Feb 222010

Meet MK, my old, and new, friend.

I am

I am the blanket, dependable, frayed and warm . . .

I am the scribe, the keeper of memories, the promise

of remembrance . . .

I am the fire . . .

I am the constant, the touchstone unwavering . . .

I offer kisses of magic, concealed notes of love, unyielding perseverance,

safety in darkness and tempest, fierce expectations and unflinching love . . .

I am a warrior against the relentlessness of time and culture . . .

I am the advocate of aspiration, even in the shadow of failure . . .

I am open arms . . .

I am the protector . . .

I am the provider . . .

I am the potter . . .

I am the mother.


You are mine, but you are more your own

Changing, bending, turning back, but always heading steadily toward your intrinsic light.

And it is yours. Separate from mine.

Do you remember where you grew in my warm rhythmic darkness? Do you remember when we were one? Do you remember how I held you, nourished you, singing softly in the shadows of the night?

Must you leave this behind as you find your place in this world? Must my remembrance be solitary?

Of course you will find your own space apart from me . . .

still, I mourn the tiny person you were.

Soft skin so sweet I would clench my teeth in resistance, tiny voice expressing thoughts I had never quite considered, opening my world as surely as I was opening yours.


You are my dichotomy:

Fierce, but intensely gentle.

Ever moving, but so very still.

Scowling, with exuberant laughter that is the happiest sound I know.

Confident, yet deeply unsure.

Strong and powerful, but fearful in the quiet of night.

Tough, but tearful.

You are everything at all times, canceling yourself out with every fleeting whimsy, every mood,

until you become, mathematically, nothing at all.

But yet, you remain my everything; my fiercely powerful snuggly little laughing man.


How do you turn a moment, in the blink of an eye, from funny-clever-precious to oh-my-God-how-fast-can-we-get-out-of-here?

Log rolling across the scuffed and dingy store floor, collapsing in a heap at that unfortunate, unsuspecting woman’s feet.

Running down the up escalator in a frantic attempt to escape my grasp.

How do you hold my heart, spellbound, while frustrating me to the very depths of my soul?

How do you melt me with that crooked smile and crazy eyes, at just the moment I was wondering why I even bother?

How can you make me weak in the knees, head on my shoulders, arms wrapped tight, when I thought we had just exhausted all reasonable options?

Is it because you’re only two? So perfectly perfect but on the brink of something new?

Feb 192010


Glennon has mentioned her collection of wooden word signs in several Momastery posts. Her signs say things like, Simplify, Love is patient, love is kind, and Prayer changes things. What she didn’t tell you is that I’m responsible for a fair portion of her collection. It all started when I and two other friends had a sign made for Glennon as a birthday gift several years ago. She went on and on about how much she liked the gift. After that, whenever I spotted a board sign that reminded me of Glennon, I’d buy it for her and leave it on her porch. Every time I took a trip to Homegoods, both of our wooden word sign collections grew. And since the mounting hardware on most Homegoods items is just a touch off-center, none of them are level.

I have decided to stop cluttering up Glennon’s house with word signs. (I can take a hint.) Instead, I’ve been concentrating on cluttering up my own property a bit more. The inside of our house has at least one sign in every room, so I had to take my habit outside. My most recent purchase is a big wooden Life is Good sign to hang in our back yard this spring. It will be placed directly underneath the wooden plaque already hanging back there that says, Welcome to our Deck. There is plenty of room left back there for more, so I really don’t see an end to all this.

I’m not sure why so many of us enjoy hanging word signs in our homes, but we do. Maybe we like them because they are a way for us to come right out and say what is important to us. We can let certain values be known, loud and clear. (I know a LOT of people who firmly believe we should all Live well, Laugh often, Love much.) Or maybe we’re just drawn to them because we grew up in homes with signs and quotes, and they make us feel nostalgic. Glennon grew up reading Bubba’s sign that said, Don’t be so humble – you are not that great. Something about that sign must have stuck with Glennon because she really is one the most courteously respectful people I know. She has lots of reasons to be arrogant, but she isn’t. I especially love how she humbly offers her heart to us on this blog.

I grew up with signs too. The one that I remember most vividly hung in our dining room. It was a quote by Carl Schurz that said, My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. I cannot imagine how many times I must have read that sign over the course of my life. Its message must have stuck with me and my big brother because we both are passionate today about our beliefs about this country and what is best for it. The funny part is that we are polar opposites regarding our political views. So even though we were raised together in a house where political ideas and opinions were discussed at the dinner table, my brother and I avoid the topic these days in order to keep peace in the family. The fact that he lives on one side of the country and I live on the other is also helpful. (Note that I followed the rules and managed to write that paragraph without actually telling you my political views…or explaining in great detail why I am right and my brother is so very wrong.)

So if wooden word signs helped make Glennon humble and turned me into a political big-mouth, perhaps I ought to put more thought into the signs currently adorning my home and influencing my kids’ behavior. I’m thinking that some of our signs might be too vague. There is one hanging above my daughter’s bedroom doorway that says, Live a good life. That signs leaves a bit too much room for interpretation for my liking. After all, she and I could have two very different definitions of the term good life. Maybe I should take that sign down and replace it with a clearer directive, like Earn a Full College Scholarship.

