Micah 6:6-8

"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously-take God seriously."







Thursday, January 26, 2017

If

If you marched this weekend, but don't know anyone who didn't,

If you didn't march, and don't know anyone who did,

If you voted for Hillary and don't know anyone who voted for Trump,

If you voted for Trump and don't know anyone who voted for Hillary,

If you are against abortion and have never talked with someone who had one,

If you are pro-choice and have never spoken with someone who isn't,

If you want to force all the illegal immigrants out of America, but you have never looked one of those people in the eye,

If you think America should open it's doors wide, but haven't spoken to a victim of terror,

If you have no idea what started the conflict in Syria,

If you have never considered how it must feel to be a refugee,

If you are a strong supporter of marriage equality and haven't talked with someone who disagrees with you,

If you believe there should only be heterosexual relationships, but have no friends who are homosexuals,

If you are Muslim, or Christian, or Jewish, or an Atheist, or any other belief or non belief, but have no meaningful conversations with a person of a differing view,

If you don't like judgmental Christians, but realize you don't actually know a believer,

If you think only Christians know the way and you have spoken to no one who challenges that,

If you only read articles from The Huffington Post,

If you only watch Fox News,

If your only source of news is friends on your Facebook feed,

Then I must simply tell you this:

You are the problem.

Not the government, not the church, not religions, not extremist, not liberals, not conservatives.

It's you.

And some days it's me.

When we take a side and cling to it so tightly that we don't engage in conversations with people on the other side, we become the extremist.

When we can't even think of one friend who would sit at the table with us and eat dinner, even though we disagree, we become the terrorist.

When we make grand statements, without so much as a thought as to how it feels to someone else, we become the clanging cymbal that no one hears.

If you will allow me to speak about Jesus; He shattered all preexisting stereotypes. He was so radical because He went to the table, He found the people in the margins, He included the world, and He spoke to people on the other side.

We are given the beautiful story of the woman caught in adultery being drug to Jesus, we know all of those who brought her left. Why? Because Jesus asked them to throw that rock, if they have never sinned. One by one they left. Don't forget the next part. When Jesus did correct her, no one else was around to hear it. Jesus loved her too much to leave her as she was. He called her out, to a better life, to a life filled with Him. He did so, after all her accusers left.

So no matter what side of any debate you are on, just know that if you are the one dragging people around in the dirt, you won't get to see any outcomes.

If you love those on the other side of any debate, it is a win for everyone. Do you know what Jesus saw when He sat down at Zaccheaus' table? He saw a person. A person who He valued because He valued lives. All lives.

Get to the table. Get to someone on the other side. Have coffee. Hear their stories. Allow both of you to be challenged.

Here is what I have been challenged with lately. And here is my question for all of us.

What belief do I currently have that I am wrong about?

No one can be right about everything.

Therefore, I currently believe something that is wrong.

What is it?

"If we agree on everything, one of us is unnecessary" (I don't know where this quote is from, but it's a favorite in our marriage).

If we all think much harder about the ways in which we could be wrong, instead of clinging to all the ways in which we believe we are right, it could be the game changer.

No matter which side of all the many debates you have found yourself a part of; rest assured that each of us are wrong somewhere.

How blessed are we? How can we possibly bless others?

What change starts inside of you today?


~If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (I Corinthians 13
)

Use your voice. Don't be an echo...

Just Love.



















Thursday, October 27, 2016

"God Bless America, and no place else" ~Head of State

I have two kids. I love them both so very much. Although they have drastically different talents and interests, I strive to invest in both of their lives in meaningful ways. I dare say that if I had a favorite, if I only loved one of them, it would be considered abuse.

I have known for a while now that American Christianity looks different from the rest of the world's. This election has magnified those differences to amazing scales. I've read blogs that suggest Jesus is for a platform or an agenda. I've heard Jesus reduced to a small political judge, holding a Supreme Court Gavel. And just today, oh today, I read something that suggested it is not enough that God will still sit on His throne after the election. Seriously? Is there anything more threatening than God no longer being God? Clinton is that scary? Trump is that bad? Can we please reframe?

I'm going to say something. It's HUGE. It's shattering. It's way crazier than classified email and bus conversations. It's very radical and might alter the world.

God. He actually loves the world. To say that He cares about American politics makes about as much sense as believing that I'm concerned about who is the ringleader at the local circus. I mean, I guess I care, but I'm a little more focused on other tasks at the moment.

