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farm calf 1

Spring: A Walk Around the Farm

I don’t always spend a Saturday with my husband at home and the sun shining warm… but when I do, it involves something like planting a hundred gladiolas, lilies, hibiscus, and bleeding hearts… and, of course, a walk around the farm to see how everything is doing. We found a newborn calf this morning. While […]

ice storm 19 pointed to barn

Skipping Church

I took a series of photos this morning… Post-Thanksgiving unwinding… I’m naming it: “Justifying Skipping Church” The number of photos is directly proportional to the level of guilt. 😉 “Hello Winter” “With a Bow on Top” “Tinsel” “Sideways Tree in a Gale Storm” “Tree with Hay Bales” “You First” “No Really, I’ve Been Sitting All […]

potatoes 2 in back of jeep

Sweet Potato Haul

“Hey, you have to come outside and see this!” my husband burst through the phone from 30 yards away. Last spring, he happened to see sweet potato slips at a feed store. He planted 20 of them (roots with a little bit of leaf), right next to the tiny, spring version of the annual fall […]

irish sign 16 slideshow

Irish Determination

Ever since my younger sister, Annie, learned to talk, she has been paving my way to adventures I never would have attempted on my own. I remember when she called to invite me on a trip to Ireland. “What??!? You get a trip to Ireland for graduation?” I shrieked through the holes in the now-obsolete […]

The "Loft" was a childhood place of spiritual renewal in our family. These "letters" are written from that symbolic place of communion with God.

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farm calf 1

Spring: A Walk Around the Farm

Posted by on February 27, 2016  

I don’t always spend a Saturday with my husband at home and the sun shining warm…

but when I do, it involves something like planting a hundred gladiolas, lilies, hibiscus, and bleeding hearts…

and, of course, a walk around the farm to see how everything is doing.

We found a newborn calf this morning.

farm calf 2

farm calf 1

While we were out there, my husband dropped off three lick buckets of a protein-molasses mix with the skid steer. The cattle rushed to them “like kids in a candy store,” as he described it.

farm cows protein licks

My youngest son spotted yellow crocuses pushing through the ground. Mom & I planted these last fall.

farm crocus

They’re the first flowers to bloom — harbingers of spring — which makes them my favorite.

Bees were happily stealing crushed corn from the cows and carrying it to the hives for food.

farm bees 1

farm bees 2

My husband was disappointed to see that some of the fruit trees are budding already. This one is a “Pineapple” Pear:

farm pear buds

The buds don’t look like much, but they turn into fruit later. When buds appear too soon, the next freeze kills them, and then the tree won’t produce any fruit for the whole season.

farm chick 1

We got our chicks too early, too. A good percentage of them couldn’t stand the cold. These ones will make it, though. They’re getting their feathers in, and they have the system down:
– run and get a drink
– run back to the heat lamp under the brood box
– run out to forage for bugs & starter chick feed
– run back & huddle under the brood box

farm chick 2

My daughters spent most of today with the horses. They’ve learned to harness them by themselves, lead them to a rain barrel or fence, climb on, and ride bareback.

Not that this makes me nervous at all or anything…

farm girls horses 2

They’re not old enough to be so old & capable yet.

You all have told me this a hundred times, and it’s true: The years I have with them go by too fast.

farm girls horses

I feel like I’m constantly juggling my investment in the kids, my support of my husband, and my development of my own interests and goals.

Just like all worries & struggles, these belong in God’s hands, where they get traded for peace.

“Don’t be anxious … Pray about everything … the peace of God … will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.” (Philippians 4:6-7 VOICE)

“I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.” (Philippians 1:6 VOICE)

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens …

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart … everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11-14a NIV)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 4:10 NIV)

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy … be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25 NIV)

ice storm 19 pointed to barn

Skipping Church

Posted by on November 29, 2015  

I took a series of photos this morning…
Post-Thanksgiving unwinding…

I’m naming it: “Justifying Skipping Church”

