and likewise when you are talking to them. I know I'm guilty of rationalizing that Timothy understands I'm listening, even if my eyes are glued to the screen.
3. Touch often.
4. Google "obscure holidays" and every month pick one (or more!) to celebrate. Seriously. There are some ridiculous holidays crying out for a celebration.*
5. Watch your wedding video or look through your wedding album together.
6. Get silly. Play ridiculous games together.
7. Respect.
8. Don't hijack the family meeting from your spouse.
9. Go camping, even if it's only in the backyard.
10. Learn a new skill together.
11. Sometimes it's best to leave the dishes in the sink and have a good snuggle instead.
12. Read a book together (for our children, I suggested "Read a book under the covers with them". Unless you have a death wish, I advise keeping your head near fresh air...)
13. Genuinely apologize when you've wronged them. This is so easy if we accidentally bump their elbow; Not so much if we spew hurtful words in anger.
14. Listen wholeheartedly.
15. Pray for each other. Often.
16. Surprise them with undivided time with you (perhaps a date or weekend getaway).
17. Make up a story with the two of you as the main characters (Bwahaha! This was for the kids, but now that I see it in this context...).**
18. You initiate, instead of waiting for them to seek you out (ladies, we are notoriously guilty as charged.).
19. Laugh often and with abandon (we resort to funny videos on YouTube).
20. Affirm their value to your children.
21. Respect them when talking to family and friends.
22. Be vulnerable.
23. Forgive more.
24. Complain less.
25. Be trustworthy.
26. Encourage friendships.
27. Educate yourself on their interests.
28. In short, love deeply.

I'll leave you with the most recent video that had us chortling.

Laugh Lots And Love Much,

*This is not hard, folks. Yesterday was National Tortilla Chip Day.
**Just for the record: I would be laughing way too hard to give this a go.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Let Them: A Saturday Series

This first Saturday series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm meeting some of those things head-on and seeing what happens.

Let Them Give It Away

"I want to give this toy away."
I can think of a handful of reasons we should keep said toy. It was a special birthday present. It's still a popular toy in the house. You haven't had it that long.

Most of the time I let it go in the giveaway bag. None of the time have they regretted their choice. Here's the deal: I would rather train them in generosity than in hoarding treasures "where moth and rust destroy." If that means they give away something I'd prefer they keep, so be it. I'm more concerned with their character than the contents of their toy bin.

Just to make this blog post a little longer, I'll toss my "rules" below:
1. I oversee the process. When they were younger, I gathered the toys I preferred to never lay eyes on again and invite them to choose 2-3 to donate.* As the kiddos mature, I loosen the leash. Now, Miss CEO almost has free rein in the donating arena.
2. If a strong majority are in favor of donating a specific toy, I will set it aside and see if the holdout notices the missing toy. If a couple weeks go by with no questions asked, in the bag it goes.
3. If only one child is in favor of donating a specific toy, it stays.
4. You may not donate your sister's toys.
5. There are about a dozen Non-Negotiables. These are family heirlooms, and they are free to donate them when I'm dead.

Chances are, six months from now, none of you will remember what you donated. So give it a go; Fill a bag with your kids and trot over to Goodwill.** If you miss your junk that much, go visit it on the weekends.

These are a permanent fixture in our home.

Filling A Bag,

*When it starts looking like the toy counter at Chuck E Cheese, something's gotta give. Can I get an "Amen"?
**Contribute to the bag and you'll be doing that whole "lead by example" thing. Sometimes it smarts, but in the end you're more blessed than before.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

28 Ways To Connect With Your Child

Since February is the Love Month (or so I've heard from hopeless romantics), I figured I'd share a few ways to show love to those ankle biters who keep calling you "Mom". 

