1
The story of an answered prayer named Praise
2
What will you choose to taste this summer?
3
Trusting God can be hard. Not trusting? Even harder.
4
5 truths our kids need most (hint: getting into the right college isn’t one of them)
5
Why I am living in this “Mommy” moment
6
What to do when you need a Parenting Time-Out
7
UPDATE: Praise, patience and prayers
8
Who’s complaining? I am! …but then I remember this.
9
In the darkness of this Good Friday—watch and pray
10
When where you sit matters more than where you step

The story of an answered prayer named Praise

By Abigail McConnell

There’s this boy I know in Kenya. And his story has only just begun.

Back in March I introduced you to a boy with a tumor. A boy who seemed to have a sad story, with more chapters of loss and pain than his young life deserved.

But God named that boy Praise. And God always gets the last word.

When I wrote about Praise, it was out of utter frustration. As part of the US community that supports KCK, the children’s home that cares for him, I had received email after email updating us on his infuriatingly slow journey through the Kenyan healthcare system. After three months, I had had it. I couldn’t do much, but I could write. I could ask you to pray. I wrote as an impatient American irritated by the reality that if Praise had been born within our borders, he wouldn’t have had to endure even one week of that tumor growing in his skull.

But all stories have settings, and Praise’s is Kenya, where time moves slow. The days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and after more plot twists than I can recount, surgery was finally confirmed for June 3. Which just happened to be smack in the middle of our trip to Kenya (to three children’s homes, including KCK), by a team of 7 women from our church. A trip scheduled long before any of us knew about a tumor.

And one of those women? Well, she happens to be Praise’s sponsor. Read More

What will you choose to taste this summer?

By Leigh Sain

Watermelon signals the beginning of summer at our house. Despite the fact that my boys adore this juicy fruit and the grocery stores now stock this delicacy year round, I have a thing about not buying it until it’s warm enough to go barefoot. Weird rule, I know. But my gang has finally come to accept it and eagerly awaits the coming of this season. So as I rush into the kitchen to make supper, I find it odd that there is a paper plate piled full of fresh watermelon abandoned in the middle of our deck table. No boys to be found. Only stacks of uneaten watermelon. What in the world?

Muttering about wasted food and irresponsible boys, I stomp outside to collect the fruit before the ants invade. As I grab the sopping paper plate, two of my boys appear out of nowhere and barrel towards the deck yelling, “No mom! Don’t throw it away—we are gonna eat it!” Sure you are. That’s why it is just sitting here gathering ants?

“It was frozen when we took it out of the fridge, must’ve been pushed too far back. We were letting it sit in the sun for a bit and now we are gonna taste it and see if it is good. Ya know, cause things melt in the sun!” the older boy explains as they all grab pieces and begin slurping up the sugary goodness.

“Hey! It worked!” the little one exclaims. “The sun melted it and made it good! Taste it and see!” He barks his orders at me while waving the other half of his piece under my nose.

All I see is the disaster. Read More

Trusting God can be hard. Not trusting? Even harder.

By Beth Hartt

While preparing the craft for a Sunday school lesson recently, I found myself writing “Trust God” over and over on popsicle sticks.  It’s not a hard lesson to teach 1st and 2nd graders—trusting God comes easily to 7-year-olds. You tell them they should trust God because he knows what’s best for them and they don’t question it.

For adults, however, trusting God is a little more complicated.

I know I should trust God, and not just with the big stuff. But so often I only want to pray to him about the things I just don’t know what to do with instead of making him a part of every decision I make. And despite what I know to be true, I find myself believing the lie that I can handle whatever it is I’m dealing with just fine on my own. It feels like I’m in a constant wrestling match with God over things I think I can control. Only … I’m the lone wrestler. God is patiently waiting for me to realize, again, that yes, I do in fact need him for everything. Apart from him, I can do nothing. Read More

5 truths our kids need most (hint: getting into the right college isn’t one of them)

*Note: This post originally ran last May, and has been one of our most-read posts of all time.  With those banners going up again, we think it’s worth reposting. Don’t ask Abigail about it though, because now her oldest is almost a senior and talking about it might make her cry.
 

