Being Mama · Kids

On Forgiving Your People


When this sweet little apology note arrived in my mailbox, I was very confused.

At first, I could just decipher the first line – “I am sorry” – and I could not for the life of me figure out why this sweet little boy – the son of a dear friend of mine – was sending me an apology note.


When I read closer, I realized the words following said, “I am sorry (Nicole) for scraping your car.” (Love that giant circle for the period at the end!)


Why is he apologizing for scraping my car?

What is this about?

It took a minute, but I finally remembered being at their house a few weeks prior, standing in the driveway chatting. This sweet little guy was running around with a stick because, what else do boys do, really, but run around with sticks? His mama told him to be careful with the stick and not put it near my car. And then he did exactly that – put the stick very close to my car.

Now, I don’t remember if the stick actually touched the car or not. What I DO remember is his mama having a heart-to-heart with him about listening and following directions and being careful with other people’s cars, the same as I would. Actually, probably not the same as I would because, truth be told, if it had been my child who had the stick, I would have been MAD. I can be stern with my kids, and I can make small things feel like a VERY BIG DEAL. But my friend remained calm and her words remained kind in a way that I’m not sure mine would have.

When I got the card in the mail and realized I had forgotten this completely, I also realized that if it had been my child, I would NOT have forgotten it completely. I would have stewed about it for days, thinking about WHAT KIND OF CHILD POKES A STICK AT A CAR, FOR GOODNESS SAKES?! IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF MY CHILD’S PATH TO DELINQUENCY AND A LIFE OF CRIME?!

But for me, with it being her child, it was just a moment. A tiny little thing that left almost no impression on my memory whatsoever. Forgiven and forgotten instantly. Because I know this boy – a sweet, funny, inquisitive, curious boy who would never actually scrape a car just because. He was just a kid, being a kid.

And guess what?

So are my children.

What a lesson this was for me, a change in perspective. To take a step back when my kids do something that I don’t approve of, even when they break a rule. Instead of feeling like it’s the end of the world and being unable to let it go, I can ask myself what I would think if it were another child, not one of my own.

Would I think less of that child? No way.

And – maybe more to the point of how I truly feel when my kids misbehave – would I think less of their parents?

Of course not.

We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents to raise these perfect children who navigate every situation in the correct way. We think we must react to every infraction in order to teach “valuable lessons” so these kids do exactly the right thing and turn out okay.

But we are imperfect people, too. I know I DEFINITELY don’t navigate every situation in my life in the most correct way. (And news flash: most of the time, there isn’t ONE correct way.)

I mess up all the time! I need to say sorry freely and often. And I want to teach my children to do the same. I want them to know that when they do mess up, I am a safe place to come, to tell the truth and to receive grace and, yes, sometimes instruction, but always forgiveness.

gingham watercolor-001

Our children are precious little people who are learning to walk in this world and figure things out for themselves. They have been entrusted to us to guide, yes, but also to enjoy, to delight, and to have relationship. They are OUR PEOPLE.


This came back to me a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner.

The adults were on the back porch while the kids were running around – girls inside playing dress up and reading, boys up in the treehouse. At one point, I look up because I see a solid stream of liquid coming down out of the treehouse and into the yard and over the fence into our neighbor’s backyard.

Of course, if you have boys, you know exactly what is happening. I assume it’s my child and feel myself start to get upset – what will the neighbors think when they see that my kid is PEEING INTO THEIR BACKYARD??? Then I realize that it is just as likely the other child taking aim (both of their backs are to us), and just the thought of him deciding that this is a good idea CRACKS ME UP. The dads, of course, laugh immediately, saying that this is so normal, it’s just a thing boys do, we knew kids growing up who did this all the time. (“I have this ‘friend’….” Ha!) The guys then talk to the boys, telling them, of course, that they shouldn’t pee from the treehouse, especially into the neighbors yard. And all the while, I have to cover my face to hide my chuckles and laughing tears. And this was just seconds after I almost made this into a VERY BIG DEAL.

(Come on, it IS pretty funny!)

Now, obviously I’m not suggesting we let everything go because “kids will be kids”, but I am suggesting that we – that I – take a step back and take in the bigger perspective. I have to guide and teach my kids. But I also have to show them the beauty of grace and of forgiveness and of the freedom that comes with knowing that their parents love them unconditionally and can handle whatever comes their way.

Because not everything is a VERY BIG DEAL. Sometimes it’s just boys peeing from a treehouse.

Being Mama · five things · quotes

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday! How’s your summer going? I can’t believe we’re already past the 4th of July, which always feels like the beginning of the end of summer for me. We still have swim lessons and a camp and a family trip, but school will be here before we know it.

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I haven’t been doing any projects since my sewing machine broke, and I haven’t been writing much either. I miss it. There’s something wonderful about writing for me. Just getting words out of my head onto paper or typed on the screen is so cathartic. (I think it has a lot to do with my theory on consuming vs. producing and how good producing is for me.)