1. Begin by learning their love language(s). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this book (or this one if you have older kiddos).
2. Whenever possible, make eye contact with your child when they talk to you, and likewise when you are talking to them.
3. Hug often.
4. Google "obscure holidays" and every month pick one (or more!) to celebrate.*
5. Watch home videos together. **
6. Get silly. Play ridiculous games together.
7. Climb in the fort with them.
8. Have family meetings and include their thoughts and opinions. Better yet, let them lead the meeting now and then.
9. Go camping, even if it's only in the backyard.
10. Learn a new skill together.
11. Sometimes it's best to leave the dishes in the sink and have a good snuggle instead.
12. Read a book under the covers with them.
13. Genuinely apologize when you've wronged them.
14. Listen wholeheartedly.
15. Pray for each other.
16. Surprise them with individual time with you (even if it's nothing more than staying up 10 minutes later than the rest of the kids).
17. Make up a story with the two of you as the main characters. ***
18. You initiate play, instead of waiting for them to seek you out. 
19. Laugh often and with abandon. 
20. Affirm their value in the family. 
21. Ask permission to relay anecdotal stories about them to your friends/relatives. 
22. Be vulnerable. It's OK if our children see our imperfections (keeping in mind age-appropriateness).
23. Don't share behavioral woes with any more people than necessary, and definitely not when your child might hear you.
24. Read to them (even if they can read independently).
25. Be trustworthy.
26. Just because they are young does not mean we are excused from respecting them.
27. Educate yourself on their interests; Learn the names of their favorite book characters, play their favorite Wii game with them, know their favorite band, etc.

28. In short, love deeply

Give It A Go,

*Does it get better than celebrating National Ice-Cream Sundae Day? Didn't think so.
**If you don't have any, get crackin'.
***Bonus points for illustrations.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear Adoptive Mom Who Chose To Disrupt

Dear Adoptive Mom Who Chose To Disrupt,

I want to begin by saying "I'm sorry". I'm sorry for every judgmental word or thought I've entertained towards you. I have not walked in your shoes and I only know snippets. I'm sorry for the criticism you've endured, to your face and behind your back. I'm sorry for every stone-faced greeting you receive in church. I'm sorry for the isolation that has been your life since bringing home your son/daughter. 

Making the decision to disrupt an adoption comes at a steep cost. If you're fortunate, those closest to you will understand and be supportive. I hope you have that. I hope you've found support from the moment you brought this child into your home. It's hard to be transparent when your adoptive child is difficult. After all. you don't want to cast a bad light on adoption. But people need to know that few parents do this on a whim; Most have agonized for months and exhausted every available option. You tried counseling (that was a joke). You poured hundreds of dollars into therapies and treatments, which provided temporary changes. You have placed him/her into institutions, but it doesn't last due to their violence. You were left physically, emotionally and financially broken. Through it all, you have looked into the eyes of a child you worked so incredibly hard to bring into your family. Perhaps you crossed the ocean to provide a family for this precious life. You certainly emptied a few pens of their ink, filling out endless paperwork. And now the paperwork continues as you, yet again, have to explain why you made the painful decision to disrupt. You feel as though the very paper and ink revile you. 

You are misunderstood at every turn. People commonly say snide things like, "I didn't know you could return them like a can of soup." or "Geez. The kid's already been through Hell. Why not dig the knife a little deeper." or "What part of 'parenting them as your own' confuses you? You don't just give them away when it's hard. You wouldn't do that to a biological child." None of those people know you. Please don't let them define you. You don't need further condemnation. You've already condemned yourself a thousand times.

Instead we need to be saying "I know this has been horrible for all of you. How is ________ (the child) doing? How are you doing? What do you need? How can I pray for you? Want to grab coffee next week?" 

So, sweet mama, I know there will always be a part of your heart intertwined with a child that is no longer yours. I know you feel grief and guilty relief when you see their empty spot at the table and wonder what else possibly could have been done. I want you to know that I'm doing my best to help others understand you are not a bad mom. Please tell me what else I can do. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let Them: A Saturday Series

This first Saturday series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm meeting some of those things head-on and seeing what happens.