The number of photos is directly proportional to the level of guilt. 😉

“Hello Winter”

ice storm 1 hello winter

“With a Bow on Top”
ice storm 2 winter w bow

ice storm 3 tinsel

“Sideways Tree in a Gale Storm”
ice storm 4 sideways tree

“Tree with Hay Bales”
ice storm 6 tree w hay bales

“You First”
ice storm 7 trapeze you first

“No Really, I’ve Been Sitting All Day”
ice storm 8 bench sitting all day

“Warm Welcome”
ice storm 9 warm welcome

“An Act of True Love Will Thaw A Frozen Heart”
ice storm 10 thaw heart rose

“True Love 2”
ice storm 11 true 2 rose

“Elsa, Please Thaw Us”
ice storm 12 for elsa

“Standing Tall”
ice storm 14 standing tall

“Girls in White Dresses”
ice storm 13 flower in white dress

ice storm 16 overexposed

“Hanging On”
ice storm 15 leaves hanging on

“Bet My Camera is Getting Wet”
ice storm 18 horse camera wet

“Wishing for a Wood-Burning Fireplace”
ice storm 17 wood pile

“Pointed to the Barn”
ice storm 19 pointed to barn

“Or to a Narnian Lamp Post”
ice storm 20 lamp post

“Cold, Wet Knees: Hot Chocolate Time”
ice storm 21 cold knees

“let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another … do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded … we do not belong to those who shrink back … but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, 35, 39)


potatoes 2 in back of jeep

Sweet Potato Haul

Posted by on November 19, 2015  

“Hey, you have to come outside and see this!” my husband burst through the phone from 30 yards away.

potatoes 1 vine man

Last spring, he happened to see sweet potato slips at a feed store. He planted 20 of them (roots with a little bit of leaf), right next to the tiny, spring version of the annual fall tomato jungle.

Sixteen of the 20 plants came up. We ignored them until after the first hard frost.

potatoes 2 in back of jeep

Our “negligence” was rewarded with abundance!

potatoes 4 bowl

potatoes 3 kids on gator roof

All this because he said yes to a few tiny shoots, spending an hour one afternoon covering them with mulch.

potatoes 5 pile

potatoes 6 digging together

“Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.” (Proverbs 14:27 MSG)

potatoes 7 boys digging

potatoes 8 boy carrying

Some of the potatoes were big enough to adopt as pets.

potatoes 11 bird

potatoes 12 bull horns

We took pictures so the kids could cherish them in remembrance after we ate them.

potatoes 13 hug

That night our menu was sweet potato fries, with a side of mashed sweet potatoes smothered in butter and brown sugar.

The next day (and several days since then) we’ve had variations on baked sweet potatoes.

I might need a few new recipes!

“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s sweet potato kabobs, sweet potato creole, sweet potato gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple sweet potatoes, lemon sweet potatoes, coconut sweet potatoes, pepper sweet potatoes, sweet potato soup, sweet potato stew, sweet potato salad, sweet potato and potatoes, sweet potato burger, sweet potato sandwich.

That — that’s about it.”*

– Bubba on shrimp, Forrest Gump

*quote modified (the feed store wasn’t selling shrimp that day — but God have mercy if they ever do)

potatoes 15 father son

If my oldest has inherited his dad’s work ethic (or maybe a strong desire to work alongside his dad)…

the girls have inherited their mom’s gift of enjoyment! 😉

potatoes 17 eat tomatoes

That is a legitimate gift, right?!

potatoes 18 looking at tomato

The thing I enjoy most is the time together. Being with family makes all the work worth it.

potatoes 19 drive away

“Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life” (John 6:27 MSG)

“Attend to Me and eat what is good … My words will give life” (Isaiah 55:3a VOICE)

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens … producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.” (Isaiah 55:10-11a NLT)

“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” (Matthew 13:23 MSG)

irish sign 16 slideshow

Irish Determination

Posted by on March 17, 2015  

Ever since my younger sister, Annie, learned to talk, she has been paving my way to adventures I never would have attempted on my own.

irish sign 2 vertical

I remember when she called to invite me on a trip to Ireland.

“What??!? You get a trip to Ireland for graduation?” I shrieked through the holes in the now-obsolete receiver. “Mom and Dad only got me a ring!”

“Well, now you get a ring and a trip to Ireland!”

Annie just makes practical sense like that.

irish sign 3 pencil marking

My tendency to overreact might be one reason she neglected to tell me she would be using our radial arm saw when she came to visit a couple days ago.

irish sign 4 marking

On her way to my house, she picked up Rigo — one of my husband’s younger brothers. He’s pretty good at keeping all of our extra “help” occupied.

irish sign 5 dog

irish sign 6 dog

Annie has always jumped into projects feet first.

I don’t ever do that.

