Thursday, June 7, 2012

Don't Miss This Gift

© 2011 Ann Voskamp / Zondervan

I remember the first gift.

I was in a long line of anxious, grabby women. (Your narrator included.)
They were running out of books, and I needed three. Two for gifts, one for me. Hushed and hurried, clutching the three to my chest, I peered around the others to count my place in line, and I caught a glimpse of her, glowing patience amidst hurried, hoardy women.
We were justified in our hoarding. A presenter at Story, Ann Voskamp had just spoken rich, golden grace to poor, parched souls. She teased with hints of finding beauty and fullness in each moment, and we all had to see for ourselves.
Half-expecting fool’s gold, I approached her and held out my three. A warm smile and exchanged words, her hundredth autograph of the day scrolled beauty and grace on the page. Then (even as a trailing, chattering, weight-shifting line awaited) she stopped and laid her open hand on the page. Bowed her head. Lips moved.
Astonished, I blurted, “Did you just pray over my book? Do you pray over all of them?”
A shy (how could she be shy?), knowing smile answered, “Yes.”
Two more times, I watched, and her patient prayers sent me on a careening flashback to my sole line-bearing book signing. At first I neatly personalized and inscribed each with a sentence and signature, but as the line grew, I began crazily scribbling just my name (as if that were a gift at all).
And here was Ann Voskamp, seller of a gajillion books, embracing this one moment, this one, wide-eyed gawker, to stand still in the gold rush and gift me with a blessing.
That was it—the first of a thousand, the first of an infinite stream, a bottomless mine of pure grace-and-beauty gifts.
Please. Don’t judge this book by its cover. The title is One Thousand Gifts. But it’s so much more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Rest of the Story

Well, the photo probably says it all.

It didn't come easy, but in the end, I had gotten a lingering hug and most importantly, a "Mom, it's obvious that you love me."

(If you missed the first half of the story, you can read it here.)

How to Make Your Love Obvious to a Seven-Year-Old

Ah, what a warm, fuzzy feeling I was left with this morning as I sent my child off to day camp. I called, “I love you!” to which he responded, “That’s obvious.” (Read with loads of sarcasm.)

My crime? I hadn’t allowed him to replace his water bottle with a CamelBak backpack for day camp. Now, any wiser mom would’ve bitten her tongue and allowed the seven-year-old to lug our water-laden, adult-sized hiking backpack for seven hours in the Tennessee-summer sun. And that would’ve been the end of that. But considering the time restraint of the morning, I just said no. And no. And no. (Ad nauseam.)
Now, we already know the seven-year-old* is a bear in the mornings, but disrupt his best-laid plans, and you’ve got a big, mad grizzly on your hands.
He ran down the road. (Fortunately, a not-busy side road.) He hid behind the CHA unit. He refused to sit and buckle his seat belt (until I told him he’d be paying my ticket). All before the icing, "That's obvious."
In damage-control mode, I was able to get him sent on his way, but needless to say, this type of behavior has to be prevented from ever happening again. (Yeah, I know. Never say "ever.")
As I fumed plotted contemplated the appropriate discipline plan, “That’s obvious,” was still ringing in my ears.
When I returned home, I wrote the following note:

I’m still learning how to raise this hard-headed stubborn independent thinker. I’ll let you know how it goes. . . .

*Those who know the seven-year-old know that he's 95% sweetheart, 5% bear. However, the bear tends to prompt more writing therapy topics.