Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"God doesn't make promises like that anymore."

It was Tuesday, March 8, 2011, my first full day alone with Wesley as a tiny baby. He was 15 days old. I can recall that specific evening with much ease. I had just given Wes a lavender bath (thank you Johnson and Johnson), had swaddled him up tightly (I miss that little glow worm) and I was quietly rocking him. There is something dearly sweet in rocking a newborn to sleep (as long as they actually go to sleep and they’re not wailing their head off). 

As I watched the sun go down through his window and the darkness began to set in, that sweet feeling very quickly turned to an unfamiliar mother’s unrest. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. There I was, brand new, no idea what I was doing, and it was my first day to be a mom completely on my own. It sounds silly, but I actually think I began to panic at that realization.

This next part sounds even more irrational as I write it down, but my mind began to race that night and I began to feel really unnerved thinking about someone getting him. We live in a very safe neighborhood (all of our neighbors are 60 years old or older, and yes, they check on us frequently, we LOVE our neighbors), I have a house alarm (on windows and doors) and a gun (a gun that won’t just stun someone, a real gun that would blow someone away… it is Texas), but for some reason I felt this overwhelming intimidation of being alone with this new little being. I had all these illogical thoughts in my mind… What if someone broke in and took him? What if someone grabbed him from a store? What if he stops breathing while I’m asleep? I’m all alone. It sounds ridiculous, but I was really scared and these thoughts were very real.

I also remember being so drearily fatigued those first two weeks, all night feedings, trying to sleep while he slept, while still maintaining a household for two. I was delirious.

As I sat there rocking Wes, I remember talking to the Lord in a sort of high anxiety complaint and told him how urgently I needed Him to speak to me that night. I don’t normally rattle easily, so I knew He was the only one that was going to be able to handle these unusual and unfounded feelings. 

I had Wesley cradled in my left hand in the rocking chair, so I grabbed my phone with my right and opened up my Bible app. (I remember I felt guilty that I couldn’t even get up to grab my real Bible, but I was literally so tired those first few weeks that moving while rocking a baby seemed too much at the time).  I also knew I didn’t have it in me to study the Word for hours that night, as drained as I was, so I just asked Him to give me some kind of hope, even just something small. When the app opened, the verse of the day was the first thing to pop up and this is what it said:

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8

And then came the Lord’s unimaginable peace. I knew this verse was for us. It was the Lord speaking truth over us. It was His promise to us. God was assuring me that He would take care of my son and me. We were not alone. Through the years, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt a similar panic begin to stir in my heart, though not as intense as that night, but each time God has brought this verse back to my mind. It brings that same peace that it did when Wes was just that small 7-pound little person in our rocking chair.

Now, fast forward to present day, Wes is six years old.  Last Thursday, I had already tucked him into bed and he called me into his room saying, “I’m scared.” As I went in, I asked him, “What are you afraid of?” He replied, “I’m afraid of getting kidnapped.”

I took a deep breath and decided to share this story with him. He listened intently and smiled when I was finished. He went to sleep. I figured that was the end of it.  I thanked the Lord for His promise again.

The next day, Friday, his dad brought him home and Wes asked me to play blocks by the fireplace. As we were building, he said, “Hey mom, I told my dad about being scared I would get kidnapped and I told him about the promise and Bible verse God spoke to you. I said, “Oh good, Wes.” Then he followed it with, “Yes, but my dad told me, ‘God doesn’t make promises like that anymore Wes.’”

And then he stared at me waiting for me to respond.

(The fury and rage that I have as a mom cannot be conveyed in any sort of godly word usage here. The flesh side of me can go to very dark places when it comes to protecting my child’s spiritual life. For now, we will leave that here.)

“Well, Wes, you listen to me. Our God does make promises like that. When you have Jesus in your heart, the Holy Spirit can speak to you. You don’t hear it in your ear, but you sense it in your heart. When you read His word, He does speak to you and when He speaks, it’s always a promise. God always keeps His word and He always keeps his promises. They are one in the same. He speaks Wes, and one day, He will speak to you too.”

I watched his countenance change. He had a physical relief, a small liberation from the lie his earthly father told him. He knew what I was saying was Truth and I’m well aware that wasn’t from me. God really does give children a hidden knowledge of who He is.

So, this Thanksgiving, here is what I am most grateful for:

My God is the Ancient of Days and if He said it long ago, it is a promise today.
If He spoke it to me on March 8, it is a promise today.
Even if Wesley’s own dad denies it, calls it lies, and tries to sway my son away from it… His promises remain.
No matter what anyone says about my Savior...

