Thankful. And a plea.

I’m finally sitting down tonight with a bowl of ice cream and a beautiful cupcake delivered to my doorstep by dear friends this morning. It’s time for me to exhale and to process today and ice cream and chocolate cupcakes help me do that.

If you follow me on social media, you know that our oldest daughter Alaina, who turns 13 in just two days, was hit by a car while riding her bike to school this morning. She is okay. Banged up and scraped up with a black eye and really sore. But ALIVE. By the grace of God, she’s ALIVE and not seriously injured.Alaina ER

Ever since 7:43 am my mind has been racing with “what could have happened.” Getting a call that your daughter has been hit by a car makes for a daunting 6 block drive to the accident scene. Pulling up to see police cars and an ambulance is even more daunting. Seeing your daughter sitting on the sidewalk, beaten up, but ALIVE, is a breathtaking thing.

I don’t need to list the things that could have happened to Alaina that rolled through my mind today. You know them all. She had been wearing a helmet and following traffic signals as she should have been. But a driver, who was going to be late for work, was more concerned about making up time than fully obeying traffic laws and turned right on a red light without stopping, right into her at a busy intersection.

All he had to do was come to a complete stop at the light. It was red. All he had to do was stop as he is supposed to do by law and he wouldn’t have hit her. He was late, misinterpreted the situation and blew threw the light. His mistake could have taken my daughter’s life.

We’ve all been there. Running late to work or school or dinner and we quickly scan the traffic and make snappy decisions. The problem is that often our scanning of a situation is incorrect. We don’t see that person out of the corner of our eye. Or the car who has the right of way pulling out in front of us. OR THE CHILD ON THE BIKE RIDING TO SCHOOL.

My plea to you is to SLOW. DOWN. Please please please. I promise you that being 3 minutes late to work is better than being an hour late to work, being in trouble with the law and replaying the memory of you hitting a child with your car over and over in your head and having no idea if that child is okay.

Even if you don’t think you’re near a school, kids walk and ride bikes to school from a mile away each and every single day. Every single intersection is an intersection that a child might be going through on the way to school.

To the gentleman who hit Alaina this morning: we know you didn’t do it on purpose and we forgive you. It has placed a fear in our home that we won’t soon be rid of and a pit in my stomach that I won’t likely stop feeling for a long time.

And to the gentleman who was behind the driver who hit Alaina: thank you for stopping and being a witness and telling the police what happened. And for trying to be helpful to the kids who were riding with Alaina.

And to all of our family and friends who have come over, texted, emailed, responded over social media and to our school and school family, who showed up on the scene and texted me all morning – we feel so so loved and cared for and supported in ways that have far exceeded our expectations. We love you all. And couldn’t have made it through today as amazingly as we have without your support.

And God is good, friends. He protected Alaina and for that I am thankful.

We’re moving north!!

If you know me at all, you know that for the last 3+ years I’ve been searching for our next home. Not just a house even, but really trying to figure out where we belong in this city we call home. Where we feel God is calling us to live and love.

Many houses have come and gone. Really amazing houses and neighborhoods where I imagined us living and growing. Contracts signed and everything. And then something would happen and the contract would fall through. None of those houses worked. Some of those houses even came around for second tries and didn’t work again.

I was getting frustrated. Feeling like we wanted something cheaper (we bought this house when we only had Alaina and maybe would have one more… hahahaha…) and something that fit our (bigger than planned 10 years ago) family better but nothing panning out. I prayed and prayed and felt led every time and every time questioned what the heck was “THE” plan if this wasn’t it.

Well my friends, I now know. We’re buying a new house, closing in just 11 short days (fingers crossed) and I can’t wait to share the journey with you! Here’s a picture of the house we’ll make our new home.New House BEFORE

Want to know where it is?

Right next door. To the north of our adjacent lot. :)

It’s perfect. We get to stay in our neighborhood that we love and we get to keep our yard that we love by swapping the fence to the other side of the yard.