Let Them Get Dirty

Idyllic images of children tromping through the grass, finding treasures, playing in the dirt, climbing trees. The tantalizing scent of freshly baked bread wafts through the house and you smile as you consider your little blessings. Your precious brood comes running for homemade chocolate chip cookies, and you smile sweetly as they race through the yard and open the back door with gusto, proudly clutching a bouquet of "flowers" picked just for you. You exclaim over their beauty, hugging the giver and inhaling the sweet scent of sunshine that has soaked into their pores. 

Oh, sweet summertime memories.

Even I want to climb into that picturesque scene.* Let me paint the scene that unfolds in our home:

It's melt-your-face-off hot, and everyone has been cooped up in the air-conditioned house. I smile sweetly at my children and remind them that dogs still poop in 120 degree heat, so here's a bag. Skedaddle. After mild protests, they procure a bag, don their flip-flops and head out the door. In ten second flat they have cleared the yard and are ready to head for cooler temperatures. I open the back door to encourage them to play for a while longer on their flaming torch swing set. The most unpleasant scent assaults my nostrils as I realize they have deposited a bag of sun-baked dog poop right by the back door. They whine, and in a moment of desperation I suggest turning on the hose. Their eyes light up at the prospect, and they are back out the door in a flash. I smile smugly that I am going to have at least ten minutes to sneak chocolate read my Bible. Two hours later, I hear excited shouts from the yard. Disposing of chocolate wrappers like a pro, I saunter outside to see what my little angels have been up to. Suffice to say that if mud were the only life-sustaining source left on the planet, my children were going on nine lives. As was the side of the house, their clothes, the patio...forget trying to find their shoes; Those are sunk in the bog that became our backyard. 
The internal dialogue goes something like this:
I just mopped three days ago. How can I prevent the tracking of grass and mud into the house? I'm gonna have to treat all their clothes for stains. They'll have to take showers right away, which is going to throw off our whole evening schedule. 
I'm thankful those were mere thoughts and not words spoken to my children. One look into their shining eyes told me it truly was all worth it. Three of my girls were planted in the middle of their mud sculptures, excitedly sharing the details from their imaginations. There was no "tromping" into the house. I hosed them off best I could while they continued to chatter on about their muddy adventures. I laid down some grungy towels and they did go straight into the shower. Fifteen minutes later they emerged with only dirty fingernails as evidence of their afternoon excursion. My floors survived. And while there was only store-bought bread with Skippy peanut butter for a snack, the vote is unanimous:  MUD has made it into the Summertime Memories Hall of Fame. 

Mamas, let them squish mud between their toes, get dirt in their ears and sand in their shoes. I've learned that children, clothes and floors are washable.

Off To The Park,

*I'll fist bump Mary Poppins while I'm there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hopeless (un)Romantic

That's us.

Every morning of our honeymoon, we asked God to send someone our way who needed encouragement. Without fail, we'd go all day without any encounters. Every night in the jacuzzi, someone would bare their souls to the starry-eyed newlyweds.

We went out on Valentine's Day. 

Our first year of marriage we decided to try out this whole "Valentine's Date" thing (because that's what couples do). We went to a local brewery. The food tasted the same as it does the other 364 days of the year, and we ended up spending the evening talking to a homeless guy outside of the building.

One year we went out for Valentine's Day on the 13th.

Because they were running a special that day.

A few years back, we planned a romantic weekend getaway for our anniversary. We chose a gorgeous destination and booked the cheapest a quaint cabin. Imagine our surprise when we unlocked the door to find bunk beds, two twin beds and no bathroom ventilation.*

How romantic.

He buys me the closed flowers that bloom a day or so after delivery. I like them because it makes me feel like maybe I have a green thumb farther down the hypodermis layer. I like flowers, not because I think they are romantic, but because I feel accomplished if I get the suckers to bloom before they wilt.