When He speaks, it is always a promise


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Kid Just Shot the FedEx Man, Like Literally an Hour Ago

This JUST happened.

So, about an hour ago, the doorbell rang at my parent’s house. Wes went to get it. I didn’t hear him come back in, so I went to check on him. The front door was cracked open about an inch and as I swung it open a little wider, I saw a large box on the porch…but then, I also saw a FedEx man bounding through our front yard, running for dear life back to his truck. Why, you ask?  Because my 6 year old was racing after him, right on his tail, rapidly firing shots at him with his brand new Nerf gun. Yes, this is my real life and that is really what just happened.

There. Are. No. Words.

Happy Thanksgiving from us, Mr. FedEx man.

Here you are…trying to make a buck for your family and you have to run into unrefined, unpolished little boys who clearly haven’t been taught their manners. Good heavens.

I looked down the road to see the poor soul down in the cul-de-sac turning around, understandably, so he could get the heck out of our neighborhood and away from all the outlandish happenings on Easterling Drive. 

Feeling mortified with the current plight, I decided my only option was to run into the street in my bare feet as Mr. FedEx was coming back up towards our home. I began bellowing to Wes, “Get out here in the street RIGHT NOW!” Wes knows “the bellow” well, so he quickly made haste to the street with me. I began flapping my arms hectically in the air at Mr. FedEx man and I told Wes to do the same. I’m sure it was quite a sight for the quiet, country community. 

Thankfully, Mr. FedEx had some sort grace in his heart because he slowed down his vehicle so that my (evidently uncivilized) little whippersnapper could talk to him.  He rolled down his window and Wes was able to say, “I was wrong to shoot you. Will you please forgive me?” Mr. FedEx man was so kind and replied, “Yes, I will, Buddy.”

Thank you Mr. FedEx man. We are so sorry and we hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. While you may not be thankful for us, we are very thankful for you. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

My Kid Won't Ride a Bike

My kid won’t ride a bike. He’ll jump off trees, swing from ropes, ride on zip lines hundreds of feet in the air across lakes without so much as a seat belt, he’ll laugh all through the iFly experience begging for more and he’ll ride every single adult ride they’ll let him on at Six Flags, but he WILL NOT RIDE A BIKE.

I began this all American endeavor when he was only 3. He was passed down a balance bike from his cousins and the first time I tried to get him on it, he just kept saying, “No! No! I don’t want to. Please no.” I tried EVERYTHING. I even sunk low enough to exchange goods and services with him. If you will ride your bike, we can go together around the block. Won’t that be so fun? “No.” We could take your bike down to Pops and Honey’s house and ride it. Pops loves to ride his bike. “Nope.” We could take it to the nature trails and ride it with Charis and Drew. “Uh uh.” Then my mom, Honey, even tried to intervene. “Guess what? Honey will buy you a new bike if you learn to ride one.” “NEVER!” Once he found the word, “never”, it was unending. From that point forward, at the slightest mention of a bike ride, he would shout, “Neveeeerrrr!” Think of the dog in Pavlov’s experiment. You ring the bell and the dog salivates. I mention the word bike, out screams “NEVER!” (Not exaggerating.) Wow. Okay. I was wrong to try to negotiate with the future dictator of America.

Nothing would suit this kid’s sensibilities.

Needless to say, he continued on his bike with training wheels.

After several years, when he was 5, I thought, “Okay, now, really now, he’s old enough, he will be ready.” I decided it was time for some tough love. I took the training wheels off and told him that if he wanted to ride his bike, he had to learn how to do it. “Time to gather your courage Wes! This is your time! The training wheels are gone. FOREVER. Don’t even try to ‘mom’ me on this one.”

I’ll show him.

He hasn’t tried to ride his bike since. He’ll be 7 in February.

Oh wait, you thought this blog would end with me telling you how we finally made it happen and how he is happily riding joyously through the neighborhood each day while shouting thanks to me for showing him tough love because the end result was so worth it?

I’m afraid there will be no miracles on 34th street this year.

Strong will anyone?

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Bad Day with a Huge Gift

Monday, November 13, 2017

6:45– I drag Wesley out of bed because he didn’t wake up bright and cheery at 6:15 am like he did on the WEEKEND, BOTH Saturday and Sunday morning.