My favorite sign in our house is hanging in our playroom. Before I tell you what it says, I need to point out one of the signs hanging in Glennon’s house. It will be another fun comparison of her sweet to my spicy, my yin to her yang. You can make your own conclusions about what effects these signs are having on our children. In Glennon’s basement, which is decorated in a style I like to call preschool-meets-toy-store-awesomeness, she has a Dr. Seuss quote on the wall that reads, A person’s a person, no matter how small. Isn’t that sweet? No wonder kids feel loved and valued at the Melton house. Whenever my daughter’s play time at the Melton’s house comes to an end, she never ever wants to leave. Perhaps going home to play does not appeal to her because the sign in our playroom is less sweet than the one in Glennon’s. Hanging directly above a rack of toy bins at a child’s eye level is a sign that reads, BE NICE OR GO AWAY.

Feb 182010

A Guest Post from Our Cindy….

I was very ill my sophomore year in high school. At one point, the doctors discovered what they thought was a pituitary tumor in my brain. I remember the pediatric oncologist coming in to sit on the side of my bed with my mother looking on. I heard him talking. But I didn’t really HEAR them, if you know what I mean. I heard brain surgery and that they would surgically be entering my mouth under my nose. Suddenly I became focused on my nose. I then heard the words radiation therapy. At that point I had heard enough from the doctor. So being a typical 15 year old, I left the room to go hang out with my friend in the hallway . I hung out with my friend who sat there with me in the empty pediatric ward hallway that night. That friend was there to just BE.

Glennon’s mother, “Tisha,” was my high school counselor. The day before my surgery, there was a knock at my front door. There stood Mrs. Doyle, Glennon, and Mandy. I can remember looking into each of their eyes. I saw looks of compassion, concern, and fear. Here in front of them was a high school girl getting ready to face brain surgery and the possibility of brain cancer. They knew that if something went wrong in surgery my sight could be affected forever. There in their hands was an offering, a small basket holding a porcelain glitter rainbow unicorn. They were there for me. THEY were here just to BE. Thankfully when they performed my surgery, it was not a tumor, but an abscess. Therefore, no cancer.

You know what, Glennon, outside of my parents, your mother taught me the meaning of just how to BE for people. She would give guidance when needed or asked. But most importantly she listened without judging. My parents taught me to BE, your mother taught me to BE, my faith taught me to BE. And learning how to just beprepared me for my life in nursing.

I am now a Family Nurse Practitioner in the Emergency Room. I initially started out in the Adult ICU on the night shift as a registered nurse. The night shift was quiet. During the night shift my coworkers and I were on our own. During the night shift I learned to BE for my patients. I remember one family who couldn’t bear to sit by their mother, because they felt it was time to let go. So each night, I sat there with her. Do for others as you would want them to do for you. I just didn’t want her to be alone. I performed my bed side nursing, gave her bed baths, and I talked with her. There was never a physical response except for fluctuations in her heart rate. But I wanted to just BE for her. I held her hand as she left this world.

From there, I moved on to Pediatric Oncology both as a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner. That, Monkees, is where my heart has always been. These amazing children go on living and BEING despite living their cancer. These children and families have been my teachers. They have taught me to BE in life, no matter what life presents. During that time in my career, I primarily worked night shift. Again, the night shift was quiet. During night shift I was on my own with these families in the stillness. During the night shift, I had some of the most touching experiences with these families. Sometimes the teenagers who didn’t want to talk openly about their fears of cancer to their parents for fear of causing them stress, would talk to me, instead. I would just BE. Sometimes the mother or father would come out to talk to me after their child would fall asleep. They would talk to me, the nurse, about their fears because they didn’t want their child to see their tears. I would just BE.

The Emergency Room is definitely a different pace, a different world. Sometimes, outside of needing an antibiotic, stitches, or cast the patient or family just need to be heard. So I stop and BE there, too. Recently, a patient came in with a dislocated ankle. I brought my supervising physician in to take a look. He looked me and said, “Let‘s get her ready for sedation, you manage her airway, I’ll pop her ankle in place.” The amazing ER team went to work like busy bees in a rhythm. I was at the patient’s head. She was in pain, anxious, tearful, fearful of pain. At that moment I stopped. I brushed the hair away from her face, wiped her tears away, and she talked while I listened. She looked at me said, “Please don’t leave me. Please be by my side during this.” So there I was, to just BE. As she slipped into sedation and her eyes closed, I went back to my job of managing her airway and providing her with oxygen by bag. Before she knew it, her ankle was back in place and there she slept peacefully. No pain, no tears, just peace.

But, you want to know the kicker, Monkees? Ask me to BE for a patient and I will do it with no problem. But ask me to BE for family and friends… now that is easier said than done. For my husband, I am so focused on BEING his wife, his confidante, his friend, that sometimes I forget to just BE there for him. For my children, I want so badly to BE their protector and encourager that I forget to let them just BE a kid. For my friends, I want so badly to be their problem solver and to bring them happiness and peace that sometimes I forget that they don’t want me to solve their problems, but just to BE.

As I open up Momastery each morning, I continue to learn how to just BE. Glennon, you are teaching me, teaching us, teaching the Monkees to BE. That is a gift that will keep on giving and giving. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me on that day before my surgery. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me, for us, now.