If I needed to use the radial arm saw, I would need to plan time to read the manual first. Without step-by-step directions, I could possibly make a Mistake!

irish sign 7 annie radial arm saw

Although I restrained myself from looking for the manual, I did ask her to please not cut off any fingers…

irish sign 8 baby over shoulder

“Change of plans, Rigo,” my sweet sister said.

irish sign 9 rigo radial arm saw

“We will not get to cut off any fingers today after all.”

irish sign 10 rigo radial arm saw

After Annie had roughly cut some 1x2s as borders for her St. Patrick’s Day sign, she spray painted the wood.

Chalkboard paint for the face of the sign…

irish sign 11 spray painting

And green paint for the border…

irish sign 12 spray paint

While we waited for the paint to dry, Annie fixed sandwiches for the kids. She asked what I wanted.

“A Southwest chicken wrap with minced onion, tomato, cilantro, and guacamole,” I joked. I didn’t have a recipe for that. I hadn’t added those ingredients to the Shopping Plan.

That’s the difference between me and Annie.

irish sign 9 lunch

We picked an Irish proverb that I liked. Annie used a chalk marker to start writing on the sign (freehand, of course).

irish sign 13 phone quote

(Tip: Brushing on an extra coat of black chalkboard paint – from any craft store – helps the chalk marker not to bleed. It’s also nice for correcting Mistakes, if you’re like me and feel more brave with an extra contingency plan.)

irish sign 14 wood glue

Add a little wood glue on the frames, and we’re done!

irish sign 15 place frame

irish sign 16 slideshow

Then it was time to chat.

irish sign 17 all done

Because out in the middle of nowhere, we roll like that.

irish sign 18 dog kiss

boat project 5

The Boat Builder

Posted by on November 12, 2014  

I doubt Mom anticipated the production of a sea-faring vessel when she brought out the craft box for my begging daughters Saturday.

boat project 3

Boat building is always on the agenda for my dad. We just didn’t realize the condition was genetic!

boat project 1

The girls had moved on to other distractions, while my oldest boy kept toiling away at his sail-equipped canoe, probably inspired by the ship paintings and models scattered throughout the house.

Mom and I were taking pictures of what we thought was the finished product…

boat project 2

…when Dad walked in.

If there is anything my dad is better at than building boats, it is building a love of learning. It rises to the top of his to-do list as soon as he sees a spark of interest or a bent toward giftedness in a specific area.

boat project 4

It takes time to invest in a person this way, but even a little can go a long way.

The two builders were soon engrossed in adding “shrouds” to the boat.

boat project 8

I checked Wikipedia: The ropes — shrouds — supporting the mast can be formed as a triangular net, like a wedge from a spider’s web. I guess they might look like shrouds of clothing — or ghostly wraps on a ship gliding across a misty sea.

boat project 9

Mom and Dad met each other in Riverside, an old, scenic neighborhood in the city where I live. My dad’s family moved next door to my mom’s family, and the rest is history.

Although my dad had a rough childhood, one of his best memories was building sailboats with his dad. They navigated them down the river, apparently right through town. What a great memory to keep of a dad who died early, leaving six children and a pregnant wife behind!

boat project 5

That was the image that naturally came to mind Sunday, August 5, 2012, when our lead pastor told the story of the little boy who spent his summer building a toy boat. It seems longer ago than that, when I was just getting comfortable attending church regularly again. I’d had the wind knocked out of my sails, and my faith still appeared as a ghostly vessel, even without supportive shrouds.

boat project 11

The little boy, the story goes, spent weeks and weeks perfecting his boat. Then he spent another week getting the paint just right and letting it dry.

Finally, it was ready.

He gathered up his creation and took it down to the river to watch it do what he had made it to do.

It was a beautiful day, and the boat floated just as he expected! He was feeling satisfied, when suddenly the wind picked up and caught the little sail. It sent the boat out of the boy’s reach, out into the current. The boy tried to retrieve it, but it sailed around a bend. When he followed it, he could not find it, even though he searched and searched.

Sadly, he went home. In the following weeks, he kept his eye out, always hoping to spot the boat on the bank or maybe in a neighboring child’s hands.

A few weeks later, the boy walked into a pawn shop, and there on a shelf was his boat! He examined it, easily recognizing the carefully designed details. He caught the owner of the pawn shop and pointed out the boat, saying, “That’s my boat! I made it! It’s mine!”