7:00 – Wesley can’t find his uniform shoes. I scold Wes.

7:10 – I can’t find my keys. I feel guilty for scolding Wes.

7:15 – I walk out to the car to realize the keys have been left in the driver’s side door all night long. I huff.

7:20 – Wes and I leave for school late. I puff.

7:21– Wes finds uniform shoes in the car and proceeds to change from regular shoes to his uniform shoes while still wearing a seat belt.

7:30 – Wes and I exit the vehicle at CCA. Wes proceeds to say, “I left my lunch and my snack at home on the kitchen table.” I roll my eyes and let out a big, grumpy sigh.

9:15 – Wes comes into my classroom (while my class is gone) looking for a snack (since he forgot his at home), only to find that the emergency stash I normally keep for him is completely empty, so what does he do? He eats the last piece of chocolate in my drawer. He basically ate my sanity.

At this same moment, he decides that this is the perfect time to give my class a good prank. He switches around all of my student’s water bottles, so as my class gets back in from recess, all of their water bottles are on random desks and as every teacher would understand, complete and utter chaos ensues.

9:55 – Mrs. Stewart (Wesley’s’ teacher and dear friend of mine) can see that I might need some humor in my life, so she proceeds to tell me, “Guess what Wes said at prayer request time?” He raised his hand and when I called on him, he said, “Pray for my mom. She had a heart attack this morning.” He’s not that far off.

10:35 – Mrs. Stewart comes to visit me again, “Need another good laugh?” “I sure do,” I respond.  She begins, “As we were sitting on the carpet just now, Bobby told me that his chest hurt so I asked him if he took some medicine and he told me that he did indeed take some that morning.  Then Wes leaned over and said to him, ‘Well, don’t take too much medicine or else you’ll die like Michael Jackson.’” I am reminded once again that I love Mrs. Stewart and her strong will to find the sparkle in life.   

10:45 –Mrs. Stewart and I run to Tom Thumb while the kids are at PE to get a few things. I can’t find my purse during check out so Mrs. Stewart has to purchase my items for me. We get to the car to find that I must have left my purse somewhere inside Tom Thumb. Mrs. Stewart and I head back in to discover it was on the check out counter, two feet away from where Mrs. Stewart paid for me when I couldn’t find it ten minutes ago.

1:30 – I spill glue on my black skirt and on my black tights. I'm over today.

3:00 – I receive this email from Cindy Richardson in the finance department:

“Hi Lauren,

I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday. I have some news that I know will bless you! … I had an anonymous $XXX donation to be paid towards Wes’s tuition. I have applied this as I was asked so your new balance is…”

3:30 – I leave school crying because of this incredible, anonymous person and the beautiful way my day ended with them. 

Dear unknown donor,

You have been unbelievably generous. I know you probably have your own life, your own job and your own family, but you have taken a moment out of all of that to think of us.  We don’t know who you are, but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. While your faces are hidden from us, your goodness will never go unseen.  Whoever you are, I am so exceedingly thankful for you and your overwhelmingly kind spirit.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I want you to know I have prayed for you and your family and have asked the Lord to give you a double portion of the generosity you have shown Wes and me. We will never forget this compassionate act and will pray for you openly at our home even though we don’t know your name.

With all of our love, Lauren and Wes

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What is a sex shoe anyway?

Wes told my mom the other day that the garage was a “wrecking mess”. I’m not even sure what he meant to say, but that was obviously not it. It did take me back to several of my childhood (or maybe also adulthood) misheard lyrics and phrases.

As a kid, I remember hearing a fun little ditty in my dad’s truck and I would mainly sing it out because of its catchy tune. It went like this, “Secret Asian man, secret Asian man!” After all,  it makes complete sense people. Lots of Asian men are secret spies. Do you know Jackie Chan? Jet Li?  Bruce Lee? C’mon, we all know them.  Do we not see the massive connection here? This song is talking about a spy from Asia. Yes, of course it is. I felt rather disgruntled when I found that Johnny Rivers had originally written it, “Secret agent man, secret agent man”. Way to let a 10 year old down man! I’ll be honest, having to accept my version as erroneous, the song at best, has lost a bit of its initial value in my heart.

The next song I remember singing was, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” by Toby Keith. The song says,

Should've been a Cowboy
I should've learned to rope and ride
Wearing my sex shoe, riding my pony on a cattle drive
Stealing the young girl's hearts...

