Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

the real fun to be had… April 27, 2011

Filed under: Milestones — dayna @ 11:55 pm

…a kind-of wordless Wednesday.

Last Saturday (the day before Easter), we took the girls to an egg hunt at a local farmer’s market. And yes, East coast friends, we do hide eggs in cactus out here. That’s how we roll in the wild west.

The farmer’s market was decent, but the egg hunt was just sort of ho-hum; one of the many reasons we will probably do something different next year.

The little ladies soon found that the real fun to be had was on the market’s playground. Smart cookies 🙂

Click here  if you want to see more southwest style egg hunting and the creepiest Easter bunny ever!


Risen April 24, 2011

Filed under: Faith,Milestones — dayna @ 11:47 pm

So today didn’t go quite as expected.

Our Easter “sunrise service” consisted of me holding back hair as the three-year old dealt with a 6 a.m. tummy bug. Needless to say, no church attendance for us today.  We thought it better not to share the germs. You’re welcome!

But you know, kids “do sick” so differently than adults, don’t they? By 10 a.m. she was clamoring for some festivities. Thankfully, the grandparents in our family aren’t the type to mind if we show up with certain bins in tow. Color-coordinated with dresses, of course :).

The day was filled with beautiful spring weather, food, and celebrations of faith. We enjoyed a little family time, even though something about this year made much of our loved extended family seem extra far away…

Although we have fun with some of the more secular aspects of Easter tradition like egg hunts, baskets, and decorations; I have often wondered if it confuses the message for children. 

But tonight, while tucking in and saying prayers, I found some peace.

The big girl said so simply “Jesus died on the cross and came back to life so we could be with God.” Well, there you go.

Today I am remembering that I live…only because He lives.

He is risen.


Anybody know of any good Easter-related books for the little ones? I couldn’t find what I was looking for at the library.  I would love your creative suggestions!


More Friday April 23, 2011

Filed under: Faith — dayna @ 11:43 pm

All week my mind was dwelling on Friday.

This Friday. “Good ” Friday.

With every passing year, the events represented by this day mean so much more.

Each year, when I think about sacrifice and separation, I want more reverence.

Each year I am more certain of the need for this day. 

My need for this day. This cross.

I am faced with more of my own pride, shame, anger, selfishness.

I want to do something more to remember. Be something more (or less) to honor Him.

But I was, and continue to be, “lost for words” about Friday.

This song just kept echoing its essence…

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing

For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled


In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

Jeremy Riddle’s “Sweetly Broken”

 Listen here.

*Updated on 4/25/11- Darcie wrote an interesting post about Tenebrae service. Ever been to one?


The Fairest April 21, 2011

Filed under: Milestones — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I have a confession to make. I like fairs.

I like the lights, the energy, the people-watching, the community, the livestock, and… some seriously indulgent fair food. Maybe it’s because the fair was such a big deal in my somewhat rural hometown. We even got a few days off school.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blind to the less savory parts: the dirt, the public drunkenness, the often questionable entertainment, the shady characters, the rickety rides.

In fact, a few years ago, my husband and I had a fair-related revelation of sorts. After riding a “thrill” ride, we both seemed to notice every rusty screw and creaky sound. While strolling around, we found ourselves continually commenting on the fun-having families surrounding us. We gazed longingly at kids perched atop Daddy-shoulders and Mommies baby-wearing. Our suspicions seemed confirmed; we were “ready” to join the parent set. (Or just getting old…)

Fast forward to now. We are in the ranks; experiencing the fair through our little girls’ eyes.

This year we enjoyed a salty dinner complete with mountain of curly fries, braved the petting zoo, and made our way to the livestock barns. The little one demonstrated her growing knowledge of animal sounds; belting out “moos” and “baas” to anything on four legs. There were delighted squeals at playing goats and blissful smiles while stroking soft rabbit coats.

And then…the rides.

This year I went ahead and bought some discounted advance purchase ride tickets, anticipating a few rides for the big girl.

We started out slowly. First we rode the carousel. She sat tall in the saddle; wanting to enjoy herself, but wanting Mommy’s arms on her even more.

Next up was the ferris wheel with Daddy; a father-daughter tradition of sorts (ok- so its only the second year- see below).  The tiny one took a break from flirtations with innocent line-standers to join me for some fresh squeezed lemonade, while Dad and big sis waited for the painfully slow loading and unloading process that pretty much defines a ferris wheel ride.

But then, on the kiddie roller coaster… someone went and grew up.

I got on with our three and a half-year old on her first go-round. We sat side by side in the front seat.