We are all God's children. The Iraqi muslim? God's kid. The Syrian refugee? God's child. The Afghani woman? Still His. The homeless in Haiti? Also His. You? Yep. Me? Thank the Lord, yes.

God doesn't just love America. Therefore, I have to believe He is also invested in those Mexicans we are trying to keep out. I honestly read something today that said, "God is looking for heroes to rise up and-by His power-intervene to save America". I'm sorry Mario Murillo. God isn't looking for a hero. God always has been the hero. He always will be the Hero. David and Goliath? God's the hero. Daniel and the lions, still God. Elijah and the prophets of Baal? Pretty sure, God started that fire.

God isn't trying to save America. He wants to save the world. If America has to crumble for the world to know Him, then America doesn't stand a chance. Nor should it. The political stance of the Pharisees looking for a leader to overthrow the government didn't work out well for them. It will not end well for us either.

One of my favorite authors challenged me deeply with a truth I will never forget. When we are tempted to claim God's promises for our lives, it needs to pass a simple test. "Here it is, If it isn't also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn't true. If a sermon promises health and wealth to the faithful, it isn't true, because that makes God an absolute monster who only blesses rich westerners and despises Christians in Africa, India, China, South America, Russia, rural Appalachia, inner-city America, and everywhere else a sincere believer remains poor. If it isn't also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn't true". ~Jen Hatmaker

There is only one God. The American president isn't Him, won't be Him, and doesn't represent Him. Maybe God is deeply focused on the needs of this poor mom in Haiti and His concern is not about my need. Since, I'm typing this on a computer from the comfort of my living room, maybe God's concern is my lack of concern for the poor?

Want another crazy idea? God loves Hillary and He loves Donald. He loves them the same amount that He loves Obama and Putin. Since He doesn't play favorites, He loves you exactly that much as well. He loves me too. Wrap your mind around that.

I've looked and looked and looked again. It definitely says, "For God so loves the world". Maybe if we took our eyes off the circus and beyond our borders, we could work with a Hero. We might just realize we are all His favorites.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Trump made me realize I'm a racist.

I never considered myself a racist. I believe I treat people equally. I have friends of all races and backgrounds. I've taught my children that people are people who deserve to be treated as, people.

Yet, I've had this restlessness recently. A feeling that something is missing. That I'm working a puzzle I didn't even realize was in front of me. I couldn't figure out what the picture was and I certainly wasn't sure how many pieces I had to work with.

Several years ago, I sat with a group of friends in a small Italian restaurant. A male in our group was making derogatory statements. Some would say I am a strong female that can easily defend myself. I sat beside a woman who I considered stronger and more articulate than me. She and I confronted this man about his comments. He continued to escalate. Eventually, he was yelling and others were staring. She and I weren't backing down either.

I got in my car feeling defeated, belittled, and confused. I was not the least bit shocked by this man's comments. He has proven to me over and over again that he does not hold women in high esteem. He didn't really rattle me. What I was genuinely shocked by was the other men in our group. Strong men. Christian men. Good men. Who sat with us and said nothing. Absolutely nothing. When I spoke with one of them later, I asked why. He seemed surprised at my question. He said that he knew my friend and I were strong and weren't going to allow him to bully us. He thought we "handled" the situation well. He said he knew how independent we are and didn't think we needed defending. As we talked, I was able to communicate to him that his lack of participation did not communicate my strength. It communicated a message to the man that the other men in our group thought he was right. We learned a little more about communication that day.

Flash forward to years later. I witnessed a conversation between two men. So derogatory. So inflammatory. So embarrassing. It wasn't about me, but it was about my gender. Again, these were two people who I naively thought would be a defender of women. As I confronted them, I was shocked. They too considered this "just talk". Their perceived inability to understand how hurtful their words were made no sense to me.

