Archives for category: Growing up


So I love the saying, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

But my thought today?  It is simply ‘Grow where ya land…’  And this rogue Sunflower mustering up one little petal as it takes root in the gutter and reaches toward the sun…well the visual sums it up pretty perfectly. And it made me smile and inspired me and even gave me a little courage. I could write volumes on my thoughts…but will spare you of the unabridged version today…

Yeah, sometimes, we’ve just gotta grow where we land.

Oh, and hopefully we don’t land in too many gutters… just saying.  But if we ever do, well, just think on my sweet little pathetic but tenacious sunflower. Bloom…and if ya can’t bloom, well, just be sure to  g r O W 🙂



P.S. yeah, I know it’s time to clean the gutters 🙂



Weekly Photo Challenge~ Drifter


“A ship in the harbor is safe.

But that’s not what ships are for.”

William G.T  Shedd


Wrightsville, Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

I saw some ships today, and some smaller vessels on the water. They were coming in to the harbor just as the sun was going down. My son and I watched as the boats in the distance moved a little closer in to the dock.


It was windy and cold, but beautiful on the patio as we ate.  Hot Clam chowder tasted really good on a chilly day like this. But we definitely preferred the view with the cold over the comfort without the view. We watched (and shivered) as the ships came in and the sun went down.

I know that ships are meant to sail. Some are meant to be on the high seas and others are meant to be a little closer to shore. But all are meant to venture out from the safety of the harbor. Yeah, I get that. I do.


Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8, 2017   (Zac)

And anchors help to provide stability out on the seas. And there are times to use anchors, and times when anchors are dangerous. And moorings are meant to keep one safe in the harbor. Moorings need to be tied tightly at the right times, and loosened when it’s time to set sail.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina , April 7th, 2017


Zac, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

My  “ships” are all venturing out these days. Only have one who is ‘safely in the harbor’ of our home, but all of the others, well, they are venturing out, all at different distances, different speeds, different tracks, but all venturing out nonetheless.


Chase and Josh, Wilmington, North Carolina April 7, 2017

And I’m proud and thankful for the courses that they are on. And at times I’m fearful of the storms blowing in and the potential dangers that they have faced, are facing, and will face on their journeys.



But I remind myself that ships…ships were meant to sail. Birds were meant to fly.

DSCN3273 Children were meant to grow up and become independent, to use their gifts and give it all ‘out there’. And they are not alone ‘out there’. I’ve gotta remember that.

DSCN3203And the fact that my ‘ships’ are out sailing, well, it makes me so thankful for times when they get to come back in to the harbor, so to speak.  It makes me thankful when the moorings are tied, and they are safe in my sights for a little while.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

And we can talk about the journeys and the trials that have been, and maybe prepare a bit for the ones that are to come.  I love that ships don’t have to be tied to a specific dock to be safe…it just takes that connection, that mooring, that link to that holds them close to shore.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, April 7th, 2017

So, the past few days have been precious, because, well, it’s felt like my sailing ships (3 out of 6, anyway…)  and I docked for a bit. ( And we were reminded that home is so much more than a place and family is a gift, and God is good and present and available on high seas and safe docks, college campuses and work environments.


Zac and Melanie, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

And I’m catching glimpses of their world and am thankful for where these ‘ships’ have sailed.  And I’m thankful for moorings that look like cups of coffee and walks on beach and ‘remember when’s. I’m thankful for moorings that look like  T   I   M   E…not stuff, but   T   I   M   E, and conversations that don’t always include lots of words, but might include lots of listening. And prayers prayed sometimes out loud and sometimes not. I’m thankful for moorings  that look like warm chocolate chip cookies, kale smoothies, clam chowder in the cold, or walks on the beach.  I’m thankful for moorings that look like truths stated and not danced around and hugs afterward. I’m thankful for moorings that look like laughing at ourselves and not having to be anything but what we are in that moment. And I’m just thankful for moorings, connections with these ships that were entrusted to me so long ago.


And I’m aware I’m so not the Captain. My job isn’t to steer the ship. It’s to trust the One who is steering, and encourage those ships to listen, to yield, to the Captain. Am thinking in this stage of my life, my privilege is to focus on the moorings…so that in the midst of all the venturing out, there’s always a connection, a safe place to dock when those venturing ships need a reminder of why they’re venturing out in the first place. After all, ships were meant to sail…



“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 

Tanner with posterSo, this one comes home and says, “I want to enter a poster contest. It’s about bullying.”

And as soon as he says the “b” word, my mind races into all sorts of directions. It’s instantaneous and automatic.

But I mask the stuff going on inside of me and say that I think it’s a great idea.  I’m proud of his initiative and thankful for opportunities for my youngest to put himself out there. But the “b” word?  The concept of bullying?  It’s a tough one for sure. Especially when it comes to this one.

Maybe the stuff flying around my mind is heightened by the fact that it’s close to time when we came face to face with how life changing (and life-threatening) bullying can be.  October 26th, 2012 to be exact.  That was the day when…this one….suffered cardiac arrest at school.  Estimates were that he had stopped breathing for at least 5 minutes.  FIVE minutes of no oxygen to the brain.  A series of amazing events and people revived him.  But his body was seizing uncontrollably.  Long story short, he was airlifted to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC, where he was placed in a polar suit which lowered his body temp considerably.  He was in a coma for three days, ‘woke up’ on the third day, and the rest is history.

So where does the bullying come in?  And what caused the cardiac arrest?  We didn’t realize that Tanner had a heart condition called CPVT.  It’s a condition in which either physical exertion or emotional distress can trigger an arrhythmia which runs out of control and results in fainting, seizing, and possibly cardiac arrest. Yes, cardiac arrest in an otherwise healthy 13 year old boy.  I will just say that what triggered the cardiac arrest that day wasn’t physical exertion.  I wish it had been.  It would’ve been much easier to handle that way.  No, what caused Tanner’s body to ultimately shut down, was emotional distress….and the “b” word.