I’ll share more about the details of the house and our plans shortly, but I wanted to give you a quick insight into one reason why I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

And now I’m off to bed so that I can spend tomorrow at the State Fair. It’s the most wonderful time of year…

So on to tomorrow…

I guess I took a sabbatical. Yeah, let’s call it that.

It’s been three months since I’ve written. Not purposefully. I mean, a little bit on purpose because I wasn’t going to post just to post. So here I am really just posting to post. Heh. ;)

I’m going to start writing again. Instead of starting posts in my head and not following through, I’ll at least attempt to write them down here. I stopped writing because I was doing just that – starting to write, but then it wouldn’t flow and it sounded trite and forced so I clicked “x” and went back to Facebook.

It’s crazy to think how much has happened in the last three months. School ended. Which is totally crazy in itself, not because it’s over, but because this year I’ll have three kids in school (Lucas is starting pre-K!). And even crazier is that next week I’ll start calling HIGH SCHOOLS to set up shadow dates for Alaina. HIGH. FREAKING. SCHOOL. I’m not old enough to have a high school student, right? (Tell me I’m right or never read this blog again.)

We had our only summer vacation. We spent an amazing week with family and basically family and I’m so thankful that we get to go on a beach vacation each year.IMG_7897GirlsIMG_7916IMG_7928IMG_7814

Except it ended with Isaac in the ER in Myrtle Beach on our last night there, requiring 10 stitches. So there’s that. 10418866_10152999104092199_4480955861232987440_n

There’s only a month left until school starts again and that seems scary. Again… HIGH. FREAKING. SCHOOL. shadow appointments.

We’re also in the middle of trying to buy a new house. If it works I’ll give you more details. Pray it works. This is the third house in as many years that we’ve tried to buy. I felt right away that this house was the reason the other two fell through. But it’s never easy, right? ;)

So on to tomorrow. And I’ll be writing more. Because it’s good for me. Tonight I actually thought I’d write about how horribly hard today was with the kids and how I texted Adam at one point and told him that I was “done with all of our planned children.” Instead I got to scroll through the pictures I haven’t looked at for a month and watch “The Bachelorette” and write to you. I mean, what’s better than that?

I am a free-range parent.

We live on the north side of downtown Indy. There are builders selling $600k+ homes on my block. There are thriving schools in my neighborhood. A street scene bursting with trendy, small, local eateries and businesses.Pretty neighborhood

There is also a Pathway to Recovery house in our neighborhood. There are strangers walking the sidewalks all day and all night. Sometimes they even knock on our door at night or rummage through our trash cans for things that aren’t trash to them. I have called the police to report expected drug sales in one of the apartments in the house north of ours. I have heard gunshots more times than I can count in the almost 10 years we’ve lived in this house.

We chose to live here because it’s diverse. It’s urban. It’s close to work and school and friends and fun. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable. That’s a good thing.

We let our kids walk to the park. Without us.

We let them ride their bikes around the block. Without us.

We let them play in the backyard for hours. Without us.

We let them ride their bikes to school. Past a run-down Dollar General, an even more run-down Family Dollar and don’t forget the corner liquor store. Crossing three busy streets besides the five normal city streets on the way.

And let me tell you, if someone EVER calls CPS reporting my children doing any of those things, I will fight back with everything I have. I’m warning you now. BRING. IT.

Let me repeat that we CHOSE to live in the city. Where it’s diverse and different and not perfect. And since we’ve made this choice, we’re also raising our kids with street smarts that most children significantly lack these days. I’m not talking inner-city, ghetto street smarts. I’m talking the street smarts we all grew up with that used to be NORMAL. No one called our parents “free range” back then.

Remember when we played outside till it was dark? Alone? Our parents didn’t even really know where we were, just that we were in the neighborhood (because that was our boundary area) and we’d be back by the time the street lights came on. We made friends with the kids riding their bikes through our streets and could tell if they were “good kids” or “bad kids” all on our own. No one was calling CPS on any of us for being out alone.

