Tag Archives: gideon


Mom, who is that guy?

(We are watching football.)

MOM. Who is that GUY? With his arm up? Who is that white guy?

(I blink quickly but do not move.)

That guy is the quarterback. He throws the ball to the other guys.


Well, who’s that black guy?

The what?

That BLACK GUY! What does he do?

(I physically flinch. I am not ready for this conversation. I reach in my mind for conversations from my childhood to guide me, but there are none. NONE. Sixteen years of military dependency, and most of that isolated on 2 small bases overseas, offered plenty of opportunities to discuss country politics, rank, and branch loyalty. But color? Everyone was the same color: green camo. It’s not an excuse, but it explains why I am unprepared on a Saturday afternoon to talk about this particular brand of diversity with a four-year-old. I am simply not ready.) 

He’s the receiver. He catches the ball the quarterback throws.

(I watch him as he tilts his head.)

I don’t like him. He’s weird.

(And here, my heart sinks.)

Gideon! Bud. He’s not weird. God painted us all kinds of different shades of colors in this world. Sometimes it tells us what country our family is from. Sometimes it tells us we’ve been in the sun too long. But someone’s skin never tells us anything about whether they’re weird or smart or scary or nice or anything like that. Do you understand?

It’s his SKIN?!


Why God did paint him like a zebra? That’s WEIRD.

(I look at the game again. I walk up to the tv and point.)

Are you talking about this guy? In the stripes? 


That’s the referee, Gideon. He makes sure everyone is following the rules.

Yeah. He’s weird. I would NOT want to be him.

Well, I think a lot of people agree with you, Bud.

And I don’t want to be the white guy, either. 

Who do you want to be?

I want to be the blue guy. 

(I look at the game again.)

You want to be on the team that wears the blue pants.

Yeah. They’re awesome.

Not the white pants… the “white guys.”


YOU’RE awesome.

I know. And I am FAST, Mom. So fast.

There will be more conversations, I know… about weight and race and railroad tracks and religion and faith and tattoos and all those millions of feelings (learned or innate or bestowed) we must individually filter and hold up to the Light throughout a lifetime in the broken world. There will be so many more conversations. 

Please, Lord, remind me to ask twice as many questions as may be obvious, to listen more than talk, and to be thankful for the dialogue. And, please- when it is time… every time… give me words that build and expand, not diminish. Give me actions that care and affirm my words. And give me a heart that is not afraid.

Prejudice is a learned trait. You’re not born prejudiced; you’re taught it. • Charles R. Swindoll



I do so very much love my children.

I returned home from four days away and found all three of them pressed against the screen door, waiting for me. Rylie pushed the door open and stood on the top step with her arms outstretched and legs wiggling. I think she was humming. It was very sweet.

Gideon reverted to his dog impersonation, which is his go-to overwhelmed expression of love. He paused long enough to hug me around my neck and whisper, “I did miss you long time, Mom.”

Awww. Me, too, Buddy.

Now, Abby June… that girl. She hung back. When she finally made it out onto the steps she hopped up and down, which is two-year-old for PICK ME UP… so, I did. She sighed and kissed my cheek. Sighed and kissed me again. And then she buried her face in my neck and mumbled, “I did draw on your cabinet.”

The other two dropped the heads in defeat and marched back inside.

Now, I had been warned. I knew there had been a major incident that morning involving all three children and a permanent marker. Standing in the Atlanta airport listening to Curt’s brief run-down, I secretly rejoiced. IT IS ABOUT TIME this kind of stuff happened on his watch.

Oh, y’all. I had no idea.

The kitchen table was stacked with toys scarred by a fat, black Sharpie. Trucks and wooden blocks and matchbox cars and magnets. Rylie’s work was clear… her name scrawled across wooden blocks left no room for denial.

Gideon was a little more subtle, though it surely took more work to color entire vehicles. It could have taken weeks to notice the orange and red and blue cars that were now black… but the child forgot to color the BOTTOMS of them. No coat on the undercarriage. Rookie.

Abby’s contributions were the most traditional and the most painful. My beautiful vintage cabinet. Rylie’s door. The wall leading down to the basement, now graced with a single wavering line about 18-inches high.

I took it all in silently.

Curt made sandwiches.

The children… sat.

I turned around and put my hands on the island.

“Wow,” I said.

“You are mad?” Gideon asked.

“Take toys away?” Rylie offered.

“Well, I don’t know yet. Dad and I will have to talk about it together. I just, I don’t know guys. I honestly don’t know what to do.”

From the corner of the kitchen came a tiny but sure voice as Abby explained, “Dad already did give me a big spankin.’ He did.”

