Words dance circles in my head, on my tongue, on the page. Leaping and twirling and full of life, they want to be put down, expressed, sung, heard. And I love them. I love what they have to say. All of the stories they produce. All of the prayers they can lift. The way they can construct masterpieces.

Lines, like melodies, singing to me. They seek to encourage and empower and entertain. Like bubbles rising up from the bottom of the sea, they pop and leave marks on those they touch. My hope is that the mark they leave will be gentle and good.

Spilling forth, they come. More and more. May they not just be babble, but may they paint pictures of perfection to be given as gifts to others. And the reward for me is being able to paint with words. To be an artist that creates, not with paint or clay, but with syllables and stanzas. That is my joy.

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The Ride of Their Lives

Once upon a time there was a stay at home mom with two small children. She loved those children with all her might. She sang to them; she read to them; she made up stories for them; she put nearly every ounce of effort she had into these little people. She loved her job, but she often felt overwhelmed and felt uncertain that she was doing it well. She got no performance reviews and no raises to indicate “job well done.” So, she just kept on keeping on, hoping and praying that God would parent these kids through her.

She chose to see each birthday as an indication of success- tangible proof that she had helped them grow and achieve another year. Another 365 days that she had kept them alive! It seemed like the only measuring stick she had. Each new milestone, each new grade, became how she chose to see her work measured.

Sometimes, the days seemed so long. Long nights, long days, too short nights, endless days. Singing and touching and laughing with them, she put one foot in front of the other. In those days, the years and milestones seemed so hard to come by. There wasn’t much opportunity to see whether or not it was going well.

But then something happened. These little people began to grow into bigger people. People with opinions and humor and hopes. And the days began to go faster. Report cards came, and so many “firsts” came, and birthdays kept coming. The days became short and full- full of activities these new people had chosen for themselves. Busy days. And these bigger people brought others with them. People that also had opinions and humor and hopes. New faces filled her house and her heart. Suddenly she realized that the “firsts” were beginning to turn into “lasts,” and she didn’t want to miss a single one. So many “lasts.”

Gulp. Crack. Break.

Her heart cracked. It broke open, both with pride for who these little people were becoming, but also with pain because they were little no more. She could see them moving from little to bigger to nearly grown. It also cracked because it needed to create more room to accommodate all of the others that were being brought into the fold. More people to sing to and laugh with and love. Those cracks made more space.

This mom, she was grateful and sad all at the same time. Walking around, pride-filled and glowing, but also raw and hurting. Delighted by her children’s lives and in disbelief that it had started going so quickly. When had those long days turned into so many fast years??

Like a merry-go-round that spins faster and faster, there is so much fun to have. But rides at that speed also take your breath.

So the mom, holding on tight with both hands, tried her best to strap herself in and keep her eyes open as the ride went faster. She wanted to make sure that she didn’t miss a single thing.