My Kids Are Weird

Weird. She called my kids weird. To. My. Face.

I suppose I should have taken offense but instead I smiled. I blame my response on Craig
Groeschel. Ever since I started reading Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working the way I think about the word has been transformed.

When she called my kids weird, because they are kind to each other. For the most part, they get along. They refer to each other as best friend. This just isn't normal.

Often in parenting our goal is to make our kids typical. We want them to fit in, get along with their classmates and generally be a superior reflection of their parents. Rarely do our goals extend to the way they treat their siblings. They are expected to be rivals - to be at their worst at home. You know kind of like their parents.

But what if we chose to parent differently? What if we chose to give our families our best and to expect our kids to do the same? Would people think we were weird? Probably.

Would some people think we're bad parents because our kids choose each other over their peers? Likely.

But would it be worth it? Definitely.

My kids are weird. I'll admit it. You might even think I'm the worst mom ever. But I really don't care...probably because I'm weird too.

What would you do if someone called your kids weird? Would you consider it a compliment or an insult?

Listen Up

Everyone should be quick to listen.
James 1:19


How could my precious little seven year old utter such a grown up word? I'd heard inappropriate words fall my girls' lips before so I wasn't entirely surprised. And thanks to my vast parenting expertise I knew just what to do in the situation.

1) Don't react.
2) Ask my child if she knows what _____ means.
3) Calmly explain why we don't use the word.

My flawless execution of my parenting plan was followed by a barrage of repentant tears. Chalk one up for my nomination as Mother of the Year. 

A day later I was in the laundry room folding clothes when my daughter walked in with that inquisitive look on her face. 

"Mom, I can ask you anything right?"

"Of course, Sweetie."

"Can you explain exactly what's wrong with saying the word snacks?"


I had clearly wasted a perfectly good mom lecture. Worse I now had some apologizing of my own to do. 

Sometimes I'm not a much better listener with my Father than I am with my kids. I lay out my requests to Him and wait in confident expectation He will answer. I wait until I see a glimpse of what I expect to hear and than charge full-force in my self-determined direction. 

Instead I need to listen up - to turn my focus toward God and give Him my undivided attention without expectation. 

Do you ever jump to conclusions when try talking with God? How do you clear the air and tune into His voice instead of your own thoughts?

Unrestrained Passion

The words of the reckless pierce like swords. 
Proverbs 12:18

It was one of those calls you don't want to receive. My mom was sick. Really sick. Hospitalized with a ruptured appendix, I feared sepsis.

I quickly loaded my three children - 10, 7 and 1, and my five week pregnant body into the car for the 8 hour drive separating me from my ailing mother. After several days of recovery, she was released to her home for further recuperation. Another of my sisters was headed in to take my place so I made arrangements to head home.

To accommodate my unplanned trip, my ex-husband generously agreed to a delay of his visitation with my oldest two. Since I was so early in my pregnancy, I had to fight exhaustion to rise at four am for the all-morning drive back to my home.

Unfortunately along the way we ran into multiple traffic delays. My already tiring trip was punctuated by irritable inquiries from my ex as to the exact timing of my return. In the midst of this my oldest confessed she had left her orthodontic retainer at home. Freshly out of braces, she couldn't go another night without her appliance. 

Three hours after my promised return time my car limped into our driveway. There was no retainer in my daughter's bedroom. In truth, she had misplaced it. Her confession of its home location was just a childish ploy to delay facing consequences.

One too many hours short on sleep and fielding one too many accusatory questions from my ex and all the stress and strain of the prior days bubbled up my throat, out my mouth and straight into the heart of my daughter.

My words were harsh.

My tone was hateful.

I painfully failed her as a loving mother and a woman of restraint. 

To this day it remains my biggest parenting regret.

But God is bigger than my biggest parenting failure. He used this life moment to retrain my tongue. I realized the only safe place to bring my frustration is to His ear. Today, as I rant and rave, He restores and replenishes my heart.

I have my Father's ear. There He gives me a safe place to unfurl unrestrained passion. When I give Him an ear full, He gives me a heart full. I go to Him empty and come away with plenty.

Is God a safe place for you? If not, where you unload your deepest hurts?

A Thrift Store Heart

Sharing isn't something I had to consciously teach my four girls. They have dressed in hand-me-downs and joint property from the first possible day. As we shift clothes, accessories and shoes from one body to the next, my family is a living thrift store. 

It's no wonder we all like the song Thrift Shop. The lyrics (even the cleaned up ones) are too mature for any of us but some of the one-liners get sung frequently as we go about town. At the top of our playlist is, "I look incredible."

I heard my younger ones singing this line in the backseat recently. One started, "I look

To which the other, named Carynne, answered, "I look Carynne-able."

To my youngest this is the highest compliment. She wants to be exactly who and what God created her to be. She is sure of herself. 

Every person encounters opportunity accompanied by insecurity. If we give voice to our insecurity, we will hear - 

"I can't."

"I'm not equipped."

"I'm not enough."

This is thrift store thinking. Instead, God wants to fill my thrift store heart with the depths of His boutique truth. 

