Dear Kids,

Just wanted to say a few things. I know only 50% of you can read but I’m assuming the Bigs will read to the Littles. Do you hear me Bigs?

I know it’s been more circus-y than usual lately in our Traveling Circus. I don’t love that for you but I know a few good things will come from this time.

You’re going to figure out how to live with people in a community. This is a great thing when you’re an adult because you will be able to live among others who are different than you. It might seem hard right now when you’re a kid fighting with your brothers or sister but you’re getting some important lessons.

You’re also learning to live with compassion towards others. Our family has a lot of people and some of those people have some things in their individual lives that make day-to-day life more difficult. This means we all have to learn to communicate even during hard times. It’s good to learn to use your words–someday your spouse and kids and friends will appreciate this about you.

And within our family we have to have extra helpings of grace mixed into our daily life. This is a game changer if you can extend grace to those around you, and not just for them either. It’s for you as well, so you won’t harbor things like bitterness or regrets or resentful-ness towards others. I’m hoping that learning to extend grace early on will lighten your load as an adult.

And finally, the patience that we are constantly having to give each other is invaluable. Patience sometimes means not getting wrapped around the axle on the little things. It’s a much more freeing way to live that allows you to just be present in the moment.

Like I said, this life we’re called to and blessed with isn’t the easiest. I used to wish it was easier for you. But I now know that would be doing you a disservice. Learning these important character-builders as a kid gives you lots of time to practice them on your family, the ones who love you the absolute most.

This is a really good thing. 

I love each of you more than I could ever put into words. And I’m grateful that I have this gorgeous family from all over to call mine. I am the one who is blessed–

All my love, 

Mama

Confidence

There is a four year old red head in my house who is a princess and a mermaid, a ninja and a spy. She runs like her Mama (which is to say awkwardly and slow, but don’t tell her. I want to be there when she catches a glimpse of herself for the first time.), fights like her brothers, is serious like her daddy and has a confidence that I’m so proud of.

She thinks she’s right 100% of the time. It’s awesome and a little scary all at once. This little girl already thinks that she can rule the world. Not one day, but right now if she chooses.

I’m so pleased about this. 

You might be saying what?! I know, it makes for some hair-pulling-out, frustrating, give-myself-a-timeout parenting oftentimes, but the young lady she is becoming is going to be one that can navigate whatever world she finds herself in. As a Mama of a daughter, as a woman grateful to other women who went before me and broke glass ceilings and paved pathways, as a female who has navigated male-dominated careers and jobs and schools, I (mostly) don’t mind this strong will of hers. 

Because I know that if I can teach her to have a tender heart toward hurting people, show her that even one person can make a difference, guide her to serving others in some capacity, along with her strong will and absolute confidence, she will indeed rule the world. Not with an iron fist, but with a velvet glove.

God bless all the Mamas of strong-willed children out there. It’s a tough road to the finish line but just wait and see what kind of human being emerges-I bet you’re going to be so proud!

PS, This is the outfit I let her leave the house in yesterday, notice the skirt and the boots (that are two sizes too big) are sequined–she is my daughter! Talk about your big, bangin’ confidence!!!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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