Three little Monkeys

Three little Monkeys

Sunday, December 17, 2017

That Baby In the Manger

What’s Your Reason

We’ve all heard it; Jesus is the reason for the season. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head…. We’ve all sung it….. But, do we really get it? DO WE REALLY GET WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?

As an adult, I always struggle around Christmas. I have plans of what I am going to do with the kids to make sure we celebrate “The Reason for the Season.” I think as parents, we all struggle with doing the “right” thing and then struggle with “who are we doing it for.” For example, we are in Church every Sunday morning unless there is a sickness or we are out of town. We don’t miss church just because we don’t feel like going. That being said, I can promise you there are SO MANY days we get ready and show up because “it’s what we are supposed to do.” We sit through service while checking off our grocery list, making notes for what needs to be done later in the day, or making a plan for the week etc…. Some Sunday’s, we pull out of the parking lot and I don’t even look back on what I heard. I just continue my day as is it was a box I checked off for the week.
These past few weeks, I can hear Him in my heart and head…. How can you celebrate “The reason for the season” when you aren’t even putting me first every day? That hurt to type. I AM A CHRISTIAN. I GO TO CHURCH. I TEACH SUNDAY SCHOOL. 3 OF MY 4 KIDS HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS AS THEIR SAVIOR. I LOVE JESUS….. But I hear it. It is LOUD AND CLEAR. Kendall, how in the world can you find peace at Christmas, trying to teach your kids it is all about ME and you don’t live it out. Outside looking in, you got it together girl. You do everything you are “supposed” to do. And in reality, it is nothing at all. It is nothing when I step back and look at “the reason for the season.”
You always hear the analogy, “God loves us more than our parents could ever love us.” Ok, that sounds nice. But as a parent, I know how my heart literally aches for my children. Then I think about the one who created me, put me on this earth, gave me the most amazing husband, and these precious little souls that are my children. What do I do with all of that? I take it like I deserve it. I take it like it was mine to have in the first place. I take their health and well-being and I walk around with it like there is no one to thank for it. I       AM A CHRISTIAN. I GO TO CHURCH. I TEACH SUNDAY SCHOOL…. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Who cares. I can hear Him saying, “Kendall, it is not about what you are, where you go, or what you do. I just want you.”

When I think about my own children, I think, what if they said to me,  “mama, I go to school, I make good grades, I stay out of trouble, I help other people, I do good things… but I don’t want to make time to be with you.” DEVASTATED I TELL YOU. I WOULD BE DEVASTATED. This is exactly what we tell HIM. When we decide Church isn’t where we want to be on Sunday (only if you are showing up to hear the word and not make your grocery list.) We are telling HIM this when we aren’t investing HIS WORD in our children every single day. We are telling HIM this when we aren’t leading by example to our kids. We are telling HIM this when we allow ourselves to put everything else life has to offer in front of HIM. We are telling HIM this when we look at these precious souls that he has given us and take them like we deserve them.
I have friends that go to church every time the doors open and they WORSHIP HIS HOLY NAME. I also have friends that don’t go to church, and they still WORSHIP HIS HOLY NAME. This isn’t about going to church. You will never find your happiness in the Church. They are just people with flaws like the rest of the world. This is about finding your relationship with Jesus and hearing HIM, and obeying HIM. How many times do we have problems that we try to fix on our own? Every Day. How many times to we fall to our knees and beg HIM to open the truth to us? Not often enough. I love Jesus. When I say His name, it makes my heart ache like it does when I think about my kids. But the difference is,  I DO for my kids.