Now we have Trump. Trump and his "locker room" conversation. For the record, he didn't just say "mean" things. He said he assaulted women. He said he grabs them. He doesn't wait, he just starts kissing them. He said he can do anything. I find myself yet again, not shocked that he said this. I often remember the quote from Maya Angelou, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time". Trump has demonstrated over and over that he has little use for any person that does not offer direct benefit to him. What I am surprised by, are all the men sitting at the table. Saying nothing. I don't just expect Christian men to come to our defense, where are all the good guys? Just regular good men? Why is it so silent? I recognize that some evangelical leaders are citing "years ago" and "he asked for forgiveness". In other words, "We have a platform to push and agendas to manage so lets just call him saved and move on from this". There is a constant call to remember that the next President will elect the Supreme court justices and we cannot allow Hilary to do this. I agree, I don't want her picking them either. Can we just at least acknowledged that Trump has not shown any wisdom, discernment, or ability to make a smart choice. People say pro life. Do you not know that Trump used to be pro choice? Are we so convinced that he is really pro life now? Could he just be saying that to buy the Christian vote? Have we even considered this? His life does not reflect value to an entire gender. What if he made that girl he grabbed and took pregnant? Do we really think he would suddenly treat her decently? Would he still be pro life?

Silence.

I'm not asking for people to support Clinton. I get it, I'm not a fan. For the love of our Heavenly Father, stop defending this man. Your defense says he is right. Your defense says it's ok.

Then, my own personal epiphany. As a white female, I haven't really understood the black lives matter movement. I haven't felt the need to be involved, because, as I said, I didn't think I was a racist. Now, with Trump's help, with the help of silent good men, I think I'm getting it. Since I haven't said anything, since I didn't rush to defend our African American friends, because I was silent, I gave the perception that it was ok. I am deeply sorry.

Moving forward, I will speak up when it is wrong. If I see someone in the store simply being mean because of race, I will ask them to stop. If I see an injustice, I will stand with you and call it that. I will admit there is a problem and I will work towards solutions.

I've learned that simply having black friends and loving all people in my personal life is not enough.

If I have a seat at the table, I will defend you and speak up when needed.

Jesus met this woman at a well. This Samaritan woman. This woman who lived an immoral life. A woman who was living with a man who wasn't her husband. He spoke to her. He offered her living water. When the disciples saw him talking to her, "they were amazed that He had been speaking with the woman, yet no one said 'What do you seek?' or 'Why do you speak with her?'" From this woman, who ran and told the city, many people were saved.

Let me take some liberty here and imagine the scene today. A Muslim Syrian female refugee now lives here. She can't gain legal status because all of her personal information is in Syria. She's at the store, at night, trying not to draw attention to herself. She is shunned and ignored because of the "garb" on her head. She turns the corner and is face to face with Jesus. He buys her groceries, he offers her His salvation. He offers love and permission to live in His kingdom. No one dares question Him about speaking to her.

If we are going to leave those around us silent, let it be because we are about His kingdom work. Let it be because we are including those that have been excluded. Let it be because we are radically different.

Let it be because we forever have a Heavenly table in our mind and a loving Savior by our side.

I'm still missing pieces to the puzzle. I think the picture is forming. It's a picture of me. I'm running from this well towards town. Jesus isn't behind me though. He's with me, holding my hand, pulling me forward. And, in my picture, neither of us are silent.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Natalie is 10

Dear Natalie,

So, here's the deal. A decade. Ten years. For real this year, I don't know how you are this old. Ok, I'm sure I'll say that every year forward, but for today, let me disbelieve ten.

You love to be dainty and feisty. When I look at you, I can't help but notice how mature you look over the last few months. You've had to learn a lot about maturity this year. (You can reference my mean teacher letter if you want). You've played in a different soccer league that was much more competitive than ever before. You learned how to lose a lot, especially last fall. You worked hard and your team played well in the spring. Tryouts came and you made second team for next year. You handled that with a good attitude. You were frustrated, but acknowledged that you are going to have work harder as you get older. You still love soccer with every fiber of your being. I still catch your biggest smiles on that field. You are as competitive as ever. I just love to watch you play.

Dainty and feisty. You love all things girly and all things sports. You love to dress up on the first day of school, with curly hair, followed by shorts, a T-Shirt, and a pony tail on the second day. "Keep them guessing", you said, when you discussed this with me. You are so into American Girl Dolls. You dress them up and fix their hair. Even they have soccer outfits and cleats though. You wanted a pink/purple room, super pretty. You were looking for just the right picture when we went to Hobby Lobby. You said it needed to have "some picture about girly girls being tough, or warrior, or smart or something like that, mom". I told you that was a really specific order that I wasn't confident existed. We walked away with a purple and pink picture that says, "She is the perfect combination of princess and warrior". You were beaming with excitement!