I can’t wait to see the young ladies and gentlemen that my kids become! Because they are being raised as independent kids who understand living in a diverse area and are learning how to have fun without me (GASP!) and be smart about and kind to the people in our ‘hood (GASP!) and get dirty in the dirt (GASP!)Dirty and climb to the top of the playset and go down the big-kid slide before they’re two (GASP!) Top of the slideand they can get dressed by themselves and put on their own shoes and can actually carry on a REAL! LIFE! CONVERSATION! with an adult!

My kids don’t need me (or for that matter, want me) to hold their hands all the time. They have a kind of independence that makes them feel confident in who they are and where we live. We aren’t dumb – we know there are dangers in our community, just like there are in yours. (Can you even believe that a teen was stabbed in Fishers?! And you thought that only happened in the hood right by mine, didn’t you? ;) ) That’s why we teach our kids to stay together and to know the signs of things that aren’t safe.

But tonight, my 8 year-old chose to hold my hand walking into Walmart. She knows what to be scared of.

Plus, who has the energy to be a helicopter parent anyways? Phew. I’m tired enough letting my kids do everything on their own…

 

 

Religious Freedom & Jesus

Oh friends, it’s interesting once again to be living in Indiana. It’s finally Spring and it is was 26 degrees this morning. Tomorrow’s high is 64 and then it’s supposed to drop back down to 36 for a few days before it gets back to “normal” temps.

But that forecast is actually pretty normal for the beginning of Spring in Indiana.

What has been interesting this last week is this controversial religious freedom bill that has passed through the state Senate and House and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor this week. I will say upfront that I’m not well-versed enough on the bill to comment about whether I agree with it or not. All I’ve read is what has been in the news and part of the actual bill I tried to read last night but couldn’t get past the first two pages of legal verbiage that confused me more than anything. I will also say upfront that I don’t believe people should be denied service because of their sexual preference or their physical appearance.

But what I want to talk about tonight are the responses I’m reading all over social media about the passing of the bill. Most people are outraged. Most people disagree with the bill. Many are kind of freaking out about it. Many are talking about the fiscal ramifications of this bill due to companies, conventions, etc. pulling out of deals with Indiana directly because of this bill.

But more importantly, the response that has bashed my God.

See, my biggest issue with the bill (as I’ve read) is that it’s about RELIGION. It’s not about Jesus. And that’s what I want to stress : IT’S NOT ABOUT JESUS. My God, My Jesus, he didn’t cover his ass with a religious freedom bill so he wouldn’t lose his business by getting sued because he wouldn’t bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. He loved his neighbors. Even if he didn’t agree with their actions. He loved them. He ate with them.

He wouldn’t have turned away a young unmarried couple who were expecting a baby together.

He wouldn’t have turned away someone who didn’t believe and act exactly as he did.

He wouldn’t have turned away me. A sinner for so many reasons.

Do you see now that this bill isn’t about my God? It’s about people who are afraid of people who are different. It’s about those who don’t know how to love others well. People who are misguided about what God’s love is and how they should pass it along.

So today I might not be proud of this religious freedom bill, but I will be proud of who I know Jesus to be and how he loved so well. And how he calls us to love just the same. So love well friends. If we love others well, regardless of our differences, everything will work itself out.

And businesses owned by people who don’t love well will fail. Of that I am sure.

Calling foul play on the 2015 NCAA selection committee

Remember when I told you how much we love college basketball and March Madness? Well, tonight I’m calling foul play on the NCAA selection committee.

(And not because IU actually made the tournament. That’s a whole other question in itself. And yes, I am an IU graduate and fan and I even don’t understand how they made it.)

Indiana is known for basketball. It’s a great thing for the state and it’s super fun to be part of. Especially when the championship Final Four takes place in your city and there’s so much fun happening. (Go Indy!!) But what isn’t super fun is when the selection committee puts ALL FIVE Indiana teams in the SAME region. And on top of that, puts them in the same region as Kentucky, the tourney favorite and outright number one team in the nation.

Selection committee following their placement of all 5 Indiana teams in the same Region. With Kentucky: "Yay! We did it! We found another way to make more money!"