But the pawn shop owner said, “I’m sorry, kid. It’s my boat now. If you want it, you’ll have to pay the price on the tag.”

The boy reluctantly left the pawn shop and ran home to count his money — not nearly enough. He spent the last few weeks of summer working as many odd jobs as he could find, earning the rest of the cost for the boat that belonged to him.

One day he gathered all the money together and ran back to the pawn shop. He was relieved to see the boat still on the shelf. He handed everything to the owner, who lifted down the boat, saying, “Here you go, kid. It’s yours now.”

The boy walked out of the shop, tightly holding his boat. As he reached the street, he shouted happily:

“Yes, you are mine! You are twice mine! For first I made you, then I bought you.”

I’m sure a couple rivers of tears had made their way down my face as the sermon wrapped up.

First He made me…

“…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Then He bought me…

“…you are not your own … you have been bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

It wasn’t any small investment — He gave all He had to seek out and buy back what was His.

“…he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant… he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8)

“For God so loved the World that He gave His one and only Son…” (John 3:16)

“…the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

And this is what I was designed to do:

“[He] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
(2 Corinthians 1:4)

boat project 7

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)


horseback lessons 2 big smile-2

Sunset Horseback Lessons

Posted by on November 4, 2014  

I happened to catch the end of this, as the sun was going down…

horseback lessons 1 holding reigns

My husband had decided to give the older two kids an impromptu horseback riding lesson.

My daughter was just slightly thrilled…

horseback lessons 2 big smile-2

In case you didn’t catch that…

horseback lessons 3 wrinkled nose


My oldest (and he does have the oldest child personality, even though he’s only the oldest by twenty fear-fraught minutes, during which the obstetricians yelled “PUUUSH!” and the anesthesiologist turned up the epidural, in case they needed to surgically extract my second-born and administer oxygen)…

Wait, where was I?

horseback lessons 4 responsible boy

Oh yes — my firstborn handled the horses like a pro.

I took pictures of him…

horseback lessons 6 rainbow

…but unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have hair that streams like a blaze of fire against the setting sun.

horseback lessons 7 streaming firey hair

In case you didn’t catch that…

horseback lessons 9 reigns

horseback lessons 10 more hair


horseback lessons 8 little smile

This mama’s heart was pounding with every hoof beat. I have one question:

Where is her helmet??!

horseback lessons 8 little flame

I didn’t spend 8.5 months having my abdomen distorted into Escher-ish proportions, only to lose her for failure to locate a hat.

horseback lessons 11 looking at camera

And that’s that.

horseback lessons 12 into the sunset

camp out 3 roasting hot dogs

Camping Out with Kids: Bring Wipes

Posted by on October 8, 2014  

Camping in the back orchard with four young kids means…

… letting our oldest son be a big kid by getting the bonfire started (with the garden hose ready and mom trying not to hover)

camp out 1 starting fire

… lots of dancing and yelling around the flames when the roasting sticks are produced (and mom trying not to hover)

camp out 2 yelling at fire

… turning normally-repulsive (to me) foods into flame-charred delicacies

camp out eating hot dogs

camp out 5 eating hot dog

… suddenly seeing, now that we have a chance to sit down, that some of our kids look older than they did the last time we really saw them (and mom trying not to hover)

camp out 7 girls sitting on logs

… then remembering how little they still are when they complain that “it’s cold” and we tell them to scoot closer to the fire — “but the fire’s hot!”

… staring at the mesmerizing flames

camp out 8b hot dogs

(dude has just been filled with the Holy Spirit…)

camp out 4 holy spirit fire

camp out 3 roasting hot dogs

… realizing, in the middle of eating s’mores, that wipes would have been nice

camp out 8 eating smores

… peeling ourselves away from the warm fire for a drive up to the house, because we’re not prepared to teach four little kids how to rinse their toothbrushes with bottled water (or to wipe… but you get the idea)

… hearing four (maybe five) screams of exhilaration as dad races the open Gator through the biting cold

… putting kids to bed immediately upon returning, because they’re that excited about sleeping bags

camp out 10b sleeping bags

… learning, three minutes later, that we won’t get the campfire to ourselves after all, because sleeping bags have limited novelty (to them, at least…)

camp out 11 beer

… telling the kids things we wouldn’t talk about during normal bedtime stories, like the reason King Saul went into the cave where David was camping out (never mind that the point of that story was how David showed respect for the anointed king…)

camp out 9 boys laughing

… listening to a 7-year-old’s version of a “scary campfire story”