I never really knew what a sex shoe was, but I was pretty sure it was inappropriate. I just figured Mr. Keith was one of those improper and uncensored types of singers. I mean music was going downhill in the 90's. After all, the radio saw nothing wrong with the singing of dirty, sensual shoes.

You might wonder why I didn't ask my parents to clarify. Really? Are you serious? Because who wants to ask their parents about sex shoes? Or worse yet, who wants to find out if their parents actually have their own personal set of sex shoes? NOT. ME. NO, GRACIAS! Positively unsuitable. Both then and still now. Keep your sex shoes to YOURSELF mom and dad.  Thank heavens I just kept singing it wrong for a decade so as to avoid an unnecessary and vastly uncomfortable situation.

I did learn later that the actual lyrics read, “Wearing my six-shooter riding by pony on a cattle drive”. Well, there you go. A six-shooter. A gun. Yep.

I also remember hearing my dad use the phrase, “every fiber of my being.” For years, I thought he was saying, “With every fiber of my bean.” The thing is, beans DO have fiber. In fact, they have a lot of fiber. Why hasn’t anyone else figured this out? It is very easy to infer this if you understand nutrition. With everyone trying to be healthy these days and eat organic foods and only buy free range everything, I knew that this phrase had to be accurate. I will not announce an age at which I learned the correct words of this phrase.

Then recently the movie, Frozen, came out. I downloaded a few songs for Wes to listen to in the car and one was “Fixer Upper”. Such a cute song! I love the beat of the drums in this one.  While thumping the steering wheel to the beat I would sing, “Get Beyoncé out of the way and the whole thing will be fixed!” Because, yeah, Beyoncé is this really big deal right now so the song must be making a reference to her in their music. Right? Shows and songs do that now, you know. It wasn’t until later, that I realized it was saying, “Get the fiancé out of the way, and the whole thing will be fixed.” Ohhhhh, I get it. She is engaged to someone else and it’s talking about getting rid of him. Well. Whatever. Beyonce, fiancé, shmiance. It all sounds the same when you’re singing it.

And apparently this particular gene has been passed down to my kid. You learned about what in church? Ferris wheels? Got it. 

Have a great day everyone!

Prego Brain

Just recently, I was reminded of my favorite prego brain moment. It was December and I was about 7 months pregnant. I was already stressed trying to have everything in order for Wesley’s arrival. As I’m leaving school one afternoon, I start up my car and a yellow light pops up onto the dashboard. Scared of driving it home due to previous explosions in my hood, (I blew up my engine in college due to the ignoring of a light) I sat in the car and decided to make a better and more adult decision this time.

Immediately, I call the Saturn dealership.

(Car issues can trigger me because I’m pretty sure demons live in the mechanisms of cars. The results of car trouble tend to be expensive and highly inconvenient. I can feel the frustration beginning to emerge, but I’m taking some deep breaths to counteract the upset.)

Hello, this is Saturn. How can we make your day today?

Yes, hi. I need help. This light has popped up on my dashboard and I don’t know if I should drive or not. It is yellow and it has an exclamation point.

Hmmm. I’m not sure. Are there any other lights on?

No, just this one.

I’m not sure mam, but I wouldn’t drive it until you know what is going on.

Okay,  I’ll call someone else. (a little more frustrated, and a little less breathing)

(2nd Saturn Dealership)

Can we help you?

Yes. These lights. I don’t know what they are. Can you help me?

Mam, we don’t know. We haven’t heard of that type of light. We can’t say whether it is safe to drive or not.

Ugh. I’ll call someone else. (straight frustration, no breathing)

(3rd Saturn Dealership)


Yes, my light. I need help please.

I’ve never heard of that before. I’m sorry.

Why can’t anyone help me? There is a YELLOW LIGHT. It is has EXCLAMATION POINT ON IT. Why doesn’t anyone know what is going on?

I’m really sorry mam. I’ve been here 15 years at this particular Saturn dealership working specifically in the service department and I’ve never heard of an exclamation light on the dashboard of any of our cars. I wish I could help you.

FINE! DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. (I’m now ready to run someone over. Who the heck would breathe through this? I cannot even drive my car home from school people!)

I hang up the phone. I look at the dashboard again and then abruptly it dawns on me…


Oh yeah. 

I drive a Hyundai.

The end.


"Wes chose to draw instead of finishing his work. He had to stay in at recess."  #itwasahardfirstdayback #EthanandLaylaweresti...