“I will take that into consideration. Thank you, Abby. Seriously, though, guys. What were you thinking? Rylie, you know better! Abby? Gideon? What in the world?”

Their Disney eyes grew wider than usual in silence. And then Gideon dug deep.

“God did tell me to do it, Mom. God did tell me to draw on my cars.”


While I do not question my son’s potential prophet potential, we are now accepting all forms of ideas for a consequence for the above described childhood vandalism. We’ll deal with the ‘messenger’ situation another time.

put me in


I have a question for you, he says, and I cannot help but smile. This boy who mixes tenses and verbs and syntax often sounds like a little man now. I hate it, but I love it.

What’s your question?

You wanna pway dis game I did make?

Yes, I do.

Ok. I have all the stuff. Come outside.

And I follow him.

He has 2 wiffle balls, a padded Detroit Tigers bat, medical gloves, and a plastic machine gun lined up on the lawn. I am directed to stand a ways off.

You gonna throw the ball for me, AT me. I gonna hit it. Den, after I hit it I gotta run run run run run run run around back to my gun. And den I haffa shoot the sprocket.

The target?

Yeah. The sprocket. 

And what do I do?

You haffa get the ball a’fore I get to my gun and shoot the sprocket.

Is this like the biathlon we watched? With the skiing and the shooting at the Olympics?

I watch as his face breaks out in unmistakable joy.

YES. ‘Cept us don’t have any skiis. Or snow. Or glasses. Ok? You got it? You ready? I’s gonna hit the ball.

Y’all. I played this game for an hour yesterday and have the bruises to show for it. That kid can turn a wiffle ball in a missile… and don’t worry about his form. He hits just fine. He also runs like he stole somethin’. I just… I’m just so tired.

But I know the time is coming when his speech will even out, when he’ll be able to start his bike on his own, when he won’t ask me to play scary biathlon with him anymore. Right now, I am the starting pitcher on his team and I plan to be at every game.

I’m going to need some body armor.


[Bottom right? That’s his game face. The machine gun is behind him. Top right? I pitched 2 high balls in a row. He was considering calling the bull pen but realized I was his only option.PLEASE do not miss the medical gloves on his. These were KEY.]

It was a dark and stormy night.


I’m not sure how much he heard.

I know that his father and I were talking at dinner, for once completely lost in adult conversation and leaving the children to decipher appropriate portions and peace for themselves. I know that this never happens… this us being able to talk without something spilling or someone having a pint-sized crisis.  I know that I was fired up.

I was grasping for the logic that Curt relentlessly offers, but there was none this night. We found ourselves surrounded by friends and family in dire straights: deadly illness, crippling spirituality, lack of community, lack of counsel, lack of direction. Where is etiquette manual for being surrounded by marriages falling apart? How do you pray for a family who has lost a child? Is there a right way to love a liar?

And the big question that night… the house of pain: where was the CHURCH? The church whose doors are always open? The church not at conferences but at home behind heavy, solid doors and firm foundations? The pastors who minister to those in need not those in want? The body that stands rooted in faith and united in hope? The choir that sings from above and behind, not in front and under lights? If help cannot be found in the church, my God, where are we supposed to go?

What do you do when the Temple has turned to rubble and the city is deserted? Where are the wise men? Where are the women willing to spill their perfume? Is there no one who can stay awake for simply one hour?  We have left Christ standing alone on the water, yet we are surprised to be drowning.

Near angry tears, I whispered, “It’s broken. It’s a mess and it’s broken.”

I scraped my plate and refilled my glass.


“Is broke, Mom?” a little voice piped in.

I looked up, surprised to find myself still in a home and surrounded by children.


“What’s that, Bud?”

“Ours church is broken?”


“Us needa fix it, Mom.”

“Yeah, Bud?”

“I can help. I can help you fix it.”


If I hadn’t been choked by tears, if I hadn’t been swept off my feet, if I didn’t so whole-heartedly believe him, I would have told him a ladder would not do the trick. That it’s not the 4-year-old kind of broken. That it’s deeper than saying you’re sorry.


Thank goodness I had no words.

Yes. You, Child, you must help.


We’ve made such a mess. Let the children come.

I’m not sure how much he heard.

But it was enough.


I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done. – Ernest Hemingway


[Happy Birthday today to my boy… my tornado of awesome. You are a PRINCE!]

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. [Ephesians chapter 1, verse 18]

My usual stories with words will be replaced by daily stories with photos for the days of Lent. You see, I’m trying to look for Lent this year instead of waiting for it to find me.

