Monday August 8, 2011

{for mothering on a monday}

I came out of the house one afternoon in search of Ben and Emma.
From the look on the people’s face in the driveway across the street,
and from their words about someone going to the ER that floated over within ear shot,
I followed their gaze to find my kids.

There they were..
Flying down the road!!

Ben on my bike, that used to be my mom’s, {yes, envision old lady’s bike here}
with a rope of some kind tied to the seat, pulled back and attached to the little red wagon at the other end.
Where there sits Emma. Hair blowing nearly vertical, eyes wide, face wild and freaked out…
enjoying every minute as the wagon wobbles and jerks from side to side, looking to spill at any moment!

And. neither of them wearing helmets!

Which my kids never did… sorry.
I know I won’t be winning any parent of the year awards for safety.
But here, it’s the law! Bike helmets until you’re eighteen~
to which Ben just stares at me like, “seriously, mom?”

And I’m not sure if the cops actually give tickets, but the neighbors do a good enough job of enforcing it.
As we quickly learned by about the second day here. ;)

So I stood watching my kids, as the neighbors watched us all.
And when they were closer I said loud enough, I hoped…
“Now where are your helmets, guys? You know you’re never allowed to leave home without them!!”

No. I didn’t really say that.
I did say something about them needing to have their helmets on.
And yes, I’m not knocking helmet wearing. They really should.

But as we walked into the house I jumped onto Ben much harder than I should have.
After all, he and Emma were simply just being kids…
doing something crazy. riding fast. concocting fun out of what they had.
And the helmet thing is new for them.
They’re learning to remember to wear them.
Just like I’m learning what’s recyclable and what’s not. ;).

And it was about halfway through me going off about it all that I stopped and realized what I was doing …
I think it was the genuine look of bewilderment on Ben’s face for getting in trouble for something he didn’t have a clue he was doing wrong,
and I stopped talking mid sentence, reached my hand out and put on his shoulder, as I dropped my head.

“Oh, buddy… I’m sorry. I’m not upset because you were doing wrong, or because you weren’t wearing a helmet…
I was totally just worrying about what the neighbors are going to think.
That I’m a bad parent, that you’re an out of control kid, that we’re the crazy Americans, or whatever…
will you forgive me?”

And I know that’s not the first time I’ve “parented for others.”
Based decisions on being afraid of what people will think, instead of how God’s leading me.
It’s so easy to do, so human, to want others to think well of us.
But I was reminded that afternoon at what cost?
To wound my son because of a nosy neighbor who doesn’t even wave back when I wave?
To put more stock in someone thinking I’m a good mom, instead of making sure my kids know that I am.

As Jim Elliot said, “who you are at home is who you are.” love that.
If we’re going to “worry” over what others think of us, we should be worrying about it there. :)

I especially saw this whole area surface big time in my heart when we first began talking about Kate and Ben going to public school…
Feeling all my home school friends would think we’ve moved to Canada and backslidden. ;)
Maybe I’ll write more about our decision with all that at some point.

But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what people think..
it matters only what God and those closest to you know!

And it’s okay if everyone’s not always okay with what we do, how our kids act, or decisions we make.
God leads others differently, simply because we are all different, but also to test our faith~
to see if the love we’re supposed to have as His children is truly based in Him or ourselves. 
fleshly love can only love those who believe and do just like us, or what we want.
spirit filled love simply loves – with no conditions. 

Christians get so caught up in proving whose way is the right way –
when really we need to be looking only at THE ONE WHO IS THE WAY!
And as we do that, give others the freedom to also.
Realizing that God does not fit into anyone’s box of how we think He should work..
He is personal and intimate and deals with our hearts the same.

And I want my kids to know that they can trust Him with every detail of their lives,
and see that trust being demonstrated before them in how I live…
by whether I choose to follow His voice above any other. 

I know I’m not going to get it right all the time.
Most days I haven’t a clue what I’m doing with all this parenting stuff anyway.. 
but I’m glad to have a Heavenly Father that my kids and I can go to together.
Who promises to give wisdom when we ask, help when we need it, and bucket loads of mercy for every moment!


I first read this last month, and again yesterday when a friend linked it on facebook.
It’s so good! and convicting. 

“Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.”