That Baby in the manger wasn’t put there so we would all have a story to tell. That baby was put there for US. He was born to die.   The angel told Joseph, “For He shall save His people from their sins.” Jesus wasn’t surprised by this. He knew he was born to die. Christmas really isn’t about this cute little baby born in a manger. The salvation isn’t in his birth. Jesus came to earth to reveal God to us. To teach us the truth, to offer us His kingdom, and to show us how to live and show God’s love. But those little hands and feet would one day be the same hands and feet that would have nails driven into them, so we could have life. And every single day, I take that for granted.
So, this Christmas I am challenging myself. I don’t want to just tell the story anymore… I want to live the story. I want my kids to LOVE HIM and I want them to see me LOVE HIM. Not because “it’s what we are supposed to do” but because “Mama loves him so much, she can’t help herself.”  

Friday, December 15, 2017


When I started typing this, all I could think of was John Mayer's song, "Daughters." 

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too

When Sydney was about 16 months old (right before I had Preston), she began giving us a run for our money. She was always on Sydney's time, doing what Sydney felt like she needed to do. When she was not happy about a situation, all she needed to do was pop two paci's in her mouth, while hold a third and flipping the nipple with her finger. You knew life was about to go down... Isn't that silly? I was intimidated by a 16 month old. She did this until she was about 3. I remember thinking, "I thought girls were supposed to be easier than boys!!!" 

As Sydney has gotten older, some of her strong willed traits have stayed as strong as they were the day she flipped her pacis. But a lot of her personality has softened up. I see myself in her every single day. I am pretty sure I was (and maybe still am) just as strong willed as she was (and is). When we butt heads, it's usually because I already know what she's thinking before she ever gets there. But man, I tell you.... I have fallen more in love with her So far, age 9 is going down as my favorite age.

Having three boys, I tend to put myself in a position where I am doing a lot of stuff for the boys. Sydney has taken the back seat quite often the past few years. She has always been there with us, but we've focused a lot of time on the boys activities. It is easier to bring a girl to a ball field than it is a boy to a pageant. It is easier to bring a girl to a basketball court than it is to bring three boys to a swim meet.... It is just honest and it is easier. Sometimes it is hard to do the hard things. Even though Sydney has participated in these things, the fuss has always been more about getting her to watch them than to get them to watch her. 

The other night,Sydney and I were talking and she asked me when she could do another pageant. I knew she had a good time, and I knew she had enjoyed all of the activities that have come with it, but I didn't think she would want to do another one. So, I asked why she liked it so much. Without hesitation, she held my hand and said, "because I loved having you to myself mama. And I loved it being just you and me." I let her know how much I loved that too. 

The past few months, it has been obvious that she has been drawn to me a little more than usual. She will ask me if her and I can do things alone, and tells me she enjoys being around me. MAMA'S,  let me say this.... soak it all in... Even though I don't ever remember a time I didn't want to be around my Mama, I know a time will come when I am aggravating to her.  I know one day, I will reach over to snuggle her close at night, and she will not want me in her bed. And I know in about 9 years from now, I will walk in her room and the mess won't be there and the bed will be made and instead I will have to call her while she is away at college. 

I have a tendency to NOT live in the moment. I let life get me frazzled and I get caught up in our day and I am not always remembering to just STOP and soak in what I have in front of me. But I am trying. I am trying to be more aware that these days with her (and my boys) are fleeting and one day, there will be no little girl to take to softball or a swim meet. There will be no little girl to ask me to lay her down, or braid her hair or to go through the starbucks drive through so she can get a frozen drink she won't even like. One day, she will be writing something like this about her little girl, and I hope she remembers how to love because SHE was loved. 

My Mama is by far the best Mama that God ever made. (sorry folks, you probably thought yours was.) She cuddled me, scratched my back, went through Bojangles to get a large french fry to share with me at 9pm at night, just because I asked her to. She would ride me around to see all of my friends, let me have endless sleepovers and she never cared about the mess we made. I believe that is why I always love being with her, and I have never been tired of her. She had rules, but she and my daddy made life fun... Never stressful.... and NEVER EVER EVER EVER let "life" and the stresses of life get ahead of how they loved us. I pray every day to be that parent to my kids. I pray even more so that Sydney feels that way about me one day. Even though I fail daily at being her Mama, she is so forgiving, and she is the best daughter I could have ever asked for. I will continue to strive to be the Mama that she will one day want to be too. 