Dainty and Feisty. You love TV shows like Girl meets World and American Ninja Warrior. You read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, American Girl, and How To Play Soccer. You've now added being the "first female to win Ninja Warrior" to your list of future accomplishments. Along with the standard, play in the World Cup, and be President of the USA. You've always dreamed so big. I love that about you too.

Dainty: You love to do nails, fix hair, and be dressy. You love to sing and make crafts. You are constantly on Pinterest learning how to make various things for your dolls. You have made clothes out of socks, IPhones, notepads, pencils, and so much more. You love to buy jewelry.

Feisty: You fix those nails, put on that dress, tell me you feel like a princess, then show me your muscles and tell me you can still run fast in a dress. You're witty, clever, and super sarcastic. (Honestly I have no idea where that comes from). You are tough. You get dirty, get knocked down, and jump back up ready to play harder. You've yet to meet a physical challenge you aren't convinced you can conquer. Climbing a wall, swinging higher, body boarding, water skiing, pull ups, handstands, the list is endless. You love to move.

Dainty and feisty. You are quiet when you first meet people. Most people assume you to be shy. I think you are selective and observant. Once you are comfortable, we usually can't get you to stop talking. Your teachers have consistently discussed this every year. And, every year, I try to warn them, but that daintiness of yours is quiet convincing. Until PE, that is.

Dainty and Feisty. You love to sing, draw, and write. You have written a few songs this year. As you have gotten older, you tend to tell us fewer details about your own thoughts. Listening to your songs is a great way for me to glimpse what you are thinking. My favorite is one that you wrote and asked Daddy to do the music. It's really good. It starts off soft until, you pick up the tempo as you sing at the top of your lungs, "Get up! Get up! Show the world who's in it!"

Dainty and Feisty. You made the biggest, eternal decision you could make this year. We went to a Princess Warrior night with Ms. Sabrina and Emma. Ms. Sabrina found out about it and we decided it was something Emma and you would love. We all had a great time. In the middle of the Gospel presentation there, it seemed to click for you. You asked Jesus to be your Savior. I will never be able to explain the gift it was to me, to get to listen to you pray that prayer. I pray daily that you continue to walk with Him, every minute. He really does have a plan for you.

I think God gives us natural personality traits that flow into His gifts for us to use. Once you accepted Jesus, I think Princess and Warrior replaced dainty and feisty. You love being His Warrior Princess. Totally fits you right now. It likely will forever. Your lyrics lead me to my wish for you. I pray that you do show the world who is in you. I pray you show them the kind, tenderhearted, competitive, quizzical, beautiful, clumsy, observant, girl who loves God and them with a heart that is crazy big. I pray that you follow God. I hope that you don't simply seek Him on hard days, but on all the days. That you believe what His word says, knowing, that God has your best interest in His heart always. Even when it doesn't make sense. Even when it's hard. He is good and He is worthy of your trust.

It's been a year. It's been good and bad all wrapped in your nine year old self. It's amazing to see how such a tiny baby can change into a stunning ten year old. But here you are, proof that time changes us all.

I love you. I am so proud of you. I anticipate with much excitement, all that this year has for us.

Keep being you Princess Warrior, my Natalie Grace. You are exactly who you are supposed to be.

Forever, for always, no matter what.

Mom

PS. Your brother was reading old blogs and says you aren't nice to him anymore. And, he would really like to be allowed in your room.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

To "that" teacher



Full disclaimer. My kids have had some AMAZING teachers. In fact, we have been blessed with people who have loved them and genuinley wanted to teach them. We have done our best to support teachers and help when we could. We love teachers and are so grateful they still want to teach little lives in this crazy educational system.

With this disclaimer over, I have to acknowledge how difficult this year has been.

To our first mean teacher,

Wow! Are you as glad as I am that this year is completed? Every interaction I have experienced with you, resulted in me being keenly aware that you do not like children. In fact, you appeared to be annoyed by their presence. I watched you roll your eyes at them as they walked in the room. I watched you hide around the corner and purposely not step into the classroom during the parent meeting regarding the state testing. I definitely noticed how my little girl talked about how loud you can yell.

Anyways, I know I'm more than happy this year is done. You did teach her a few things though. This year, we learned how to work with difficult people. We learned that some people are not happy. We learned their happiness is not dependent on our behavior. We learned that some people, can never be pleased by us because something inside of them is sad.

