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Spiritual Parenting | Inspirational Parenting

To Summer at Eighteen

November 1994

Dear Summer,

Eighteen years ago I stood looking at you—fresh-born—through the big glass window in the hospital nursery, watching the nurses try to count your tiny toes. Minutes old, you were bright-red-screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs unbounded life, squirming and kicking in every direction—quite a challenge to those toe-counting nurses. How I wanted to reach through the window, to be closer to you as you celebrated your newfound freedom. From behind the glass, I breathed a promise: I would never stand in the way of your freedom. « Continue reading »

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Meredith and Abbey

It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick..
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies..’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey &Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven.
Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog.. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by…
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

Love,
God

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Reevaluating the New Year

It’s that time of year again. What is it that you are planning to work on? What is it in your life that you have decided needs to change? What things need your attention? This time of the year forces us to take stock of our lives, besides the incredible media push to discuss our “resolutions” for the new year. After all, we have just come through an amazing period of time where we are shown quite explicitly the miracle of just how good God has been to us each every day. « Continue reading »

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Let Us Labor For An Inward Stillness

Let us labor for an inward stillness–
An inward stillness and an inward healing.
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks to us and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do His will and do that only

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

« Continue reading »

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A Parent’s Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray my sanity to keep.
For if some peace I do not find,
I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my mind.

I pray I find a little quiet,
Far from the daily family riot.
May I lie back and not have to think
About what they’re stuffing down the sink,

Or who they’re with, or where they’re at
And what they’re doing to the cat.
I pray for time all to myself
(did something just fall off a shelf?)

To cuddle in my nice, soft bed
(Oh no, another goldfish–dead!)
Some silent moments for goodness sake
(Did I just hear a window break?)

And that I need not cook or clean
(well heck, I’ve got the right to dream)
Yes now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray my wits about me keep,
But as I look around I know,
I must have lost them long ago!

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The Thick of Autumn

The cold air hits me hard in the face. We are in the thick of autumn, in its entire splendor.  I smell coffee (because I always smell coffee, it is my constant companion along with my Lord!) and I’m pleasantly perked up by the chill.  We’re off to somewhere each and every day.  There are many children to prepare and feed and move along to their intended arrival areas.  Mornings fly by with gentle admonishing and kisses and manner reminders, while backpacks are zipped and coats are buttoned. « Continue reading »

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Peeking Through

My grand plans dissolved this morning as my 2 year old Elijah looked up and asked “Put the radio on?” I chose a college station and was pleasantly surprised by some Christian hip-hop as Eli donned his sister’s purple headband (all the better for dancing, I suppose) and proceeded to bust a move for a while with his Mama. He grinned and tackled quite a few snazzy routines, elbows flying as he smiled up at me. “I love my Mama,” he announced. It just doesn’t get any better than that. « Continue reading »

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Catching Rainbows

Last week, my Eli, 4, set about filling a jar full of water on the front walk.  I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was going to catch a rainbow.  He thought about it, and it was the first sunny day in what had seemed like weeks.  He spent the better part of the day working toward his goal, occasionally squinting into the sky. « Continue reading »

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Back to the Newborn: My Experience with Time Travel

I’ve always fancied time travel. When I was younger, I wanted to travel into the future. I dreamed that life at 30 would be sophisticated; I would dab Coco Chanel on my wrists before stepping out of my New York City apartment for a glass of champagne with friends. Now I long to travel into the past—to revisit brief pockets of time when my life was insatiably good. If I had a time machine, I would set the clock back to my summer writing retreats or a handful of episodes in my life defined by a particularly poignant friendship or love affair. « Continue reading »

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Grateful for April

Spring brings little friends to fill our backyard while we big people mostly do the yard chores that usher in the new season.  As winter reluctantly gives way to spring around here, things get hopping outside.  OUTSIDE!  Yay!  Sun and wind and smiles (and the house stays cleaner because they are outside!) “Whatcha doin?” they cry, and pitch in with echoes of laughter, collecting the winter debris and playing in the dirt. « Continue reading »

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