"He can."

"He equips."

"He is enough for me."

What is insecurity whispering into your heart today? Could you dare to take your thrift store thinking and make a free exchange up to boutique God-sized love? 

Did you know that Shannon is currently booking her speaking calendar for summer and fall? Contact her today to speak at your event. 

I Have God on Speed Dial

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys his servant?
If you are walking in darkness,
    without a ray of light,
trust in the Lord
    and rely on your God.
But watch out, you who live in your own light
    and warm yourselves by your own fires.

Isaiah 50:10-11 NLT

A few quick errands became hours spent away from home punctuated by feedings, diaper changes and spit up. I was just pulling into the garage on a scorching Texas day when I realized my newborn was blissfully asleep in the back seat. Wanting her to sleep as long as possible, I kept the garage door up and the engine running while I shuttled my purchases inside. 

I saved the best bundle for last. My plan was to stealthily dislodge her car seat from the base and place the whole thing inside the crib. If I made sloth-like movements, she just might finish out her nap and give me a few minutes to locate the sanity I'd lost somewhere between  the dry cleaners and Costco.

I gently slid up her door handle. It didn't move.
I opened the door with a bit more persistence. It didn't move.
I gave it an all out yank. It didn't move.

Alarm raced up my spine as I realized my baby was locked inside my car. 

My gut dialed 9-1-1. I wasn't sure if they'd bring handcuffs with them or just a copy of the Bad Mom Award but the fire department arrived in mere moments. A quick survey of my situation brought out the slim jim and some judgmental glances.

"Um, Mam, do you perchance have Onstar?"

I mumbled a tentative, "Yes."

"Did you call them already?"

"Uh, no."

Judgement evaporated by the cloud cover of humored, yet straight faces.

The fire fighters showed me the number for OnStar posted, for my convenience, on the outside of my window and suggested I try them first. Seconds later my doors clicked, their engine roared and my baby slept through it all.

Sometimes I try to find my own way out of a situation. I plot a conversation or ponder a problem. I walk by the light of my own fire. OnStar should have been my first call, not my last. God shouldn't be my last call either.

When you light a candle, there's a moment between the spark and when the object actually takes the fire. I need to invite Him into my struggle at the first spark. In the pause between the spark and the blaze is the opportunity to overcome my circumstances instead of allowing them to overcome me.

Do you ever walk by the light of your own fire? How could God's light change your situation?

I was privileged this week to guest post at Patheos for my friend, Bill Blankshaen. Do you ever wonder what your pastor's wife would say if you overheard her true confession? Well I am a pastor's wife and this is mine...

Rub Me the Right Way

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory 
that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17

I scraped and scuffed... 

I grazed and grinded... 
I rubbed and rotated...

but I could not get the pebble off the bottom of my shoe.

It's amazing how a small object can affect great pain. It reminded me of Scott and my honeymooning days Italy. Rome is perfumed with romance, intrigue and wonder but you have to traverse ancient cobblestone roads to find it. Every day filled with discovery and passion ended with two pair of aching feet.

A few hours after my new found rock friend made a home in my foot, I realized no amount of stomping was going to dislodge him. He'd taken up permanent residence. Ready for a foot rub, I finally turned my shoe upside down. The funny thing is there was no rock in my shoe. The source of my discomfort turned out to be a jewel.

Sometimes life is like that.

The speaking opportunity passes to other lips.
My child doesn't make the team.
The healing doesn't come.
The battle I thought I'd won wages war with me again.

No matter how I scrape, scruff or grind, I can't change my circumstances but I can change my perspective. In God's hands all the little rocks that irritate my life are shined into jewels. As I inch my heart closer to His, He rubs me the right way.

He Walks on Water...And Cleans the Carpet

I was only in the laundry room for five minutes. Okay maybe it was ten minutes. Top. I've never taken a stopwatch in there with me but it was the span of time it takes to trade out the  wash. 

I went in to clean some clothes...

I came out to find my toddlers finger painting our stone fireplace surround with food coloring.

Hands, clothes and faces were splashed with blue and green. A sea swirled around the stone while little droplets of "ocean water" decorated the carpet. I knew the color would eventually wear off of their skin. I wasn't as confident about my stone and carpet. 

I threw the girls in the bath with one hand and dialed a carpet cleaner with the other.

"I'll come to your house and clean the carpet but the food dye won't come out."

"Sure it will. I prayed over it."

My gut response was honest but as soon as I said it doubt crept into my mind. Did God really care about something as inconsequential as my family room carpet? I couldn't even keep my kids from destroying my house so who was I to flaunt my faith in God in front of a total stranger?

I actually dreaded his arrival but no amount of alarm could prevent his appearance. He came equipped with potions, hoses and machines. I had only my faith.

I still remember the look on his face as section by section my carpet returned to its original color. God has shown up on an ordinary day and showed off for a carpet cleaner. God did the impossible. Turns out He walks on water and cleans the carpet.

Are you like me and sometimes pause before praying about the mundane in your life? Why not pause right now and trust an extraordinary God with the ordinary happenings of your day?