No. We're not your ordinary brand of romantics. I'd like to think romance is unique to each couple, just as a snowflake floating on winter's breath is singularly remarkable in it's composition. If romance is a dance, some couples are a swingin' while some of us are awkwardly doing "the penguin waddle" and just hoping to avoid bruised toes. The steps aren't as important as the one with whom you share the song. Where ever you are on the dance floor, enjoy boogie-ing as only you two can!

Doing A Jig,

*That explains the chortling in the background when I called to make the reservation.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's The Little Things That Can Make The Biggest Difference

Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.
Proverbs 16:24

Who doesn't appreciate an encouraging word? 

That's what I thought.

The problem is I'm socially challenged when it comes to accepting compliments. It goes something like this:

Nice Person: I like your hair.
Me: Oh, uh, *snort*. Yeah, I grew it myself. Um.


Nice Person: I liked your blog post about________.
Me: Thanks.
Cue crickets chirping as Nice Person realizes I'm much funnier on paper.*

I'm not an easy person to encourage, and yet people persist in doing so. Every day someone takes the time to cheer me on, and bring a smile to my face. This forced me to consider, how often I intend to do likewise for others, but never quite get around to it. I make time for all sorts of shenanigans, but writing a quick note to a friend, or calling up someone just to say they were on my heart rarely makes the top of the list. 

I'm issuing a challenge to myself and hope you'll join me. Let's see if we can't manage to encourage at least one person every day. I'm not talking about telling your kid their art project looks nice. I'm talking about reaching out to someone whom God is prompting you to encourage. It might be someone you haven't spoken with in years. It might be awkward (it will be if they receive compliments like I do). It might not result in a Hallmark moment. But that's OK, because:

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.
Proverbs 25:11

Our pastor reminds us regularly that "It's always the right time to love", which means it's always the right time for an encouraging word.

Be A Blessing,

*It's true people. The jokes come a lot slower in person. Sorry to disappoint. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Let Them: A Saturday Series

This first Saturday series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm meeting some of those things head-on and seeing what happens.

Let Them Sacrifice

Let's face it. It's uber-easy to let cute, adorable little babies be the center of attention. Of course babies do require a lot of attention, but as babies become toddlers and toddlers become grade schoolers they need to step out of the center of the universe. Otherwise what we end up with is teenagers with entitlement issues and sadistic adults. I paint a bleak picture, but I don't think it's far off the mark. All these parenting books with titles like, "How to Raise Happy Children" kinda make me gag. Just a wee bit. 

I'd much rather raise children who have strong morals than children who have strong desires for more

It can be uncomfortable to watch your children make sacrifices. Sometimes they donate things you wish they would choose to keep. Sometimes you can do nothing to soothe the pain of rejection when their offer to help is rebuffed. Sometimes you may disagree with their method or perceived motivation.* Isn't the outcome worth the pain though? We need the next generation to know what it means to love others for the sake of the gospel. If they don't practice this as younguns, do we really believe it will spontaneously occur in adulthood? 

Of course, the best way to let them sacrifice is to model it in our own lives. Do our children see us justifying our way out of helping someone in need? Do they see us discussing with our spouse why volunteering is 'impossible right now"? If we're not in the business of loving others sacrificially how can we expect to pass the mantle to our children? Let's begin by reflecting on our own sacrificing!

With Lent right around the corner, it's a great time to kick start a sacrificing campaign in your home.** Here's a simple guideline for young kids:

Something that's lasting,
Something you eat.
Save up your nickels,
Or give up a treat.


Lasting. Considering volunteering your time, or doing weekly service projects with your kids. Visit a nursing home or help a neighbor. Do something of lasting value in the lives of others.

Eat. Decide on a favorite food to eschew during Lent (think cookies, pancakes or mac 'n' cheese). Older kids can fast from a meal with you, but obviously you need to consider this more carefully depending on their age. Or work this the opposite way: Eat a simple dinner meal to demonstrate what poverty-stricken children might eat in a day. 