::full article here::

this sentence stood out to me the most, “live the gospel in the things that no one sees.”


and a friend wrote this recently…

“I used to do things just because other people that I admired did them.  Hmmmm.  I didn’t have the security to do something different because I felt it was best for US.

That’s not all bad. . . I did some things right because of it.  But I also did things that didn’t “fit” me or my marriage or my family.  I tried to be “like” other moms or families without thinking about whether or not it was something that the Coach and I really felt was important for US.  Without realizing that my strengths and weaknesses are different than anyone else’s.

Because we aren’t anyone else and what works for you may or may not work for me.”

::the rest here:: { check out more of her blogs- i love her heart!}


I’ve seen some of the most spectacular wildflowers here this summer.~

I started pulling over by the side of the road whenever I would spot them and take pictures, if my camera was with me.

These were some of my favorites. just growing crazy in a field.

spring in canada~ 506

spring in canada~ 502

spring in canada~ 516spring in canada~ 509

spring in canada~ 531spring in canada~ 529


Already it’s been a bit nutty here this morning, with lemonade spilt everywhere..
sick husband home from work..
a few arguments to break up..
listening to kate practice her French flashcards {required when she goes to school!}..
and working on peeling the wallpaper off in the bathroom between all that..
finally stopping to just blog a little instead. ;)

I admit I’m finding myself extra anxious for this day to end.
Not because of the craziness though… because my family is on their way!!!
They’ll be here tonight and I’m so looking forward to the week ahead with them.!

You can’t see it, but I’m smiling.
…and I also have pieces of wallpaper stuck to the bottom of my feet you can’t see either! ;)

Time to get back at it here.~

Happy Monday-ing.

·´¸.·¨) ¸.·¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·´ (¸.·¨¯`♥ amber

29 thoughts on “Monday August 8, 2011

  1. Missionfieldof5

    Lupines….love the pinks…I have only seen the blue before…I love seeing flowers in natural habitats as opposed to in the gallon size cans at the nursery…those little beauties would fetch about 4.99 apiece here in the states…..just observations of a retired Wholesale worker in the nursery industry…lol…

    I enjoyed your thoughts this morning and those shared from the other posts. God Bless~~

  2. SpazzyMommy

    I totally know what you mean about “parenting for others”….its so great to see someone be honest about it. :)))

    I can totally see Ben and Emma on the bike and wagon….I hope she still has her little speech slurs….it’s always so cute when you phonetically spell out how she talks. My Sarah talked the same way…and I miss it. :)

    BTW- your blog about your living room TOTALLY inspired me to make some changes to my own living room! :)

  3. inanorchard

    “Christians get so caught up in proving whose way is the right way –
    when really we need to be looking only at THE ONE WHO IS THE WAY!
    And as we do that, give others the freedom to also.
    Realizing that God does not fit into anyone’s box of how we think He should work..
    He is personal and intimate and deals with our hearts the same.” Yes! YES! YES!

    I fall into the same trap Amber. Parenting out of fear, fear of messing up, fear of what others are thinking… it is such a precarious feeling. I don’t want that for my family. I so admire the honesty you showed to Ben. He will never forget that!

    The pictures of the field of lupine are so dreamy! I want to get lost in that field :)

  4. chulya

    i LOVE your honesty!!! YES! to resign to hurting our children for the gain of neighbors who don’t even wave!
    SO GRATEFUL for God’s Spirit…who puts everything into correct perspective for us!

  5. mytoesareblue

    one of the things we talked about this weekend on my retreat was how culture dictates so many things and how hard it is to get to know a new culture. I totaly hear you on worrying about what other people think, and trying to live before God in a way that honors him and not try to be influenced by the culture around us. it is sooo difficult to live for him and not slide into some of the comforts that this world seems to offer (at least that is what i find myself). i am glad that you have those friends on your street that keep you going and that you have those neighbors that you can be fond of and know that they see you as human and that you’re trying to figure out life just like they are! praise God for the impact that you are able to have on your neighborhood…and that God has brought you to this place, though i know its been a realy hard road. sooooo excited that your family is coming to see you guys. i know how much youmiss them and LOVE them..and how much the kids love spending time with them too. hope you and your mum get some time just the two of you, i know how important she is to you! love you Amber!