I glance to my right to see her gripping the bar as we take off. I can’t take my eyes off her as a delighted grin spreads over her face. Her eyes wide and sparkling with that magical mix of fun and fear. She is visibly thrilled when she hears the screams of the kids behind her. She heartily lifts her voice to join in the crazed chorus.

Head thrown back, cheeks flushed, hair streaming. She was transformed.

Before my eyes, my prim pre-schooler becomes a full-fledged kid.

“Again! Again! Let’s go again,” she pleads breathlessly as we pull in.

From that point on, she found her way; sliding slides, bouncing jeeps, obstacle courses, and the dragon roller coaster again. This time emphatically by herself.

Out of the corner of her eye though, she was making sure we were there…watching.

Slow down. Not so fast little one.

Last year 2010: a tentative two-year-old

Next year…there may be a wristband involved. Have mercy!

Sorry! No pics this year. We’re still recovering from an, uh, camera incident.

What about you? What is your favorite fair food? Do you let your kids ride the rides?



spring in their steps April 20, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 10:00 am






Serving those who serve April 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — dayna @ 11:43 pm

I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never really given it that much thought.

Deployment just hasn’t been a part of my personal reality.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been appreciative in words, thoughts, or prayers towards military family acquaintances. Or that I haven’t shed tears while watching movies depicting the struggles and transitions of those affected by deployment. Or that I haven’t been completely in awe upon meeting a military spouse juggling family, work, or school.

I just hadn’t given specific thought to the question “How does that work?”

A month or so ago, the girls and I entertained a sweet runaway dog for a few hours while we attempted to locate her owner. Thankfully, she was micro-chipped and after numerous phone calls, we were able to trace her to a temporary home at a neighbor’s house.  The neighbor is a young man serving in the Air Force and trying to contain dog-sit this pony-sized pup while her “mommy” is deployed.

That evening I mused to my husband about how common that situation must be amongst our single young people serving, and how difficult it would be to find someone to care for your pet for such an extended amount of time. I was baffled that it had never occurred to me before.

Recently, a friend’s husband was deployed for the first time in their married life. His wife is a lovely soft-spoken woman who is bright and always incredibly positive. She is a mother to four (!) teenager-ish kids and works outside the home full-time.  She mentioned that this was coming and I tried to be supportive in word and by listening, but… that was pretty much it. Gulp.

And then he went, and there were glimpses that this might be (duh) really hard for her. Another sweet friend sprang into action organizing some meals for the family so that they would have at least one less thing to deal with right now. But beyond the food and the normal friendly attempts at trying to cheer her up and let her know that we are here to listen, I am ashamed to say that I am a bit at a loss.

My brain has been whirring.

How would my family do that? We would have to use so much childcare! How would transportation work? How would everything get done? The details of my (albeit imaginary) scenario quickly grew daunting. And that’s not even considering the emotional toll on a wife…on a family.

So comes the question, “How do we show our appreciation for this family’s willingness to serve?”

I found a few potentially helpful websites. I also found some tough statistics. In a recent Operation Appreciation survey, about 90% of military family members said that they felt that the general public didn’t understand the sacrifices they make.

So I am asking you for your help. Got any ideas?

Have you or your spouse ever been deployed? How did others support you in ways that were really truly helpful? I would love specific ways to support a family during this challenging time. How do we assure our friend that although we know she is strong and competent, ________ is the least we can do…

I hope you will join in the discussion and help me fill in the blanks.

  *In my internet ramblings, I was also led to Ashleigh’s blog where she writes about this experience with courage, honesty, and rare beauty. 



@ 34 April 13, 2011

Filed under: Milestones,Motherhood — dayna @ 5:00 am


Thankful for this unexpected life.

Never would have dreamed… that this would be my dream.


Friday for Frances (a giveaway!) April 8, 2011

Filed under: reads,Stuff — dayna @ 4:35 am

Have you met Frances? I sure hope so.

I’m sort of a nut about kid’s books. Or “children’s literature” if you want to be really proper about things. Thanks to my somewhat sentimental, majorly bookish type parents, I still have many of the actual copies of my favorite childhood books.  This is slightly less weird now that I am a parent myself.I often find myself recommending a book that I adored as a child; only to pause, wondering if it will still hold up under the scrutiny of my “now-a-mom” filter.

I am pleased to announce that in 2011, Frances doesn’t disappoint. In fact, she delivers.

Frances is Russell Hoban’s precocious young badger. She captures hearts and entertains as she faces the challenges of early childhood with her clever, often pointed songs. Although most of these books were written in the 1960’s, Frances’ parents remain brilliant in their calm, affectionate, and logical dealings with their youngsters. Frances learns her lessons in her (humorous) own time.