We learned that it is not okay to stop trying because someone else does not care. You remember when she didn't turn in homework? Well, she stopped turning it in because she realized you weren't really looking at it. She said you never even bothered to explain where to place it. Did she give it to you? Did she put in the box on your desk? Were you going to walk around and collect it? You did all those methods, which she found confusing. And, with the yelling, she was afraid to ask. Remember when we met about this? You rolled your eyes at me too. Fortunately, for us both, I have the ability to regulate my emotions and calmly asked you how she is supposed to turn it in to you. You acknowledged your lack of routine. It was the other, really good teacher in the room, who suggested you remedy that. I knew then, we were in for a long year. It was September.

We learned that even when other people don't care, we do our best anyway. We learned that when teachers change grades, we can demand to see papers. We learned that some teachers do not allow straight 'A's no matter how hard someone works. We learned to work hard anyway. Knowing my girl scored second highest in the entire class on the state pretest tells me she has a great grasp of content she needs to know. Seeing that you marked through and changed numerical grades on the papers we asked to review, made me believe, she was right all along. You didn't really grade papers.

We learned that when an adult shows you things you know you shouldn't read, like emails between our parents and teachers, we need to tell our parents. We learned passive aggressive at nine isn't pretty. We learned this girl has more of her mom in her than we knew. We learned it isn't appropriate to be direspectful to adults, even when we are right. We learned to stand up respectfully. We also learned that parent's are the best advocates we have. We learned that a lot can be solved through communication.

We learned it is more than okay to ask for clarification. We learned to request expectations so we know what we are striving for. We learned that teachers have to follow rules too. We learned to ask for help; from past teachers, from other students, from administration, from God, and from somewhere inside of us.

We learned that some situations, you just have to take one day at time. Some things we cannot solve, but we can learn from.

So, mean one, I can't say at the end of the year that you didn't teach her or us anything.

I wish you would be the last mean, unrealistic, person she will deal with in her life. I know that can't be. So, thank you, for teaching her to dig deep, work hard, do well anyway, and to remember her identity is not yours to define. Those are lessons we all need to know.

Too bad there isn't a column for that on her report card.

Have a great summer. Maybe look for another line of work? May I suggest you go write for Pearson? You won't have to see a kid again, yet you can hold them to totally unrealistic expectations. That seems like it would be a good fit for you.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Second Trimester

I watched my kids eat spaghetti tonight. Just regular spaghetti. They laughed and bantered with each other. It's been a rushed evening with Chris at a volunteer meeting for soccer and the rest of us at soccer practice. They needed to get to bed. I had this thought again. It circles through my mind a lot, but sometimes I'm reluctant to admit it. Here it is: these might be my favorite years. Several of my close friends have heard me describe this time in the lives of my kids as "The Second Trimester".

As I see it, life with kids under our roof, is divided into three trimesters. Just like pregnancy. All three look and feel entirely different per pregnancy and per kid. However, each pregnancy has the same goal. Growing this tiny human into someone who can survive outside in the world. They are born. The next 18 years under my roof look different per year and per child. The goal is much the same. Growing this tiny human to love God, love people, and survive in the outside world.

The first trimester of pregnancy, I was exhausted, hungry, nauseous, and completely in shock. How can this be real? Was the test right? How about the doctor? Is she sure I'm pregnant? What can I eat? Not eat? Someone gave me that What to Expect book. It totally freaked me out. The first trimester with kids? I was exhausted, hungry, in desperate need of a shower, and, well, in a baby fog that could be a close cousin to shock. It was all about diapers, put that down, pick that up, don't touch, please don't jump, let's get dressed, please sleep. Exhaustion beyond measure with a side of what in the world have I gotten myself into? My big goals were simply reduced to, can we just all stay alive? So noteworthy.

Later, in the third trimester of pregnancy, I became huge. I'm convinced it only exists to make us all comfortable with the idea of labor. Before that trimester, I was terrified of labor. Somewhere around 32 weeks, my swollen belly, ankles, face, self was all about labor. Let's do this. Let's get this alien to the outside and let my body be all by itself again. (little did I know it's never been just mine again). While I haven't experienced a teenager at my house yet, I've had enough friends assure me that teenagers exist only so we can be okay with the idea of them leaving the house. They are clumsy, awkward, and so full of themselves. They do some things well and have such big goals. Sometimes, they don't look anything like those babies in the first trimester and parents count down until that alien gets out.

