April 30, 2012

Help Wanted!

Last Saturday I had the privilege of meeting face to face with seven other Christian women bloggers. One of them, the owner of the home, I had been following for a while, and the other six I had never met but are now the newest addition to my favorite blogs.

And. We. Had. A. Blast.  

There was Amy, who is passionate about making a difference in small and big ways.

There was Katrina, who will teach you to eat real food cheaply, while helping you draw closer to the God who created it all.

There was Mariah, who will captivate you with her humor and smarts.

There was Kendal, who is honest and real about her struggles. You may just identity.

There was Karrie, who writes about being a mom, a teacher, a child of God and wife to a farmer in poetic style.

There was Rachel, who writes about food, especially desserts, but who is model-thin and model-beautiful.

There was Corina, who does not yet have a blog but I know will blow you away when she does. Stay tuned.

It was fun. And it was inspiring. And it left me with some pondering to do. And here is where you come in:

One of the things we talked about were the strengths and weaknesses of our blogs and the reasons we blog. The discussion that ensued around the table gave me a lot of food for thought. I was challenged to take a look at my motivations, my passions, and my sphere of influence. I’ve been blogging for almost two years now and I think it’s time to re-evaluate some things.

So I decided to enlist your help, sweet friends.

If you don’t mind, if you could help me, take a minute and tell me:

What keeps you coming back to this space?

I would really love to hear from you, whether you usually comment or you mostly lurk, through Facebook or via e-mail, please help me to see Life in A Glass House from your side of the computer.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

April 16, 2012

Isabel, the tooth, and the widow's mite.

A few days ago Isabel lost a tooth. After her daddy pulled it out and after the tears were dried her first words were: “The Toothfairy is coming tonight!” Then carefully, so so carefully, Isabel put the miniscule tooth into a red, Chinese box with a mirror that probably used to contain a fancy lipstick once upon a while. She snapped it sealed and placed it under her pillow. She fell asleep with her whole torso over that pillow, protecting her treasure fiercely.

And the Toothfairy came. This sneaky fairy tip-toed into Isabel’s room a few hours past the kids’ bedtime to do the job only the Toothfairy can do (or the little white mouse, if you live south of the Texas-Mexico border): to buy the long-wiggled, expectantly-yanked-every-few-days tooth. The exchange rate these days at our house is one crisp dollar bill for one white and tiny pearl. The Toothfairy had to pull and prod and, being careful not to wake her up, take out the little red box, and make the exchange. 

The next morning she ran, hopped, and skipped to our bedroom at a ridiculously early hour, a memory of Christmas morning all over again, with her little red box and more money inside it than a six year old knows what to do with. “Mami! It’s gone! My tooth is gone! And I got a dollar! I got a dollar!” Precious booty to a little girl who does not yet get an allowance and whose parents don’t tend to buy toys beyond Christmas and birthdays. 

Last year I bought her a three-piece piggy bank. It’s shaped like the letters A, B, and C connected, and each letter is a compartment. The A is for giving. This is the money she takes to church each week for Jesus. The B is for saving for bigger items she may want to buy. The C is for spending and this one is usually empty as the concept of “now” trumps the concept of “later” almost every time. 

As we sat at breakfast in the kitchen the morning after she became richer by a dollar I asked her to put her dollar into one of the three compartments so she would not lose it. Without hesitation she said she wanted to put it into the “Jesus” one. Eyes wide I asked: “The WHOLE dollar?” She nodded earnestly and happily. Because I am logical, thrifty, and practical, I offered to exchange her dollar for four quarters. “That way you can put a little into each box,” I suggested. Because she is generous, trusting, and much more obedient than I, she declined. “I want to give the whole dollar to Jesus!” she said. And pride and tenderness spilled out of my eyes. And just a few days before we had discussed our character trait for the month of April and its accompanying verse: generosity as found in 2 Corinthians 9:7

“God loves a cheerful giver”

And she embodies it. Like the little widow who put all she had into the coffers of the temple, so this child gave not from what was left after she bought her new toy, but the whole of her prize, everything she owned. She gave believing she would not lack and out of gratitude for the blessing itself rather than for what the blessing would bring her.  

And I don’t give like that. Ever. I tell myself I give sacrificially as I rationalize how little to give, as I add and subtract, re-arrange the numbers one more time, and frown over pennies and nickels. And when Jesus calls me to give just a little more of my money, my time, my energy, my resources, I grumble and complain and ask “Don’t I give enough already?” 