Now for a little overview of some (chronological) Frances antics:

In Bedtime for Frances, Frances struggles with learning to “put herself to sleep” and pulls all the usual tricks to delay bedtime. The always perfect Garth Williams’  illustrations are especially sweet in this one.

In A Baby Sister for Frances, the new big sis decides that “things are not very good around here anymore” after little Gloria joins the family. She proceeds to run away (to under the dining-room table), and eventually learns of her own special place in the badger family.

Bread and Jam for Frances is probably our household’s favorite. When Frances decides she wants to eat nothing but bread and jam, her unflappable parents lovingly ensure that this happens. Meanwhile, Frances receives brilliant counsel from her ahead-of-his-time “foodie” friend Albert.

Frances tries to cope with her younger sister’s spotlight in A Birthday for Frances. Her songs, spelling, and dialog in this one are spot-on hilarious. You just have to read this book (and laugh) out loud.

In Best Friends for Frances, our heroine learns some bittersweet lessons about childhood friendships and family. Although the gentle messages in this book are well-taken, there is a little name-calling (which made for some important discussion with our three-year old).

There are a few Frances books that we have yet to read: Egg Thoughts and Other Frances Songs, and A Bargain for Frances. I would love to hear your comments if you have read those…


(No, she isn’t incarcerated, I’m giving her away!)

Leave me a topic related comment by Friday 4/15/11, (which book you would like perhaps:)).  I’ll contact the randomly selected winner by e-mail to get your mailing address and… voila! Free Frances of your choice delivered to your door.

P.S. Don’t books make the best gifts?

Congratulations to Becky and Amanda who are both getting some Frances! You never know what’s going to happen around here;)


Today: spring (with bling) April 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — dayna @ 11:54 pm





The act of not honking April 3, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith — dayna @ 11:12 pm

Otherwise titled “Deep Thoughts While Driving (with) Miss Dayna.”

It had been one of those mornings. The type which would surely be hilarious to the outside observer, but to the mommy in the midst, is nothing short of an endurance test. The sole mission the girls and I had that day was to get to the grocery store; yet somehow it was taking forever just to get out the door..

I was tired upon waking. There had already been countless meltdowns by the big girl about who really knows what. When the littler sis wasn’t needing to be held, she was “reorganizing” cupboards and drawers with blazing speed. I was exhausted and sadly unsympathetic.

Picture this for example: all three girls in the hall bathroom. The big sis replies “Oh no, Mommy! I wasn’t hitting you. I was just high-fiving your body.” (I have to admit I cracked a small smile at that one). After a brief discussion of semantics with a three-year old, I turned, only to discover that the tiny one had been busy emptying every last wipe from the container.

Finally, we just did the “cut and run” technique: scrambling out the door with dishes still in the sink, mountains of laundry in the living room, and tiny toyish things littering what seemed like every square inch of floor.

After buckling both girls into their car seats with trembling hands, I literally dropped to my knees on the garage floor, hot tears welling in my eyes. Horrified that I was already so frustrated by 10:30 a.m., I desperately pleaded for strength and patience, calm and quiet.

As we pulled away from the house, I turned on the radio, hoping for a renewed spirit. A few miles into our drive, I complied with the big sis’ request and slipped in one of her favorite CDs.

And then it happened.

Or, more accurately, didn’t happen.

I looked up and the light was green. Good and green. Embarrassed, I hastily pulled away.

And then it dawned on me.

The quiet.

The woman behind me had not honked.

Now, maybe she had been preoccupied too and just hadn’t noticed my lack of timely forward motion.

Or maybe, just maybe, she made a conscious decision not to honk. Maybe she was at peace enough in her day and spirit that she offered me momentary grace, certain that I would eventually see the color change and pull away.

In that very situation, I have been known to lightly “tap” my horn.

You know- as just a reminder, of course.

As if the person forgot where they were. As if they won’t look up at any second and move swiftly forward.

Amazing when you can learn those important spiritual truths, isn’t it?

You see, I honk a lot.

Not literally. Not in the car. But with my words. I “honk” at my family: my husband, the girls. Just, you know- reminding them of things.

As if these are things they don’t already know. Or as if they might not be better off discovering them themselves. As if they forget where they are. As if they won’t look up at any second and then move swiftly forward.

So I’m going to try to practice the act of not honking.

Because I never know whose day it might turn around. Who may be amazed by a simple small moment of grace.

Sometimes, I’m learning, the act of kindness may be the thing I don’t do.