Second trimester? Do you remember the second trimester of your pregnancy? Mine was blissful. I wasn't sick anymore. The tiredness had subsided. I finally looked pregnant instead of fat, but I could still see my feet. I could feel the baby move and dream about who this baby would be. Right now, in this season, that's how I feel about my kids. They will be seven and ten this summer. They sleep through the night, (well more nights than not). They can bathe themselves, get dressed on their own, and even get their own breakfast. Yet, they also still want me around, they ask me to play, or read, or watch a show with them. All their "why's?" have turned into "watch me". I really do like watching them. They are growing before my eyes. They still like to snuggle with me, have me lay beside them, and tell me all about who they dream to be someday. They have outgrown me holding them in my arms, but they still very much fit in my lap.

This second trimester, I feel more like a Mom. I'm more settled into this role. I'm learning that it really does "go by too fast". I remember constantly that this is it. This is their childhood. If I delay things, it may not happen for them. Today is my one chance to have them in my house, at this age. I'm learning to both release the pressure and recognize the beauty of that statement. We don't get most days perfect. I'm also learning that's more than okay.

This Mother's Day, I'm so grateful for this time, in their lives and mine. Who knows, maybe the third trimester will turn out to be my favorite? Most likely every memory will be my favorite. I'll remember holding them and rocking them. I'll remember Curious George and American Girl Dolls. I'll think about lost teeth and first pair of glasses. Hopefully, I'll be even more settled then. More convinced to let all the "mom guilt" go and know that God was guiding them and me, together, as a family. I may decide all the days of their childhood were the best ones. Then again, I hear grandchildren are really, really, fun.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Micah's 6th Birthday



Dear Micah Mac,

At least, that's what you want us to call you these days. You respectfully requested we stop calling you Micah Man and change it to Mac. Just like Toby Mac. Your favorite singer.

That's what this past year has been all about for you. Change. You started Kindergarten, basketball, fishing, and all things ninja warrior. You spent a week this summer with Nanny and Padre, then a week with KK and Poppy. We went to family camp and wrapped up your summer spending a few days with Uncle DJ, Aunt Sarah, Annalee, and Morgan. You loved being at their house because you love them. You also loved it because none of us went with you.



Today, on your sixth birthday, you start first grade. You really don't seem to mind that school starts on your birthday. We have celebrated this past weekend as a family. You requested putt putt, Sweet Frogs, and Chick Fil A. (You only picked Chick Fil A because Natalie asked you not to). You love Natalie. You love to annoy her, bother her, mess with her, and be near her. I do hope and pray that you two are very good friends someday.

You love to play so many games, Battleship, Skip Bo, and Sleeping Queens. You also love to watch Wheel of Fortune and get super frustrated when you can't solve a puzzle. Your absolute favorite show is American Ninja Warrior. You want to be a warrior someday. You climb, jump, swing, and yell from anything. You are begging Daddy to build you a "warped wall" and other obstacles in our backyard. You love the Avengers and wanted a Captain America cake for your birthday. Of course, Daddy made the cake for you.



Even though you are all things boy, I often call you my "old soul". You think and wonder and solve. You see much more of a big picture than you should be able to at six. You are kind and super sensitive to others. Just a few weeks ago, you were listening to the Veggie Tales rendition of God Bless the USA. You started crying and asked me if you are a citizen. I assured you that you are. You then asked what a citizen is. I explained that to you as well. You kept crying and told me that they were "Happy tears". I learn so much about gratitude from you kiddo. All the time.

One night, in the last year, you asked me question upon question about God and His love for us. You told me that you wanted to ask Jesus into your heart. I listened as your prayed a very sincere prayer. I felt so honored to witness that prayer and moment in your very young life. Your prayers are honest, raw, and filled with faith. Just tonight you prayed, "God help us to be good listeners of you and our teachers. Help us to always follow you. And help KK get off her walker and go putt-putting with us and do everything else you need your back for". Praying with you gives me glimpses into your fears, your successes, and life as you see it. I love life from your perspective.

My sweet, growing, boy. My prayer is that you always talk with God. I pray you continue to love God and love others. I hope you keep conquering every obstacle in your path, while recognizing when others need help. I pray you continue to be grateful. I pray for your kindness to impact all who meet you. Most of all, I pray you will grow in the knowledge that God is Lord of your life.

Keep playing, climbing, swinging, jumping, thinking, pondering, praying and loving. You are amazingly talented Micah Mac. Use that for God's Glory.

I love you forever, for always, no matter what.
Mommy