By Abigail McConnell

The graduation banners are up everywhere. Have you seen them?

They hang at neighborhood entrances, congratulating seniors name by name. Maybe it’s the new norm everywhere, or maybe it’s just around here, I’m not sure. But I confess they make me a little uneasy.

Don’t get me wrong. These kids have worked hard and it’s time to say well done. Graduation is a major milestone that already puts a lump in my throat — and I’ve still got two years till our oldest graduates. (Two years that will feel like six minutes.)

But the banner thing, it kind of makes me feel like we’re all playing a game. Like some 18-year match of College-opoly that culminates in the unveiling of a grand leader-board for all to see.

I’ve always assumed my kids will go to college, and I want them to push hard and find their strengths and dig deep into knowing. And yes, the kid who goes to college has a more secure financial future.  But, maybe mine won’t. Maybe yours won’t.

What would a blank spot after their name on that banner mean? Read More

Why I am living in this “Mommy” moment

By Mary-Evelyn Starnes

Lately, when someone asks how things with the kids are going, I say, “We’re finally in a good place. They can bathe themselves but they still call me Mommy. It’s the best of both worlds.”

So when my son called me “Mom” the other day, I did not take it well. My daughter had dropped the “-my” a few weeks before, a change I reluctantly accepted as a rite of passage for the girl who is 9 going on 19. But I could not accept it from my not-quite-seven-year-old. Not from my baby. Read More

What to do when you need a Parenting Time-Out

By Leigh Sain

She says it innocently, this sweet friend of mine, as we stand in the school copy room. The morning sun is streaming in through the windows, steam rising slowly off the tops of our paper coffee cups and her eyes twinkle with real honesty. “I just love this age. My kids are so great, now. They get along so well. We’re finally seeing the benefits of having them so close together.”

I had asked about her boys, who are the same ages as my older two.

“And you? How are yours?” she turns the conversation my way over the hum of the whirring copy machine. Umm … how did I not see this coming? Mine? Fine? I should’ve asked about the weather. Read More

UPDATE: Praise, patience and prayers

By Abigail McConnell

Several weeks ago I wrote about Praise, a little boy in Kenya with a tumor growing behind his eye, and I wanted to give you an update.

Well, I have good news and bad news.  Read More

Who’s complaining? I am! …but then I remember this.

By Jennifer Graham Kizer

I have a complaint. I have several, actually. But you haven’t got all day, so I’ll stick to the one I’m thinking of right now.

My older daughter’s fourth grade class has 31 kids in it. This is too big! The teacher spends more time on crowd control than she does on teaching. It’s easy for kids to fall through the cracks, to hide out in the back, to zone out. Behavior problems sprout up.

Students perform best when the class size is capped at 20. Anecdotal evidence bears it out, but there are also hard research numbers. My daughter’s teacher agrees that the class is too big. “Feel free to mention it to administration,” she said, when I complained. Read More

In the darkness of this Good Friday—watch and pray

By Mary-Evelyn Starnes

It seems to happen every year. Death and tragedy right around Easter.  For several years growing up, it seemed like our church lost a member every Holy Week.  Surely it was not every year, but it felt like we often got a dose of death that turned us from joyous to somber, darkening the Easter pastels we had already adorned our homes with. As an adult, on this Good Friday, I think a reminder that death is real is not a bad thing. There can be no joy in the resurrection if death is not real to us.

But it’s not just natural death. This season seems rife with senseless violence. With tragedy. How many April mornings have I been sitting at my computer frantically finishing up tax returns only to be derailed when I open my internet browser? There was Virginia Tech. There was the Boston Marathon. And now this. Now a college in Kenya, and my heart is sick. Read More

When where you sit matters more than where you step

By Leigh Sain

Spring has sprung here in the south. And after 900 cold, wet winter days with no outside play time for my wild boys, I am a bit in love this new season. Mostly because it has brought freedom to open the front door and let the wildings take their leaping ninja-fighting selves outside.

For five minutes life is a bit calmer, and then I notice an odd thing happening with my littlest guy. He is spending these glorious new spring days crying. Constantly. Right out in the middle of our cul-de-sac. Read More

Copyright 2014 The Cul de Sac.

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