… hearing dad completely freak the kids out with an impromptu tale about a black panther with glowing yellow eyes

camp out 10 boy roasting marshmallow

… putting the kids to bed for real this time

… feeling only slightly guilty that my husband let me have our sub-zero sleeping bag, and gratefully zipping it around myself like a blue cocoon

… wishing we had a double cocoon

… waking up every single time the “guard geese” might have detected movement within a one-mile radius

… crawling out of the cocoon in the morning feeling more like a moth than a butterfly

camp out 16 site

… getting frost all over my fingers while unzipping the tent

camp out 13 frost on tent

… glaring at the guard geese on the drive back up to the house
(that should teach them!)

camp out 15 guard geese

… serving hot cider to a pack of happy kids

camp out 14 cider

… hoping we get to do this again before the weather turns colder and the kids turn older

camp out 20 empty camp site

Happy October!


I finished the post below on Monday (except adding pictures).

I had tried to veil how frustrated and disappointed I was, because life has become incredibly busy recently. It seemed like the sensible thing to do was end the blog.

It has been confusing to sense God leading the exact opposite direction!

God specializes in impossibilities, and He is able to make His purposes clear, when He decides it’s time. He has done that in the last couple days: We’re moving forward!

I left this post exactly as I had written it (except adding pictures), but there’s more coming…


Can it really be four years ago that I clicked “publish” on my first blog post ever, in September 2010?

This blog and I have seen plenty of changes in those years…

barn in dark

Every once in a while it bothers me that I still haven’t decided what I’m going to be when I grow up. The indecisiveness has been well-documented — thanks to the blog!

There is one theme that has repeated itself through the varying interests, though:

I am a mom.

As you know, this wasn’t a guarantee for me — being a mom. At times, I thought I might never be one. But I already detailed that story, during the phase when I posted about navigating the infertility maze.

double rainbow

rainbow over kids2

The blog started as a challenge to learn photography while I was stuck near the top of a giant pile of rocks (our house was at 7,250 feet) in the arid mountains of NM. Sometimes I was very literally stuck, as several feet of snow made our long, craggy road impassible for two-wheel-drive vehicles — for weeks and months at a time.

twins looking at snow

snow back door

At the time, our four children ranged in age from 3 months old to 3 years old. I didn’t venture out very often!

Even from the beginning, as I set out to learn photography, our theme surfaced:

I am a mom.

pumpkin just right


Meghan by tree2

Over time, when the buttons and dials on my camera became less intimidating, I started posting about homeschooling and children’s activities. These posts screamed the theme:



a1 all kids in sand


Two years into blogging, we moved back to the blessed fields of Kansas, where this long-displaced “plant” was able to burrow roots deeply into native soil and respond to the boundless sky that calls for stretching and growing, upward and outward.

Bekah bike

I wrote a little about my struggles to settle into farm life — and during the heaviest harvest, I gave up homeschooling.

But even then, don’t you see how I loved the way my kids experienced these things?



goofy green beans small




With all of this farm produce, I recognized that I needed to learn to cook — for real — with whole, raw, unprocessed foods.

I think this new challenge lasted two or three posts. I’ve often said, echoing Nixon, “I am not a cook.” (I hope that, like Nixon, my words will be proved wrong someday.)

Even through that brief phase, the pictures made it clear where my heart was:

I am a mom!


dough mixing


Then… for the first time, God started tugging strongly at my heart about something He wanted me to do… the only real, solid “calling” I’ve ever experienced.

I tried to write about this, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have enough to say yet. There was no shape or form to the task. I tried for a few months…

Then I took a year-long break from the blog.

This burden is still inside me, but even coming back to the blog this past year, the task is formless.

I feel like a mom again — a pregnant mom, in the third trimester, longing to give birth to this watermelon that I’m always carrying with me. The time drags on slowly… Is it time yet? No, not yet. We’re still gathering, growing, developing, taking form. Will it ever be time, or will this be just another “thing” that I don’t end up doing?

blog double rainbow

Meanwhile, the theme continues:

I am a mom.

Right now, being a mom means driving 12 to 16 hours per week –just driving time alone. It means feeling housebound by a mountainous avalanche of laundry. It means entering everything — everything! — into my reminder app immediately, so the loose ends don’t unravel us entirely. It means supporting the growing interests and hobbies of my family and occasionally shedding tears because every minute that I spend on my own interests (writing, studying, photography, running, music) is stolen from my family’s needs.