Last weekend, as an exercise in a bible study I’m doing this summer, I had a technology-free day. It was hard -but also easy. I had so much extra time, and I found it easy to fill that time with chores around the house that kept me pretty distracted. But when I was quiet for a few minutes – a time I would have grabbed my phone to check Facebook or Instagram – I grabbed my journal to write. And even after my no-tech day was finished, I’ve continued to journal a little each day. It’s a habit I have loved for years, and I’m happy to have picked up again.

So here I am, giving you a quick rundown of things that have been on my mind lately – thoughts I’ve had, stuff I’ve read, things that have hit home.


1. “Girl Camp”. Husband and BB left for Cub Scout camp this week. While they are living it up in the woods canoeing and building campfires and shooting bows and arrows and sleeping in tents, BG and I are having “Girl Camp”.  What does one do at Girl Camp? Well, so far, we go to IKEA and plan bedroom decorating projects. We organize toys. (SO MUCH PINK. See above.) We have play dates with friends. We go swimming. We buy desserts just because. We do our nails. We go to the movies. This is less a camp of planned activities and more of an attitude. BG summed it up by saying, “You say ‘Yes!’ a lot more during Girl Camp.” TRUE! It’s been a really special time for the two of us – I am so thankful for these days. (And I’m dying to know what’s happening at “Boy Camp” – can’t wait to hear stories and see pictures of their adventures!)

2. Yoga Radio on Pandora. It’s a lovely way to start the day, even if you aren’t actually doing yoga and are just sitting on your couch, sipping coffee.

3. This essay. Beautiful, sad, moving.

4. This movie. Speaking of things that made me cry, I was at the movie theater with BG yesterday to see Despicable Me 3 (her choice because apparently Cars 3 “just sort of feels like a baby movie.” Well, okay then.) They showed the trailer for Wonder, and I cried from the very first second. Wonder, by RJ Palacio, is probably the best book I’ve read this year – and I’ve had a string of good ones lately. I know Husband will not look forward to seeing this film with me as he has an aversion to movies in which there is a high likelihood of me leaving the theater in a red-faced, runny-nosed, sobbing mess. He likes to save those for watching at home. (A selection of movies we’ve seen together in which I walk out of the theater in full-on ugly cry: Titanic, Apollo 13, Romeo + Juliet, Armageddon (I KNOW!), What Dreams May Come, Stepmom, The Green Mile, Big Fish. There are countless others.) Anyway, I’ll be there for Wonder with my box of Kleenex. Can’t wait.

serve the world with your joy

5. This quote.

What are you up to this week? The boys will get back from camp, and we have little else planned. I’m hoping to FINALLY get started on a house project that’s been percolating in my mind for weeks (years?). I’m also reading this book for a book club I just joined, so I’m hoping to finish it up as well. Hope your weekend is full of connecting with family and friends, peaceful and touching moments, and joy. Thanks for reading!


Being Mama · books · five things · Jewelry

Five Things

Happy Friday! Happy June! I can’t BELIEVE it’s already June!

We had some fun plans for Memorial Day Weekend, but then BB got a stomach bug and was quarantined for 4 days while Husband and I wore masks and gloves and washed our hands 8000 times and let the kids watch a ridiculous amount of movies in their own rooms so there would be no cross-contamination. #thanksnorovirus

And now next week is the last week of school, so we’re in the thick of end-of-the-year events. Yesterday was “Donuts with Dads” at BG’s preschool (a sweet tradition that involves donuts, of course, and sweet cards and building projects), and last night was an awesome musical put on by BB’s class at school. He completely surprised us all by volunteering at the last minute to take over a part for a child who couldn’t be there. He was the most adorable little frog who turned into a prince, and I couldn’t have been prouder of him.

I have to say, I’m feeling ready for summer break. Not ready as in I have great plans and camps and activities mapped out, but ready for slower-paced days and hanging around and reading and going to the pool and just generally relaxing. (More of my thoughts on summer here.)

As we start the final countdown, here are five things on my mind this week:

1. Not a Perfect Mom, but an Enough Mom. A great read, especially as we often head into summer with BIG expectations of how “lovely” summer should be.

2. This book. I read it in two days – possibly a record for me since having kids. Husband read it in about 5 hours. Science Fiction is something I never read, but the story in this one was so engaging and tender and CRAZY (I’m not going to pretend I even understood everything), I couldn’t put it down. I still can’t stop thinking about it.

to select well among old things

3. This quote. YES!


bon bon vintage earrings4. These earrings. I feel like I “select[ed] well among old things” when I made these! I fell in love with these old vintage beads – their big round shape, their faceted surface, their disco ball feel. I’m on the hunt for more like this – I want to make these earrings in every color! (I’m adding new pieces to my Etsy shop often – check out other finds here.)

5. Made me laugh. BB and BG loved it, too! There’s nothing better than looking at cute and hilarious animals. I’m bookmarking this to revisit on tough days. Enjoy! (Update: The original link was broken, so I found another page that has the same photos. Still cracks me up!)

What are you up to this weekend? I’m looking forward to a germ-free weekend where we can do some of the things we planned to do last weekend. We have very little on the calendar, and I couldn’t be happier. Hope your weekend is full of good books, inspiration, and great laughs. Thanks for reading!