The Name Game

LauraAll Posts

Yikes! We only have 20 weeks to discover the perfect name for this little baby! (“Jingle Bells” will only seem cute for a limited time!) Help me think through these names. Any impressions? (This is a limited list of possibilities… I have to stop searching at the moment. So, look at these for the time being and pass along any treasures you might think of!)


Joshua: God is salvation

Silas: Man of the forest

Sebastian: Venerable

Solomon: Peaceful

Karsen: Christian

Matteo: Gift of God


Serena: Serene, Calm

Sarena: Princess, One who Laughs

Lia: Bearer of Good News (At least that’s what I thought it meant when I looked it up a couple of months ago… but now I can only find websites that list its meaning as “weary” or “cow,” which is really too bad since we adore this name. Is it legal to change the meaning of a name?)

Lilia: Lily (We’d call her “Lia”)

Amalia: hard-working, industrious (We’d call her… “Lia”)

Malia: Calm and peaceful (We’d still call her “Lia”)

Serenity: Peaceful Disposition

Skylar: Scholar

Lisette: God is my oath


LauraAll Posts

Does this word still exist outside of the credit realm?

It must, because it’s the “Word of the Day” in my spirit. I’ve been wrestling with this: that sickening feeling of someone really getting under my skin. I’m talking that total personality clash where it’s hard for me to think straight because I’m so overwhelmed by our differences. Everything this person does and says is exactly opposite of what I would do and say. (Do ya know what I mean?) The result? I end up walking around in a fog of on-edged-defensive-judgmental-hurt-and-ultra-sensitive junk when I’m in that person’s presence. Because I am so wrapped up in not liking who that other person is, I have a very hard time being who I am. And we all know that this stinks. (Important detail: If you are reading this, it’s not you! :))

The crazy thing is that the other person typically never seems to realize that our personalities clash; on the contrary, he or she seems to think we’re bound to be the best of friends. (Unless, of course, that person has already learned forbearance and is graciously loving me despite our differences. Which is very possible.)  But I’m tired of reacting to this same personality clash with defeat and intimidation. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t love that person because it just hurts too much or requires too much from me.

In the past, I’ve gained *impressive* victory over this by distancing myself from *that person* as much as possible. When enough time and distance had passed, I’d be tickled-pink with myself to realize that, if I ran into her, I could hold a pleasant 5-minute conversation with little-to-no irritation and move on with my life. I’m sensing that God wants me to mature a little more deeply than that. If there is always going to be a personality that clashes with mine, and if there will always be people who are different than I am (and there will be), I better listen to what He’s teaching me. Besides, I want to be an inspiration for all the people whom I annoy… perhaps encourage them to have a bit more patience with me (insert: wink)!

That’s where forbearance comes to mind. It’s a beautiful seldom-used word that, in this case, means: “to endure, be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.” Many internal and public conflicts are caused by amoral differences between people: preferences, traditions, personality differences. When we forbear, we refrain from becoming irritated with these differences, and choose to love instead. May this word never be mistaken for the world’s definition of “tolerance,” but may it always cause Christians to live in unity with one another. Here are the Scriptures that God has been speaking to me…

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Romans 3:24b – 25 …Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Since my Father offered forbearance towards me (and He knows how different we are from each other), I want to offer forbearance towards everyone: including that *one person*… I’m hoping that as these Scriptures come alive in my spirit, they will enable me to walk in the freedom of forbearance.

Thanks, Grandmom Ruthie!

LauraAll Posts

I wish I had had my camera with me, but I just wanted to let you know, mom, that with her precious quarters, Vivienne purchased a whole handful of chick-lets and an adventurous ride on Clifford.  The small change transformed into a relational blessing when the little boy waiting in line for Clifford asked Vivienne to join him for a second ride (what a thrill!).  Afterwards, Vivienne gave him two pieces of her gum in appreciation for his skootching over just for her.


A Silver Tongue

LauraAll Posts

A visit from my sister usually convicts me about how flippant and sarcastic I can still be with someone who *has to* love me despite my ugliness. I don’t know why, but this particular sister always gets the worst of my words (I think Ryan must come in second place for my carelessness). She’ll be telling a story and I’ll interject something terrible that mocks, ridicules, demeans, whatever. She usually looks at me in shock (even though I’ve done it enough times to pacify the shock-effect), and asks, “Why did you just say that?” Her faithful responses and the Holy Spirit always convict me, but I stubbornly indulge in my ugly humor. I hate this pattern. And I’m so ready to live in freedom from this sin (that’s why I’m “going public” with it).

After she left, I sat down to read through the “Communication” chapter in The Excellent Wife and was struck to the core with Scriptures about how wise it is to purify my speech, beginning with a close examination of my heart and ending with a deliberate training of the words I speak (or don’t speak, in most cases!) These Scriptures were most instructive…

And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12: 36-37

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.  Proverbs 15:28


A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.  Proverbs 15:4.

I learned that every sarcastic and careless word that I speak reveals a part of my heart that I’ve not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ: a “breach” in my spirit that needs God’s healing. When I examined why I spoke what I thought was funny but knew was hurtful (my friend calls these things “death-humor”), I realized that I’ve never confessed and sought transformation of the “death-humor” that I’ve entertained in movies, TV shows, comedic shows, and conversations. For example, I remember thinking that Adam Sandler’s “Goat-boy” skits (a college-kid favorite) were hilarious, but in listening to them, I wasn’t guarding my heart; instead, I was feeding my love for sarcasm and unknowingly preparing myself for the mean quips that I throw at people who I really do love. So, this is where I began my confession.