Nickels. Let them choose a ministry to bless. Make a "Lent giving jar" where they can see their money adding up for a great purpose. Perhaps they would like to purchase an animal through World Vision. I mean really. How many kids get to say they bought ducks and rabbits during Lent? They'll start a whole new fad, and you'll be the cool parents and everyone will like you. 

Treat. Everyone enjoys their treat. For some it's pedicures. For others it's golfing. For kids it might be watching cartoons or playing on the computer. Give up a treat and instead allocate that time for diving into the Word or starting a new family devotion. Replace the treat time with kingdom time. You get the idea.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. I don't know about you, but I get excited about a generation that has been encouraged to sacrifice!

Trying To Lead By Example,

*Giving with wrong motivation is still a start and does help foster a habit of giving. 
**I'll take the guesswork out of it. This year, Lent begins on February 13th. You're welcome.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Is Your Calendar Screaming "Uncle!"?

There are a lot of people who claim not to try to keep up with the Joneses. I see one area that screams "Liar!" to almost everyone. Parents, go look at your calendar. Girls Scouts, soccer practice, karate class, ballet, chess tournaments, swimming lessons, basketball, Cub Scouts, music lessons, drama practice, field trips, AWANA, bible quizzing, spelling bees, and by the way "Mom, I'm supposed to bring 400 cupcakes to school tomorrow."

So, maybe your brand of busy looks different than the Joneses, but we somehow feel like limiting our children's activities will leave them ill-equipped for real life. We're concerned that we will be criticized for not letting our kids partake of an array of activities. After all, where else will they learn such valuable lessons found in said activities?

Common reasons for enrolling kids in sports: Exercise, discipline, respect, and learning to be a team player. Don't we want those qualities applied, not just to soccer, but also to our family? Why should they learn those attributes from a coach? Why not enroll your child in a sport because they are disciplined, respectful and have learned to be a team player within their family? His/her coach will thank you, and you can rest in the knowledge that your child is receiving reinforcement training in what you have already begun (while staying fit). The only way we can achieve this is if we are investing serious quality time in training our children, versus saying a prayer and crossing our fingers.

When hard times come who will our children fall back on? Their ballet instructor, sensei, football coach? It should be us, which means we need to invest more time in our family now and worry less about whether Sally learns what it means to be a team player from someone who barely knows her. 

OK, before you revolt and tell me I'm suggesting kids don't do anything. Ever. Allow me to say that there is nothing wrong with signing your kids up for something. I personally shudder at the thought of signing my kids up for more than one thing. Our oldest takes piano lessons. That's it. Are there other activities she eyeballs? Yes. After she fulfills a year long commitment to her piano instructor, if there is something else she would rather do, we'll see what can be done. So far, nothing else catches her eye more than the ivory keys, so piano it is! This accomplishes a couple of things: First, my daughter is still involved in an extra-curricular activity. Second, it allows her to focus on piano and see if she really likes it. If a buffet of activities is always in front of a child, they are never going to be able to hone their skills in anything that's on their plate.

Would it be hard to go cold turkey? Umm. Yes. Whittle it down slowly. Compromise with your kids. It's not about a specific number of activities. It's about what it takes for your family to be a team before any one family member is part of another team.

The Joneses can't beat that.

Listening To Some Rockin' Piano Playing,

Monday, February 4, 2013

You Know You Have A House Full Of Girls When...

