My Baby Turns 10 Tomorrow

When Maddie turned 10 we went to see Wicked in Chicago. When Chloe turned 10 we went to a Cubs game in Chicago. When Katie turned 10 we went to Medieval Times in Dallas. Now it’s Millie’s turn. Tomorrow we’re headed to Great Wolf Lodge.

Millie is the caboose of our runaway train and she’s always been rather go-with-the-flow. She’s never complained about this and generally just accepts anything we ask her to because that’s what the 4th born does, right?

She’s been so excited about this trip, though. Almost uncharacteristically excited. And for the longest time I had no idea what we were going to do. My original intention was to take each girl to Chicago, get her ears pierced, check out the American Girl store, see their first Broadway play, and just hang around the city together. That plan changed when it was Chloe’s turn because there wasn’t anything playing that weekend that was appropriate to take her to. Turns out, taking her to a Cubs game fit her personality better anyway. We moved to Oklahoma City after that which took Chicago out of the equation because these trips have to be quick turn-arounds. There’s nothing quick about getting from Oklahoma City to Chicago and back, so Dallas became the default. Again, I looked up theater options and came up pretty dry when it was Katie’s turn. Medieval Times ended up being a huge highlight for her and she still talks about it now.

So in the end, what we ended up doing coincided pretty perfectly with each girls’ preference and persona anyway. That’s part of the reason I was starting to get worried about this trip with Millie…what if I didn’t find the perfect destination match for her? I racked my brain. What are her favorite things to do anyway? Watch movies and swim.

Swim.

The girl loves Great Wolf Lodge. I asked her what she would think about going there and that being the THING. She lit up like the sun. Bingo! And then I worried because that place isn’t cheap and most of the deals I found still didn’t make sense for a party of 2. My patience was rewarded, though, because eventually I landed a deal for 2 that would make it not that much more than staying in another nice hotel would have been. We’ll still get her ears pierced and check out the American Girl store, but we won’t be doing much in the city while we’re there because we’ll be tubing down slides almost the whole time.

She made a paper chain 30 days ago and was so giddy today that there was only one day left. And you know what? This trip is coming at a good time. I’m looking forward to the get-away with her as well. I’m hoping it’s as meaningful as the other trips have been. I’m also hoping it’s super fun. And I’m also hoping it’s pretty restful.

Here’s to my fourth tenth birthday trip, this one with my baby. Man, I love these girls.

Yearbook Teacher

I taught the first yearbook class for 2013-2014 for The Academy of Classical Christian Studies today. I haven’t been on a yearbook staff since my junior year of high school and, well, let’s just say the technology has changed a little since then. My class is very small and due to unique circumstances we’re actually holding the class here at my house instead of at the school. We only had one student officially sign up for yearbook this year, so we kind of twisted the arms of Maddie and Chloe to do it again since they both did it last year. Once I found out the other student lived closer to us than the school it made all kinds of sense for us to just do the class here. Baby T slept upstairs through almost the whole thing. I did decide about an hour before the class started that perhaps it would be best to change out of my pajamas. So I did.

It was a good first class and we made a lot more progress than I expected on the first day. I think we’ve nailed down a theme and we made good process in learning to navigate the design website (Entourage Yearbooks). I think we have one or two more weeks on technical stuff including web and actual copy writing and then we’ll be good to go on starting page design. We’re off like a herd of turtles.

What are you risking for the gospel?

In 30 minutes I’m heading to Tulsa to tell our foster care stories at the Oklahoma Foster Care Forum.

The oft-quoted Jerry Seinfeld said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

I’m not sure how true this is, but I do know that later on this morning I will be in Tulsa standing up in front of a large-ish crowd at the Tulsa version of the Oklahoma Foster Care Forum. And I will sort of wish I was dead.

Speaking in front of crowds has never been something I’ve aspired to. I’m much more comfortable behind a computer screen or in a living room. So when I was asked last April to speak at the Oklahoma City version of the Oklahoma Foster Care Forum I suggested that Craig and I do it together instead, knowing that if Craig was there I would default and make him do the bulk of the speaking. That plan didn’t work out, though, and I found myself with 2,155 type written words tucked inside a purple folder with white flowers on it, willing myself to stand up in front of a bunch of people I’d never seen before (and a few I see all the time) and not die.

Fast forward to after that event – I did not die. I also didn’t turn into John “Golden Mouth” Chrysostom or anything. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do ever, but it really didn’t kill me either, so there’s that. I think my comfort level increased by the fact that the topic I was presenting on was one about which I am passionate. I’m generally quiet by nature, but if you start asking me about the foster care crisis in Oklahoma, I suddenly build a soapbox and jump up on it. Because we really do have a foster care crisis in Oklahoma and I think most of us are content to defer to our preference for convenience as a way to excuse our lack of involvement in the biblical mandate to care for widows and orphans.

Speaking on the topic of foster care is one thing, but sometimes it takes more than rhetoric to show you believe something to be true; sometimes it takes getting your hands dirty. Sometimes it means getting buried in what feels like a grave of bureaucracy in order to be available to do the necessary thing to which God calls His Church. Sometimes it means providing meals and meeting needs for other families who have given themselves to the task. And sometimes it means being willing to die to self in front of a large group of people and take a personal risk at the gain of stirring the heart of even one more family toward the cause of foster care.

Because some things require sacrifice, be it time, money, public speaking, or all of the above; for me, foster care has become that thing.

All of us are called to die to ourselves for the sake of the gospel. The oft-quoted Luke 9:23-25 reminds us, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” The question is, what does that cross look like? It should look a lot more like work gloves than Facebook status updates. It should feel more scary than safe. And it should come from conviction not condemnation.

Because that’s how the gospel works.