16th birthday...

today is maxx's 16th birthday. and just like last year, he isn't here. he is in the mountains at cross country camp.

in fact today is the day that he is running straight up a mountain. quite a way to celebrate. i prefer other methods of celebration. sedentary methods. but maxx likes to run up a mountain....

or scuba dive.

or survivalist camp.

or hike the appalachian trail.

or sing.

or play every musical instrument he can get his hands on.

but even though there are a million differences between he and his mom... he still hugs me. it is akin to me hugging a tall skinny and oh so solid tree. but it is still a hug from a teenage son. and i will take it whenever i can get it.

he sings in the shower. really loud. and really well. and sometimes broadway songs. sometimes my favorite broadway songs.

he reads c.s. lewis' screwtape letters aloud with me. and we talk about how amazingly perceptive clive staples lewis' vision was. and is...

he loves to play games. and cards. and is up for ANYthing that looks like fun.

he finally appreciates my cooking. (must be all the running up mountains.)

he is clever.

and funny. his laughter is contagious.

he is so kind that it makes my heart hurt because i know this world a little too well.

he is becoming more and more handsome by the minute, which also makes my heart hurt because i know teenage girls a little too well.

but thankfully for the both of us the grace of God is bigger than this world that i know way too well. 

so maxx, as always that only i advice that i feel fit to give you is advice from the One who knows you best. the One who created you with a joy of adventure and a heart of kindness. the One who make you fleet of foot and strong of conviction. the One who has a good future for you and will guide you lovingly into that future. the One who loves you even more than i love you...

He tells us to run the race set before you with perseverance.  to run it with your sense of humor. and your kind spirit. and your love of adventure. run it while singing a song. run it the way He created you to run it. and you will feel His pleasure....

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If one could run without getting tired,
I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.
— c.s. lewis
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birthday girl...

she was the first person that i ever knew that shared my genetic code...

and most days you would not realize that. 

i love all things pop in music. she loves all things alternative.

i am an early bird. she is a night owl.

i can barely balance a checkbook. she can do the most difficult math problems and ENJOYS solving that problem.

i eat when i am stressed. she doesn’t eat when she is stressed. 

i love to write. she does not like writing. (though she is really good at it).

i thought she would be JUST LIKE ME. i may have even prayed for it. but i am always so glad that romans 8:26 teaches us that “we do not know what we ought to pray for”. because the Sprit always has to do a lot of interceding on my behalf. i tend to keep the Spirit VERY busy in His intercessory gig... and in this case the Lord knew that it would be for my good and hers if she was not like me. yes, very good for both of us. even if is wasn’t always pleasant for me...

i will say that the hardest part of parenting a teenager is noticing that all the things that i endlessly lecture her about are all the things that i myself need a lecture on. it is for my good (even though it irritates me greatly) to realize that all the things that make me the most naggy and unrighteously angry at her are the very things that i am trying to avoid/ignore about myself. seems that when i point one finger at her that i have three pointing back at me. ugh.

things like eating habits... exercise... need for approval... quick to be stressed. seems she is more like me than i originally thought. why is it that all the ways that she is like me are the things that i don’t like about myself? that seems a bit unfair.

of course i read something about that propensity once... somewhere... oh here it was...

Luke 6:42 

How can you say to your brother (or daughter), ‘Brother (or daughter), let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite (or mother named LEA), first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s (or daughter’s) eye.

of course, if i have another piece of the grasshopper pie that i made for her birthday i will forget all about those faults of mine. because there were some ingredients in the pie that 17 years olds really shouldn’t have too much of... or 43 year olds. good thing that i had eva (a presbyterian) to procure those items. 

she is a wonderful 17 year old. and if she has survived 17 years with me as a mother, then she might be able to survive anything...

And thou shalt in thy daughter see,
This picture, once, resembled thee.

{ambrose philips}