Selection committee following their placement of all 5 Indiana teams in the same Region. With Kentucky: “Yay! We did it! We found another way to make more money!”

IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Valparaiso and Butler – all Indiana schools in the big dance. All seeded in the Midwest region of the bracket. That’s 5 of the 16 teams in the Midwest region being Indiana teams (and 100% of Indiana teams I will remind you). And by the looks of it, not a single one of them will advance to the Final Four (remember, taking place in their own state) unless they beat an undefeated Kentucky team.

You may be thinking “But none of the Indiana teams could make it to the Final Four anyway!” But I think you’re wrong. Notre Dame has only lost 5 games this season, is ranked 11th in the nation and won the ACC title. Notre Dame has a legitimate chance at making it to the Final Four. And how amazing would it be to play in your state?! Just a couple hours south of campus?!

But see, that’s exactly it. While the NCAA doesn’t release financial information about ticket sales and host city revenues from the Final Four tournament, it’s OBVIOUS that having at least one local school in your Final Four is going to bring in less money than if Kentucky and Duke are battling it out in your city. Because those fans have to (AND WILL) drive and stay overnight, eat, drink and play in your city for the ENTIRE weekend. But Notre Dame fans could easily commute for a game or stay with family and friends who live in Indy, drastically decreasing the amount of money spent in Indy and on NCAA merchandise.

What other reason does the selection committee have for putting ALL FIVE INDIANA TEAMS IN THE SAME REGION? And with KENTUCKY? It seems pretty black and white to me.

Or maybe GREEN is a better color comparison…

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut.

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut. It’s often based off of what I think I should be. Or who I think I should be. Or what I think I should do. Or who someone else thinks I should be.

  • I should be skinnier.
  • I should be trendier.
  • I should be Godlier.
  • I should be a better mom.
  • I should be a better housekeeper.
  • I should be a better wife.
  • I should work out more so I can have a hot body. {It’s okay to laugh. I did.}
  • I should play with my kids more.
  • I should not eat that chocolate so I can have a hot body.
  • You’re too conservative. Boring.
  • You should work more.
  • You should work less.
  • You should have a hot body.

I get so tired of who I SHOULD be that I forget about who I AM. And sometimes it’s the smallest little things that bring me back to reality.

This morning I took the boys to the Children’s Museum for the member’s preview of their new Transformers exhibit. (Which is amazing and fun by the way. You should totally go.) The boys and I had a blast together. And then after a late lunch because we were at the museum for so long, I finally got the boys down for a nap and sat down to relax for the first time all day.

Then I hear Lucas in the bathroom “Mommy, will you wipe me?”

It really is the best part of being a mom, am I right?

So I begrudgingly walk upstairs and wipe his butt and as he’s walking out of the bathroom he turns around, flashes a sweet and sincere smile and simply says “Mommy, I love you.”

Photo credit: Eric Learned

Photo credit: Eric Learned

See there aren’t many times right now in parenthood when I’m super excited to be a mom of four kids ranging in ages from almost 13 to almost 2. (Yes, I have two kids who are entering horribly scary ages AT THE SAME TIME.) It’s hard and tiring and NOT fantastic most of the time. I feel like escaping to something easier more times than I’d prefer to admit.

But here’s the thing: this is real life. Real (often tough) relationships with real people. (Kids are people too, right? I have to remind myself of that a lot.) Living fully in mercy and truth. And I love it. I love my community and the girlfriends who I can turn to when this real life seems too much to handle. Because the alternative to me is just sad. And lonely. And I can’t imagine more sadness or more loneliness than I already feel during rough times. (Like the whole month of stupid February in Indiana.)

So today I remind myself to be happy with who I am, rather than who I should be. Because I’m making a difference and I’m important. And it’s okay to want to add parts of those other things to my life as long as I don’t get lost in them. As long as I hold tight to the truth of who God has created me to be.

And it’s almost Spring. I remind myself that it’s almost Spring and that gives me hope of life again. :)