Tanner’s path hasn’t been an easy one.  Previous to him going to school I had only had two of my kids go to the principal’s office.  One was an incident in a Christian K-4 class where my son lied about kissing a girl.  (I repeat, K-4 year old class!), and another was when my son pushed back another student when he was in 6th grade. But to protect the innocent and sometimes not so innocent, I will only say that school for Tanner had never been easy.  Maturity levels and a stubborn streak along with some impulsivity invited ridicule from other students.  And it came with a fury.

Tanner learned about bullying from both sides.  From the side of being bullied, and later, from the side of bullying.  He had started taking things into his own hands and fighting back in a way that didn’t help him.  But in the beginning of 7th grade, he turned it around.  He was encouraged by adults (strongly encouraged by adults including the principal) to not retaliate.  To let the adults handle it.  To not fight back.  To take it.

So, on the morning of October 26th, 2012 (and who knows how many other days) he did what he was told.  He took it.  When a student ruthlessly teased and provoked him in his class, he didn’t fight back.  As the day wore on, the mean comments continued and he was getting more and more upset.  The students in the class saw what was going on.  Tanner, who by this point would most often fight back, chose not to.  And while he was standing in line at the cafeteria, Tanner went down.  He went down on the cafeteria floor and and stopped breathing.  Imagine 7th grade students watching this play out…the relentless teasing, the stress that it places on all of them, and then watching Tanner just fall to the ground.  As stated earlier, he was miraculously revived.  God has been so good to us.  But the heartache…literal and physical…was so much more than physiological not just for Tanner, but for the students who took it all in, and for those of us who absolutely adore this kid.

There are many shades of bullying, and like dominoes falling, one thing can lead to another in terms of how students react not just to being bullied, bullying, but even in witnessing events.  Tanner’s heart condition led him to have a severe reaction to bullying, but it reinforced the truth that it  can take a mental, emotional, even physiological response.  The emotional distress was too much and his heart went into overdrive and then stopped. Thankfully, the school went on lock-down and an incredible staff joined together to both revive Tanner, and also hurry the students away from witnessing more than what they had already seen as they administered CPR to an unresponsive child.  But they had seen so much already.  Bullying brings us all down on unimaginable levels.  It hurts everyone.

One of my favorite quotes is “Where courage is not, no other virtue can survive except by accident.” (Sam Johnson).  Sometimes courage is silent and lets things roll. We need to teach our children to listen to the right voices. Matter of fact, we need to listen to the right voices. Sometimes courage goes to the line of battle and steps in to say or do the right thing. When we see someone being mistreated, courage  discreetly steps in and protects the unprotected.  Courage is strength to do the right thing no matter how difficult the circumstance.  For adults as well as children. Plato’s words “Silence breeds consent” ring true.  May we never turn a blind eye to people being mistreated. May we teach our children that strength is standing up for the weak even when it puts us in the place of scrutiny.

So, when I look at the photo of this one with the poster that he was so excited about, designed with the help of his brother,and stood there holding with pride, I’m thankful and hopeful.  Thankful for new beginnings.  Thankful for growth.  Hopeful for the way that we can live and learn and grow….when we’re children, and when we’re adults. Bullying is a huge issue in our schools, in our communities, in our world.  The  modes of communication like the internet and cell phones and social media make it so much easier to bully people. The toll it takes is often like a silent killer….little by little crushing the spirits of the victims and, on the flip side, changing the perpetrator for the worst. Bottom line, bullying kills. It robs and kills and destroys over time. It happens one word at a time.  But,so does stopping it.

So, when I look at these words that are on this one’s poster? I think I’ll focus on the right side, and be thankful for grace and lessons learned in my life and my children’s lives.  Lessons may not be learned perfectly, but I’m thankful for the moments when I can see in such a visible way, that at least we’re moving in the right direction.  And we’re all the better for it. And I hope our lessons learned will impact others. Tanner is teaching me. And I think a few of these posters are going to go up in my students’ rooms at my school. Love how lessons learned can be multiplied and made new. Yes, I’m thankful for a new October. So thankful.

The rest of the story  about Tanner is shared in some previous posts ( and


I couldn’t help but smile as I sat on the couch and listened as my 17 year old son walked back and forth in the living room talking on the phone to his older brother. The cleats and baseball pants he had worn on the baseball field an hour earlier had given way to dress shoes clicking on the hardwood floors of our living room. He was trying on his tuxedo for his first prom, and looked just as much at ease in this get up as he does in his baseball uniform in the dugout. He smiled and said, “I could get used to this…I feel like a king or something!”

I laughed. His brother laughed. His brother understood and remembered.

As I sat there and watched, I marveled, and was thankful for the little rites of passage, and the incredible gift to be able to be there with him and enjoy these little moments. Again. He has 3 older brothers who have already done the prom thing. His sister had so enjoyed it as well and had twirled and spun like she had when she was a little girl in a pretty new dress. But it’s his turn, and it’s new for him, and that makes it a joy for me.

And as I sat on the couch and watched him pace back and forth (with a little intentional slide every once in a while, for the patent leather dress shoes had very little grip), I couldn’t help but see the little 5 year old boy in this 17 year old body. I couldn’t help but think that this was yet one more step of that little boy becoming a man. Not because of the prom, or the suit, or the date, but because each new experience brings a bit more independence and growth. I just hope that as he becomes a man, he always feels “like a king” in his suit and at the same time, feels the freedom to slide every once in a while in his grip less patent leather dress shoes. Life is too short not to slide or twirl every once in a while, that’s for sure!

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