It also means reminding myself that I would never in a million years trade these few tears for the bitter, hollow monsoons I shed before I became a mom. This is what I had longed for, and I will not forget that.

I’m just not sure how to juggle motherhood with the growing “watermelon” — this specific weight on me for people outside my immediate family.

I remind myself: A seed doesn’t make itself grow.

“…neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)

If this is what God wants me to do (and if it’s not, I don’t want anything to do with it), then everything I need will be provided at the right time. There is plenty of intense learning happening right now — gathering knowledge, discipline, experiences, relationships — even if I can’t synthesize and communicate it very well just yet.

Meanwhile, I’m sure I’ll keep posting about being a mom, when I can steal away time. I don’t want to look back and see that I failed to soak up the gift and privilege of this calling, which is abundantly clear.

watching rain

“He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents…” (Malachi 4:6)

“…He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”
(Isaiah 40:11)

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:14)

“Moses spent his first forty years thinking he was somebody. He spent his second forty years learning he was a nobody. He spent his third forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.” – Dwight L. Moody

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’” (Mark 9:35-37)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)


My just-turned-four-year-old son…

boy eating carrot 1

crawled up onto the bed one morning a few weeks ago…

boy eating carrot 2

and delivered the following tale:

“MOM!!! I just had the funniest dream about me ‘n’ Yoda! You’n me’n Yoda fought Dark Bader with huge light sabers until he was in tiny pieces, as tiny as a germ. I took his light saber away, and he fell down a hole —


— then we built a ship out of our house for the good guys. At the end, we had a humiracle party [hyoo-miracle = extra huge] for only the good guys and Yoda. And they selled huge, HUGE popsicles there. We got to eat them, but they were never, ever done. And that was my whole dream.”


I wonder if Jesus had a four-year-old nephew who prompted Him to say:

“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:3)

muddy boy

My youngest struggles to wrap his mind around the incomprehensible, humiracle size of the universe —
and with the universal sense that our lives are tiny by comparison.

“MOM! I know how to make a Milky Wave. You catapole yourself into outer space and pour milk into the sky. After 135 million years, it turns into the Milky Wave! But you would be dead before then.”

He keeps learning the difference between fact and fiction — so far retaining that priceless sense of wonder which takes a huge miracle to replace, once it’s lost.

“MOM! Everybody thinks whoever dies, you sit on clouds playing hops. That’s what people think…”

“The new earth, I don’t know how it will be like, but it will have tons of good things. No sins, no fighting, no tears, nothing bad.”

boy under umbrella

Usually while the kids are jabbering away, I have a separate train of thought running in the background (motherhood survival tactic). But when I heard these words, the train came to a screeching halt:

“MOM, how you get to heaven is you be so good….”

boy laughing


I’ve failed my youngest kid!

There are some things — like “buckle your car seat buckles” — that are non-negotiable, even for a child.

Me: Hey buddy, have you been so good?
Him (vividly remembering the last time he got in trouble): Nope!
Me: Sooo… but are you going to heaven?
Him: Nope!
Me (perplexed): Do you WANT to go to heaven?
Him: Yes!
Me (whew!): What happened to all the bad things we do?
Him: They went on Jesus when He died on the cross.
Me: Thank goodness. Yeah, Jesus took the bad things in our hearts and gave us His clean, new heart, which is what we need to get into heaven. To get a new heart, we just have to ask Him. Then —
Him (face bright and excited): I’m going to do that right now! [bowing head and whispering] Jesus, please take my bad heart and give me a clean heart!
Me: Uh… ok, then! Do you have a clean heart now?
Him (big smiles): Yep!
Me: Are you going to heaven?
Him: Yep!

When Jesus said we have to become like little children, He was answering a question about who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. We can’t even be in the Kingdom of Heaven unless we’re willing to humbly recognize that we need help getting there. No one can make it there by “being so good.” I don’t know about you, but the last time I got in trouble is a recent, vivid memory!

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Later that day, I quizzed him again — just checking:

“How you get to heaven is you get a clean heart from Jesus! And that’s my whole part I know.”

boys reading

The Kingdom of Heaven is “in our midst,” in a child. (Luke 17:21)

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
(Ezekiel 36:26-27)


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