:: resources and readings ::

Jesus Calling Lenten companion by Sarah Young

Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey by Catholic Sistas

Beneath the Tree of Life Lenten devotional by Michelle DeRusha

Holy Lens Lent-stagram project by Survive Our Blessings

daily lectionary readings

Lent and Easter devotions from Bible Gateway

family Lent devotional from Ann Voskamp


my little man


Mom. Jesus did walk on the water.

Yeah, buddy… he did.

Mom. Jesus did take his friends fishing in the boat.

Yeah, buddy. What else?

Jesus did go fishing and the waves did get big big big. The storm came and the boat did tip tip tip tip tip over. And Jesus did tell the storm to BE QUIET!!! And Jesus did get out of the boat and walk home.



Your friend is here, and he is sad. He will not get off the couch. He will not look at us. He will not talk. You spend fifteen minutes on your knees next to him on the couch, looking up into his face. “You sad? You want mines trucks?” And then you gave him all of them. “You sad? You want a snack?” And then you piled chips, grapes, and a can of tomatoes in front of him. “You sad? You need a hug?” And then you leaned in and patted his back. When nothing seemed to work, you turned to the coffee table covered in train tracks and matchbox cars. “You watch.” You said. “I stay here until you feel better. You feel better, you come play wif me.”

And here I thought I’d need to teach you how to be a good friend.

Turns out, I have a few things to learn from you.


You are exhausted and you will not nap. It is quiet in the house and I get you to lie down with me on the bed while I read and Abby naps downstairs. You talk to yourself for a bit and then I feel you put your hand on my shoulder, as if you need to tell me something but don’t want to interrupt me. I look up from my book and you… you are asleep, your hand a tether to me.

And we do not move for two hours.



Mom, Jesus did go away?

He did, bud.

Where Jesus lives?

RIght now he lives in heaven with God.

Him coming back?

Yep. He is coming back.

Him need to get his boat back from his friends?

Yes. Yes, exactly.


Dear Gideon,

You are my favorite boy.

I love being your mom.

Love, Me



postcard from Texas • Tuesday

This kid and this tractor (a John Deere 110, for those of you who need to know)… this kid and this tractor are inseparable.

He drives it- alone- all day, every day. He hooks up the wagon, hauls hay, unhooks the wagon, starts it up, circles the house, shuts it off, starts it up again… this boy is on fire.

Please, to remember.

gus man

You shuffled up to me with your head hanging down.

It was only yesterday, but I will remember it forever. You don’t shuffle. Usually, you fly. Or bounce. Or slide or crawl or leap. This time, you shuffled up to me… almost quietly. I was sitting on the floor, reading. Abby was napping and you were playing cars. I only wish I could spell this conversation out phonetically so others could “hear” you. Your language and voice have a raspy magic that transform ordinary moments into memories.

Mom, you said with a bit of sad in your voice, Me growing down.

You’re growing DOWN, Bud? Whaddya mean?

Me growing down.

[I set my book down.]

Say it again, Bud. I don’t understand.


Oh, but you are, Gus Man! You ARE getting big! I can tell by your shoes and your chair at the table and your seat in the car. You ARE getting big! It’s slow, but you’re changing… you’re growing UP every day.

[You panicked.]

ME NOT WANT GET BIG! Me want to grow down!

[And you leaned into me, wrapped your arms around my neck, and buried your head in my shoulder.]

Oooooh. I see. I see. You know, growing UP is not really something we can change OR stop. Mom’s still growing up, too. It’s just how God made us. We grow up not down. We get bigger, stronger, taller. We learn more and play more and visit fun places. Do you like being little? Don’tcha WANNA get big?


Why, Bud?

Me want to stay here with mom. Me growing down.

[Here is where my heart nearly broke in half… honey, you were so serious.]

Oh, Buddy. You will always be my best guy. Even if you grow up, even if you go to school, even if you get in trouble, even if you get mad at me, even if you move away… you will always be my best guy. So don’t be afraid to grow up. Think of all the things you’ll be able to do when you get BIG! What do you want to do when you get BIG?

[And you waited. You were not completely sold. But you were thinking.]

[And you leaned back without letting go and looked me in the eyes. Slowly, a grin spread across your face.]

Me get big, ME DRIVE!

[Heaven help us all.]



Wednesday’s vacation postcard

The Mulders are making their way through Maine with a mini-van, a trailer, and a tent. Let us pray for the Northeast, amen? There’ll be a postcard here each day this week.


My children.

Not a sane one in the bunch.

kids collage

Tuesday’s vacation postcard

The Mulders are making their way through Maine with a mini-van, a trailer, and a tent. Let us pray for the Northeast, amen? There’ll be a postcard here each day this week.


When you are dancing or just living life in general, please have this much gravel in your shoes.


(found in Gideon’s shoes while at the concert pictured yesterday)