My children bring me great happiness every day. But every day they also teach me. And they partner with God to point out to me where my faith is lacking, where it’s little. I am the one who chooses the trait of the month for Isabel and Noah to learn to live out. I am the one who chooses the scripture that accompanies it. I am the one who explains it to them. 

Yet they are the ones who model it for me.

April 7, 2012

On teenagers...

In ten years we will be living with a sixteen year old and a fourteen year old. I have heard this should strike fear in the heart of the most courageous parent. Often I hear people say things like “Oooo, just wait until she becomes a teenager!” and “Oh, the teen years are horrible; just wait and see…” or “Your kids may be good now but they won’t be for long. When they hit adolescence…” and “Oh, nothing you do now will change the fact that teens are horrible!”


I don’t have a crystal ball. I cannot predict what the future will bring and neither do any of these naysayers. I have no idea what our life like with two teens will be. And more importantly, I will not be one of those parents who are blind and confidently say: “My child will never…”   

But I do know a couple of things.

While they are small and in these formative years I have two choices as we prepare for adolescence. I can either parent reactively, dealing with the stages of life as they come, inching ill-equipped towards adolescence and hoping for the best while bracing myself for the worst.


I can parent proactively. I can read all I can, learn all I can, listen to experts all I can, ask for advice all I can and, above all, pray all I can. 

I can work hard at parenting them these early years knowing that what I do now may not be the cure-all for adolescence problems later on but it is what the Lord has commanded me to do: to love them, to do my best at raising them in his ways, and to leave the rest to him.

I think of my children as vegetables. I can ensure a poor crop if I plant them and leave their successful growth to chance. Or I can plant them and water them with life instruction, and fertilize them with the Word of God, and tenderly care for them with boundaries and structure. I may still not get the produce I want, but I know the second approach gives me the better odds.

I also know that I will quit expecting the worst and begin praying for the best for my children. I don’t want to spend the next ten years in fear of their teens. I would rather spend this time laying a good foundation, enjoying their changes, and preparing the soil.

I plan to reap a good harvest. I know many teens that are a delight to their parents and I plan for my children to be that kind of teen. I am not being unrealistic, I’m being hopeful. I am not being delusional, I’m trusting that God will honor the hard labor Matt and I are doing today.

Yes, my children have choices. Yes, they may make poor decisions. Yes, they may be awful teenagers because they are, like all of us, sinful people with free will. They may, against all we have taught them, walk away from their faith. They may become defiant and disobedient. They may do all kinds of things we pray they won’t do. They may.


I refuse to contribute to this by creating self-fulfilling prophecies for them. I will not let them hear me say that adolescents are horrible, even today. I will speak positive and encouraging words to them as they reach that confusing, hormonal, difficult time of their lives. I want them to know I delight in them no matter what they’re going through because I delight in the gift of who they are, whatever their behavior. I want them to know that even while they feel out of control with their emotions and their bodies their parents will be a rock for them.

I know this seems impossible and in reality, it is. But, just like we do in any other difficult time of our life, Matt and I lean on the broader, stronger shoulders of Christ. We can be a rock for our children only because we are standing on the Rock of Ages. We can extend impossible grace to them only because of the impossible grace we’ve been given.

Maybe if their parents embrace adolescence Isabel and Noah will face it with a more positive outlook. They don’t know any different right now. What if all they ever hear from me is how much I look forward to their teen years? How would that change their perspective? How will it change mine?

And can I ask something of you?

I don’t want any more warnings about the teen years. I’m not afraid. I choose to wait for them expectantly and joyfully come what may. It is a time of wonder when kids are becoming adults and finding their own way. Instead, please pray for our family, if you will. 

Rebellious teenagers are miserable teenagers. 

So rather than expect Isabel and Noah’s misery, please pray that they will break the mold and be happy-ish teens. If I’m wrong, I hope you lift us up in prayer while the storm passes by and help us with your advice and wisdom. If I’m right, I hope you rejoice with us. But the fact remains that only time will tell and I choose hope

Parents of delightful teenagers, speak up! What is one thing you did when they were small that you feel made a difference during their adolescence? And if your children became difficult teenagers, tell what you would do differently for those of us who are just beginning!