A house filled with sugar and spice makes for some unique adventures:

1. We have an entire bucket dedicated to various combs and brushes.
2. Hair bows, flowers, clips and ponytail holders require their own zip code.
3. The decibel level gets exponentially louder at the sight of a harmless bug.
4. The decibel level gets exponentially louder every time Daddy arrives home.
5. The decibel level gets exponentially louder for no apparent reason.
6. Basically, girls are squealy.
7. Pink is it's own laundry load.
8. We get lots of sympathetic talks about what we're in for during the teenage years.
9. We get lots of sympathetic talks about wedding costs.
10. We get lots of sympathetic talks about boys and answering the door with a shotgun.
11. My husband gets sympathy no matter what.
12. Sparkles, dolls, and dress-up oh my!
13. Two words: Toilet Paper
14. American Girl and Nancy Drew books comprise half of their bookcase.
15. There is a steady stream of sewing or jewelry-making projects.
16. Their closet holds more dresses than their drawers do pants.
17. Painting nails is an outdoor sport.
18. Lip gloss, jewelry and purses are standard gifts.
19. We have a lot of lip gloss, jewelry and purses.
20. Amidst braiding hair, painting nails and playing with make-up, we make some of the funnest memories and have the best talks on the planet. 

I wouldn't trade this season of all girls for anything. Someday boys will enter this crazy family, but for now we are entrusted with these precious girls. We are called to guard their hearts, have awkward body talks and train the next generation of wives and mothers. We've enjoyed every season thus far and prayerfully look forward to the stages still to come.

Loving My Girls,

P.S. While writing this post, I got asked to do rag curls.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Let Them: A Saturday Series

Welcome to my first Saturday blog series! I was going to call it "Cynthia's Super Saturday Series Extravaganza!!!" but "extravaganza" doesn't begin with an "S" sound...

My Saturday Series will have a narrow focus and intended audience.* This first series is called "Let Them". There are so many things we just big, fat don't let our kids do. I'm going to meet some of those things head-on and see what happens.

Let Them Get Angry.

"But I Don't. Want. To. Wash. My. Haaaaaaaaaannnnnndssssss!!!" Each word is punctuated with stomps down the hall, followed by the sounds of angry hand-washing. Tell me you know what angry hand-washing sounds like? Water on full blast, slamming the soap down, grabbing the towel and leaving it on a heap on the floor...**


Feeling hurt by a friend on the playground and (two hours later) using unnecessary force when unloading the dishwasher. 


The oh so wonderful eye-roll and huffing to the bedroom.

And I'm not just talking about me. Ba-doom, ching!

OK, but let's be candid; most of us have lost our tempers. I've slammed cabinets in frustration. I've raised my voice when I should have taken a deep breath. I've given icy glares to those I profess to love the most. I've offered lengthy lectures over piddly things. It never resolves anything, but if I'm willing to be honest, sometimes it feels satisfying to get really angry over something. The trick is not sinning in my anger. 

Why would it be any different for my kids? 

We have a general rule: It's fine to be angry. It's not fine to sin in our anger, and you do not need an audience. Therefore, you can be angry in your room (or the garage or backyard*** if the room is occupied at the moment). We'll reconvene once spirits are calm. 

It's a timeout without a timer. Take as long as you need to gather your senses and give your initial anger over to God. Usually within five minutes the (formerly...or mostly formerly) angry party has returned to the living room and is ready to address not only their anger, but any accompanying sinful attitudes and actions (this is where I apologize for the towel-throwing and eye-rolling). We pray together and I encourage them to ask God for help. If it's me who was in self-sanctioned timeout, I treat the situation the same: I apologize for any wrong behavior(s) and pray with my kids. No one is berated for feeling angry. Ever.

God has created us with a beautiful array of emotions. We don't need to be afraid of anger. There is a function to anger (after all, righteous anger can spur us into action). If we're too busy combating the symptoms (e.g. temper tantrums), we miss the heart issue and the opportunity to help our kids navigate their emotions in a Godly fashion.

I'd be angry if my hair was that static-y too.

Comparing Prices of Punching Bags,

P.S. All photos were staged. No children were angered in the making of this blog post (despite Mikayla's convincingly angry expression).

*A nice way of saying "Some of you could care less, because you're in a different stage/place in life".
**Before parenting, I had no idea hand-washing could sound angry. Oh the things we learn.
***Now is not the time to suggest they do "backyard duty". Nothing good can come from angry kids handling dog poop.