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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Monday, August 10, 2009

Train Them Up

Do you have moments when you fear for your children? I’m not talking about kidnapping or tornadoes or bad skin in high school, though I think about those things too. The looming fear today is that my children will turn out like me and I have a problem keeping my mouth shut. Seriously. I don’t really appreciate the eye rolling some of you are doing right now because you already KNEW I am mouthy. Just pretend this is news, all right? I’m suffering here.

Mitchell is in the throes of developing this unfortunate personality trait. It’s the inner censor that he’s just a bit slow in embracing. Last week we were visiting a church on a Sunday out of town. The pastor, bless his heart, was doing his darndest to involve the children for a children’s sermon. Now, any parent with young children could have told him to get them to scream “Jesus loves me!”, lead them in a rousing chorus of “Father Abraham,” and bribe them with a Tootsie Pop. Then pray a quickie, release them all sugared up to their unsuspecting parents, and call yourself a genius.

This man, though, was far more conscientious than I and wanted the children to understand something about the value of stillness. You know, stillness. SECOND NATURE to twenty-five children under six. Does this look like a child ready for that particular spiritual discipline?

Poor, poor, well-intentioned pastor. The finale involved sending the children to all parts of the sanctuary in order for them to practice stillness in our presence. They weren’t very good at it. But this brings me to my censor-free son. In the most quiet moment of the Stillness Rehearsal, Mitch said, FULL VOICE:

“Okay, this is weird.”

He drew out the last word to be about four syllables: “weeeeiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrd.” I shriveled, though inwardly agreeing, and had to smile apologetically for the rest of the sermon whenever I caught the eye of a local parishoner. “Sorry,” my eyes said. “He’s just like me. Here’s his dad.” I’d nudge Marc with my elbow. “He’s TOTALLY socially appropriate! You’d really like him and probably ask him to be an usher!”

I try telling my mother these stories, looking for empathy, some cooing about the trials and travails of parenting kids who talk too much. All I get from her, though, is lots of giddy giggling. Sometimes she erupts into a cackle, whooping, slapping her knee and saying things like, “I knew you’d get it all back,” and “Hee hee, ho ho, I’m done! Your turn!”

Ah, a mother’s love.

I’m off to practice stillness, but watch for the next post around here. I have a very fun way for you to get a FREE copy of Stretch Marks. You don’t want to miss out! In the meantime, read a sample chapter of the book here. See you soon…


  1. LOVE the story about Mitchell and LOVE the first chapter! How long until I can read the rest???

  2. Seriously can't stand how funny this was. I love you all...socially inappropriate or not. :)

  3. Sarah--Soon! They should ship out from my publisher in the next couple of weeks. Also, mark your calendar (please :) ) for my book release party at Beaverdale Books, Friday, September 11, at 6:30. We usually have a great crowd and great fun at these things. I talk a bit, sign some books, and in the meantime, we have chocolate and champagne (full strength and non-alcoholic, for the birthing mothers among us. Ahem.)

  4. Hope you can join us!

    Book release party, Beaverdale Books, Des Moines, IA. September 11, 6:30 p.m. Brief book talk at 6:45, chocolate and champagne, and the PERFECT, personalized Christmas gift. All in one place!

  5. That is hilarious! Once during a children's sermon at a very conservative church we were visiting, the preacher asked the kids "what do your parents do after church?" and one kid said, in front of the whole congregation: "Smoke!"

    Never ask kids open-ended questions in church.

  6. Does the phrase "divine retribution" ring a bell? I'm with your mom... (grin)

  7. Hi, Kimberly - I recently caught on to your blog and am enjoying it so much! Especially loved today's post - made me laugh outloud!! Can't wait to read the chapter tonight after the kids are tucked in bed.

  8. Thanks, Jennifer! I'm so glad you've found me. :) As for post-bedtime reading, is there anything sweeter??

    Thanks for the hello and for stopping by. --kim

  9. Love it. I too have a mom who loves it when I share my Jack stories...I was the one who YELLED "don't beat me Daddy, don't beat me" the entire length of our church aisle at 2 yrs old as he was trying to take me out. And IF you knew my Dad...he is the mellowest guy, never EVER spanked me or even raised his voice at me. Poor guy. He still talks about it with a sick look in his face. I was a slight bit of an actress. That was when we lived in DC...we moved to MN 3 months later. Probably was the reason they felt they had to move. haha

  10. Kids crack me up! Don't feel bad. I was standing in line at Kroger with my daughter. She was in her sunday morning best. It had been a great service about raising children up in Jesus. The check out lady was super sweet and oohed and awwed over her. As I reached in to get my credit card, I heard a growl. Not a small dog yelping growl, a full fledge from the gut knocking pictures off the wall growl. My "sweet" little girl was growling at the check out lady! Try to apologize for that! I swiped, paid, and ran without saying a word. I made a mental note to keep dog food away from her.........