  6. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    Love the post! And I get the whole helmet thing. It’s safer, yes, but we never wore them! I think I’d have felt the pressure from the neighbors too. ugh.

    I’m so glad your family is coming for a visit! I know you’ll have a wonderful time.

    Those flowers are so pretty!

    My knowledge of Canada and the French language comes strictly from Kathy Reichs novels. Ha!

  7. Elizabethmarie_1

    Oh Amber… should’ve just moved here!!! I told you guys!!! =)

    I too have been struggling with a neighbor who really doesn’t like us.  She even facebooked about us!
    I wanted to respond in a biblical way and heap coals like God says to do in Proverbs. But when Jeff saw me walking across the street with a bag of charcoal he let me know that is not what the verse meant. ;) Hahaha!

    I actually went over and apologized for anything we had done. She had made some things up too and wrote about it. I confronted her about that and told her in a nice way I didn’t appreciate her lying on facebook. She said thank you for coming over and then I went home and cried. Why? Not because I was hurt, but because I was so bothered that someone thought badly of us.  It was more my ego that was wounded, not my feelings.  I had to get past worrying about what her and anyone else thought. And like you, I was mad at my kids when they didn’t deserve it, it was just someone being not-so-nice. 

    Thank you for the encouragement. You have some great things written in this post!
     Kids are kids…this doesn’t mean to let them do whatever they want or be out of hand, but they are still allowed to act like children!
    Your flowers are beautiful.
    Happy Monday to you. =)

    p.s. We don’t use bike helmets or sunscreen! Yikes! Put me into that bad Mom category too!
     I put helmets on my babies when I ride them in the bike seat…..but once they are on their own….they hate wearing them.
    Our helmets are in a big container in the garage.  I didn’t know there was a law regarding helmets anywhere! Wow.
    We have a pink one if you want me to send it up for Reese. ;)

  8. mlt10202002

    oh, amber! i have just been wrestling and wrestling with letting go of parenting because of others opinions…this post was as refreshing as a long drink of cool lemon water! =)

  9. appalolly

    #1 – That TOTALLY sounds like something my kids would do. And that neighbors (if I had neighbors close enough to see) would shake their heads about.  I often am “that Mom” that other Mom’s are looking at and saying “Does she SEE what her kids are doing?”  Mostly it doesn’t bother me.  It is usually related to safety type issues and I am just more relaxed than a lot of Moms are. I have been having this discussion with a couple of friends lately about how it has become “en vogue” to not let you children do anything where they might possibly get hurt and to hover and smother them and I am so not like that, nor do I think that I want to be. Anyway, different rant. But…

    also really, really appreciated what you shared about the idea of being an example of the Gospel and laying down our lives in the form of Motherhood. I have been thinking about that lately…how children and parenthood are coming quite looked down upon by society and how people complain so much about their kids (I have been guilty of this too, and still am) and I am becoming aware of how distasteful that can be.

    LOVED the pictures of the flowers. How beautiful are they?

    Excited for you that your family is coming to hang out for a while. That sounds wonderful!  Also, so very glad to have you back here in bloggy-land!

  10. ABAHM

    I think how you responded to the Holy Spirit and spoke to Ben is one of the biggest blessings of Christian parenting. We are leaning on God to help us parent, as we do make mistakes. I have thought about how blessed I am with where my boys are in their hearts and their relationships with God, and I know I have messed up, but God would show us areas,and that ability to say, “I’m sorry” or “I made a mistake” helps so much. Neat to hear how you listened.

    We are required to wear helmets here too, it is the law. I am surprised if I see kids without helmets. It’s kind of like seat belts, you just never forget, because you have to use them. Just explaining that view, as that is probably what your neighbors think. I don’t think someone is a bad parent. So the kids will learn.

  11. pettybunch

    I so enjoyed envisioning Ben pulling Emma down the street – I just loved your description of them.  My kids would have so done that, except we live amongst deep, sandy, dirt roads, so bicycles were rarely used.  Three wheelers (we were bad parents because we didn’t think 3-wheelers were evil) were used to pull any and everything, though!  My kids didn’t even wear helmets on those around our place – again, dirt roads and forest trails and basically no traffic.

    I love the lupines, also.  Bluebonnets are our state flower, so perhaps I’m partial.

    Have a happy, happy time with your family! I am with my Pammy right now, and will see my other kids in just a few days! Happy times, indeed!