I’ve agreed to the process of putting aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from my mouth (Col. 3:8), through confessing, meditating on relevant Scripture, and actually practicing kind words… And being grateful when people who love me ask, “Why’d you just say that?” One day, may I be one of those women who has so surrendered her words to Jesus Christ that everything she speaks is a precious gift…

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver… Proverbs 10: 20

jingle bells: week 20 prayers

LauraAll Posts


Weigh in: 10.5 inches and 10.5 ounces of “solid baby-miracle goodness” (as one website put it)

Big picks this week: bones continue to ossify and strengthen, finger and toe pads are finishing up. The limbs have reached their relative proportions, the eyelashes and eyelids are visible… the baby is really looking like one of us (at one eighth of its birth weight). So, although we are half-way there, most of the “significant gains are yet to come!” (this is one web site’s positive spin on what will happen in both of our bodies over the next 20 weeks…)

Please pray about our doctor’s appointment on Tuesday morning: the big ultrasound that will check the baby, and my body’s maintenance of the pregnancy. We’re anticipating very good news! Please hope for good news with us.

Also, lately, I’ve been struck by the importance of our heart’s choice to worship God alone; I greatly desire that all of our children worship Him, and walk away from the world’s emptiness. The verse that burns in my heart for all of our children is, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21, including the passionate context). I know that God can begin crafting whole-hearted God-love even when a child is in the womb; please join me in praying this blessing for our little baby!

learning simple multiplication while coping with grief

LauraAll Posts

Ah, parenting. Isn’t it so nice to bask in a good lesson that you invent in a tight moment; your child absorbs the lesson and beams up at you with gratitude just for taking the time to teach her so well? …Until, of course, time passes and suddenly that lesson backfires.

The basking: When we are coloring and a long, slender, usually-naked crayon snaps in half, we smile at each other and say, “Now we have TWO!” instead of wallowing in the grief of the breakage itself. Glorious lesson, Teacher Laura! Multiplication and coping mechanisms! Genius!

The backfire: this approach is more complicated than I originally intended. Although Viv is thrilled with it, I’m tiring of it as it has *inspired* the break-down of most of our crayons. “Double the number of crayons!” you may exclaim with a smile (as does V), but Laura-the-school-supply-lover is longing for half the number of fresh long, clothed crayons with perfectly pointed tips. Of course, Laura-the-newly-faithful-steward cannot possibly justify buying a new box of crayons when we already have so many (remember, a cheery “double the number”!).

The battle-plan: In the works, is my next genius parenting lesson that somehow convinces Viv to color for hours on end (every day) until we wear those crayons down into little nubbins. THEN, we can justify the purchase of a fresh box.


being home

LauraAll Posts

This is my first year without out-of-our-home work and I am loving it. I love the changes that have had to occur in my accomplishment-addicted mind and in my definition of “worth.” I love that all of my time and energy flows into one man and two little children. And I love these people; I enjoy their company; one of my greatest goals is that they enjoy mine as well. I love that I can confidently enjoy the restful fact that one of my biggest responsibilities is loving these few people well. It just feels so deeply good.

I was thinking about how I could ever encourage other young women that taking care of our homes really can be a source of joy and contentment. I was thinking about how most women in my generation don’t even consider this option for various reasons.

As new studies reveal that day-care programs (and even preschools) can be, in fact, socially and educationally detrimental to children, I hope that increasingly more families choose for mothers to care for children at home (don’t worry, I’ll link up to the studies ASAP). One of the most pressing reasons for day-care is a lifestyle that demands two incomes per family. Sometimes, there aren’t many other options for a family. Most times though, there are many ways to rearrange our lifestyles in order to survive on one income. But it’s very difficult to make drastic changes once one is 30-something; by then, we already have the career path, the mindset, the habits, the goals, and all the stuff to go with it.

How helpful it would be to think through these things years ahead of time when one is just beginning to establish her own lifestyle. Sadly, placing our children in day-care can happen as early as accepting a steep college (or other type of) loan. Although an 18 year-old student might not even imagine having children, she might be making decisions that affect them. A college loan can turn into a demanding – and necessary, – job in order to justify/ pay off the loan, which can turn into a materialistic lifestyle, which can turn into bigger things (“debt”), which can turn into maintenance, insurance, addictions, and stress… all by the age of 30! By the time a little one comes along, day-care seems necessary. Even though it is not. Freedom from “we have no other choice” might just be a smaller house, a used car, 15-fewer outfits, and a modified monthly budget away. Hard, but praise-worthy, work. Most young people could choose this freedom from the beginning, with a little encouragement and counter-cultural living.

One of the most helpful resources for our family regarding financial freedom – which results in my opportunity to care for our family at home – has been Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Through this course, we learned how to get out of debt, save for the immediate and distant future, invest, and give generously. The information and action steps are simple enough for a non-financially-passionate mind like mine to understand and do (and even enjoy!).

Of course, another amazing God-given gift has been my husband’s divine (I’m not kidding) understanding of money… from generosity to debt-free living, this guy just seems to have a chunk of God’s heart on the matter. Things really changed in our home when I finally surrendered my unwieldy financial perceptions to simply follow Ryan’s financial wisdom “to the T.” (After a few years of wanting God to give Ryan a “godly passion” like working in an orphanage or leading Jr. High church retreats, I finally saw that God had given him a very godly passion… in stewarding money wisely. I realized that if I dragged my heels to follow him, we’d both miss out!)