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too

Monday, July 31, 2017

Middle School... and all the emotions that come with it....

Last night was a pretty restless night... Cole was anxious about a new school year, a new school,  new friends, and all of the possibilities that come with middle school. Will he know where home room is? Will he know how to change his schedule? Will he know where his new classes are when he changes his schedule? What if he misses the bus home??? Finally, he fell asleep, only to wake up at 6am telling me he needed to start his day.

My anxiety was over some of the same things, but mostly over watching this time pass us by so very fast! Will he still want to tell me things? Will he still want me to tuck him in at night? Will he still want that one last hug? Will he hold my hand on the way to school? Will he grow up as fast as he has already grown up? How do parents do this? How do they grow with them? I mean... I JUST dropped him off for his first day of kindergarten! See! Remember this! It was JUST YESTERDAY!

Today was a little different... I didn't get to walk him in, or wave good bye! He was ready before 7 and pacing the floor. My Cole is so handsome. He makes me so happy. He is so responsible, He loves his friends, he loves his family, he loves Jesus... He just Loves... and I love him. This beautiful beautiful boy stole my heart almost 12 years ago. He still steals it Every.Single.Day... How did I ever get so lucky? I will never know... But I do know that I spent a majority of my day thinking about him and wondering what he would be doing next. I can't wait to get him off of the school bus. I am sure he will be a little more confident as each day passes.

Mama's.... Don't blink. Don't let a day go by wishing you would have done something differently. Just do it. Before you know it, you will be sending them off to the next stage of their lives and wondering how it all passed you by.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Love You More.....

We choose our reactions. That kind of hurts... We choose our reactions...I am the first to fly off of the handle over spilled milk. I am the first to see upside down mattresses in a room of laughter and immediately start losing my cool over who did it and why it was done. I am the first to take out my bad days on Chad when he walks in the door. I am the first to say NO when one of my kids asks me to do something at bedtime.... I choose my reaction...I choose to let life get in the way of living most days. I have to talk myself out of saying NO often. I choose to let one inconvenience ruin my day. I choose to say Yes when I should have said NO and become easily overwhelmed. I then, in turn, make my inconvenience my family's  problem. I choose my reactions...

Clearly this has been on my mind a lot lately. I tend to analyze and over analyze. But one thing I believe I could never analyze too much is, how can I be a better mom/wife/friend... How can I teach my children to be better siblings/children/friends.... How can I teach them not to let life get in the way of living.... These are things I often wonder... I have been trying to make a conscientious effort to be better at choosing my reactions... I haven't mastered it, especially when it comes to taking out my bad days on Chad...But I am doing all I know how. I often tell myself to relax, leave the beds unmade, the dishes can wait... My brain doesn't work that way. It just doesn't. So instead, I have invited my kids into my madness, and it has been a ride. I have loved watching Tate crack eggs while helping me cook, watching Preston say he doesn't know how to make a bed, while making it to perfection. Watching Sydney measure out just enough water for the rice, and watching Cole straighten up messes he didn't even make. They love the time with me, and they love that my reaction is thankful, not harsh. But there are things I want them to always know...

I will choose to LOVE YOU MORE than the messes you make.

I will choose to LOVE YOU MORE than my bad days.

I will choose to LOVE YOU MORE than saying No to the memories we can make.

I will choose to LOVE YOU MORE than doing the chores alone.

I pray I will teach you to choose to say I LOVE YOU MORE than being without you.

When you ask me to play in the water with you, I choose to LOVE YOU MORE than sitting out to watch.

I LOVE YOU MORE than the sands on the beach, the stars in the sky and counting to infinity, infinity times. 

We choose our reactions... WE CHOOSE OUR REACTIONS.... No one makes us react the way we do. We teach our children to own their actions, and we must too. We choose our reactions.... I choose to LOVE YOU MORE. 💗