  12. quiet_hearts

    I loved this post.  Thank you!   I especially needed those words under “Run to the Cross”.   Somedays when I’m so t.i.r.e.d. it’s easy to indulge in all the what-might’ve-beens instead of heading to Him for the rest & refreshment I need. 

    And thanks for all the good words about parenting to look good to others.  Your son will thank you, too, for the heart-felt apology.

    We are Canadian and not one of our six owns a bike helmet.  :)  But we live in the country and don’t get seen too often.  All the best in all the adjustments to a new country.  I read your posts and feel empathy with all the changes you face in your move.

  13. H0LDfast

    i can’t remember if i’ve said welcome back or not – so here i am saying it! so glad you’re back …. you did something different to your name, didn’t you? i was nervous for a bit you were really gone : )
    you’re a good mom. i’ve always admired how you’ve just been honest with your kids.
    good job keeping up with all the new laws – i thought of you the other night when our trash can was over flowing & needing to be smashed down to fit the rest in, thinking if we recycled like you have to we’d have tons more space : ) we’re not huge helmet people either.
    loved your living room pictures – i would have offered advice if i had any decorating advice to offer!
    enjoy your family! and good luck to kate & learning french : )
    happy tuesday.

  14. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    these kind of things that you write? i just love. the way you let God use you in the ordinary….it blesses me and challenges me tremendously. your family is there?!?! oh, i’m so very, very happy for you! i pray that you can enjoy and treasure each moment of the time you have with them to the FULLEST!

    the lupines are so beautiful! i wish i could get them to grow domestically like they grow in the wild there….

    and, one more thing. last night, i dreamt i was visiting you and your kiddos. i adored your kids in real life just like i somehow think i would… it was the kind of dream you wake up to and try to go back and finish….the funniest thing about it was? you kept your sunscreen in the fridge and whipped it out every morning and even had me slathering it on the kiddos before we went to? the train station. ;O) i have had some pretty amazing dreams come true in the past, so…. ya never know!! lol
    love you friend faraway!

  15. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    and, one more thing…
    neighbors and what they think of us, what they do to us?
    after surviving THEE worst week of neighbor relations in all of my adult life…i’m still at a loss. couldn’t get the reply button to work, but what Liz said above resounded loud and clear. it’s hard, so hard….

  16. Carsonsmom2

    Love this post! Seriously love it. Made me think, and I’ll have to come back and soak it all in again. That stuff about mothering really gets us, doesn’t it? You mess with a mama and we’re like an angry bear. ;)  I wonder how many times I’ve messed up and ‘parented’ because of who I was with….thanks so much for sharing your heart!

  17. rugbana

    “Christians get so caught up in proving whose way is the right way –
    when really we need to be looking only at THE ONE WHO IS THE WAY!”

    Loved that quote – you hit the nail on the head……

  18. redladybug18

    blogging sounds like so much more fun then peeling wallpaper! Been there done that :) Hope you’re having lots of fun doing it ;)
    So many good words of wisdom in this post…glad you’re back! It’s so hard to now care what others think. I find myself doing it more than I should. It’s hard to let go when it’s all around you. My pastor lately has really been hammering home that he’s not here to please man but to please God. It’s been just an example to me lately. The family I babysit for aren’t Christians and they really are all caught up in what others will think of their kids (how they look how they act etc.) when they go out-apparently it doesn’t matter at home :) Tonight I took the girls to meet up with their dad at a restaurant and one of them had brought their doll. One of the first things he said was why’d you bring your doll? Nothing like letting a kid be a kid.
    Those flowers, well the blue ones, look like our state flower, the bluebonnet, but yours are much taller and look like they’ve gotten lots of rain compared to ours that blue around april. :)
    Have fun with your family!

  19. down_onthefarm

    so glad that you are back! did i already tell you that? oh. well. some things are just worth repeating. :)

    parenting for others? check. done that…and STILL! waaaaay to often. still. don’t even catch on to my own heart and motives till after the fact. it usually shows up on the little and not-so-little-adolescent faces in my life. so what you wrote…such tender encouragement to this tired mom. thanks.

    hope that shayne is feeling better. and you. are you hanging in there? what a week with alot of cu-razy, huh? love to all.


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