Love Dwelling in and Around Us

1 John 4 tells us, "If we love one another, God dwells in us and his love is perfected in us. This is how we know that we dwell in him and he in us."
I spent the month on a speaking assignment talking about the love of Christ - how it's surprising and reliable, how it's caring and powerful, how it's expansive and how it's ours. I deeply believe it- that the Trinity has had a dance of love going on between them since before the beginning of time, and we are invited into that dance. That the greatest commandments to love God and to love others are natural outflows of the love God pours into us, and of the Holy Spirit residing in our hearts. God's love dwells in us and around us.
And then I had a chance to live that truth. The second to last day I got hurt. I thought I sprained my foot, and continued to walk on it and try to go about things as normally as possible, but then the x-ray showed a dislocation and the doctor said I could no longer bear weight on it …

If You Only Knew the Mountain that Was Moving Before Your Eyes

"It's her first day back to full days," I told the group of moms standing by the flagpole waiting to pick their elementary schoolers up, knowing two out of three of them had no idea what that really meant or what a big deal that was.

For months, our lives had been hijacked by her medical issues...her life hijacked worst of all. The past three months the doctors had her go for half days only because her little body couldn't handle the energy exertion and trying to be "on" all day while she was having so much pain. She needed weekly IVs and a bunch of lab tests run and rerun to see if she needed to be sent to a bigger hospital like the Mayo Clinic. She needed to take about 19 pills a day, a couple of them medications, and others which were supplements and minerals to help with the weight loss and bone loss that were side effects of the medication. She spent most of her afternoons at home resting, taking pills, and eating a ton to try to gain the lost weight b…

Parenting the Angry or Anxious Child

Anger or Anxiety in Action

"I have thirteen other patients waiting to get poked, so if we are going to do this we are going to do it now," the nurse said to me as my first grader waited to get her IV.

"I'm. Not. Ready." she said.

"Let's just get it over doesn't help anything to let it drag on, that's just going to increase her anxiety."

"I actually think with her it doesn't. She needs some processing time, and for the five other IVs she's had, she's taken a few minutes to take deep breaths and then told us she was ready and been willing to do it. I'd much rather do it that way than force her- I'm not sure we can really successfully force someone to keep an IV in anyway."

A thousand thoughts and emotions whirled through my mind and heart.

Embarrassment. "I'm so embarrassed."

Doubt. "Am I right? Or is this completely the wrong strategy and I'm making it worse? Would it be bette…

To Sleep Train or Not to Sleep Train...

We moms sat around the table at the pizzeria and one of our newest friends there shared that she had just bought at "sleep training" book and was two days in to trying it. She wondered what I thought since a lot of the psychology work I've done has focused on brain health. I said, "I'm glad you found something that seems to be working, but do want to encourage you to be careful. So much of the sleep training and coaching is appealing because it seems to produce immediate results, which the authors claim will help long term, but I've seen a lot of kids and families experience a lot of long term damage because of it."
Why is this? It can impact healthy attachment (it's normal for babies to cry to be comforted, and healthy for their brains and their parents' brains for that crying to be met with comforting). They can't tell the difference between real and perceived abandonment so it impacts their brain in the same way. I always encourage people …

The bigger picture...

Sometimes it is so easy for us to sit back and see other parents do things that aren't smart or helpful, and it seems so obvious as an observer even though it's so easy to miss when you are the parent in question and caught in the moment. I am sure people observe that about me all the time, despite my best efforts!

Often I watch my husband try to work through something with our elementary schooler in a way where he has laser focus on one thing and I think to myself, "you are going to win the battle and lose the war." That's probably a poor analogy since really he and she are on the same team, but you get the point - sometimes the bigger picture gets lost as we focus in on one specific thing.

This morning for some reason our daughter woke up so angry, yelling at me, "you are not helpful! Nothing you do is helpful. Don't you realize you aren't helping me?" This could have been triggered by a lot of things- she's facing some pretty significant …

Affirming our kids

A friend texted me thank you for writing her daughter an affirming note at church last week, saying she is trying to get better at that herself. I wrote back:

"Lol because I am working on the same thing! That's why it was fresh on my mind to write them to the girls! I almost never affirm ours for doing the right things and always focus on the wrong!!! I made a little progress with it last week but have a long way to go still to remember to do it. We'll have to encourage and remind each other to improve!"

I'm better when I'm around other people (one of my friends says we parent better when we are around other healthy parents and I wholeheartedly agree- we pick up on their language, actions and approach and tend to repeat it) but do not prioritize this highly enough when I'm not.

I want to work on this, and am so thankful my friend noticed that I'm trying and now can hold me accountable!

Friends who are strong where we are weak

Ever since I learned how dangerous coats in car seats are, I've wanted our son to have a car seat poncho. I got quotes on them from some out of town friends for upwards of $50, so when I saw a cute winter blanket on sale at Target for $3, I decided to take matters into my own hands...:)

I bought said small blanket, cut a slit in it that was the right size for a baby head, and began using it that same day as a car seat poncho. It was adorable, though amateur-ish at best, and probably not likely to last a long time, but accomplished its purpose for the time being.

One of the friends I admire most joined us for a small family birthday celebration recently, and when she walked in, her son was wearing a very cool, perfectly made poncho. Clearly she can sew and I cannot :). I raved and raved over it and laughed for quite a while at the contrast between it and my own homemade poncho. You can imagine my surprise when my son then at that same party opened up a poncho she made just for him!…