“Sailboat” – A Song for the Lonely (Sung by my Son)

Back in the day, moms carried around a wallet filled with their kids’ pictures.  But it’s a new day.  I’m passing around a YouTube link. This kid – my kid – has been discouraged for years by teachers and school administrators because he doesn’t learn in a way that the school recognizes as ideal. He has also been blessed by some incredible cheerleaders and advocates, for whom we are incredibly grateful.

If you know anything about my family’s story, you know that our journey has been filled with opportunities to move past labels or “what people think” so the world can begin to understand that gifts come in all kinds of packages,  intelligence can’t always be measured by letters of the alphabet, and potential is not decided by skeptics.

Certainly, we all have felt just like a sailboat many times.  You can tell from his voice that this kid knows that feeling, too.  But I hope and pray he feels the wind blowing him exactly where he needs to be as he pursues his dreams, today and always.

Enjoy Jackson’s cover of Ben Rector‘s song, “Sailboat.”

I Guess God Thought of Everything

I  grew up in a pastor’s home and learned early in life that it’s good to have a few songs ready to sing at any given moment – especially when we went to my grandparents’ church. Thank goodness Bill and Gloria Gaither had created little 45 vinyl records with kids songs  – there were voices and music on one side and accompaniment-only on the other side.

The records were tucked into books with all the lyrics and illustrations that are still ingrained in my memory.  I would sing those songs to the church people from on top of a wooden box that made me tall enough to peep over the wooden pulpit.

My favorite song was “I Guess God Thought of Everything,” and my favorite verse said:

My eyes can see the diamonds when moonlight’s on the snow,

My ears can hear the birds sing; the friendly rooster crow

My nose can smell the spices of cookies in a row

I guess God thought of everything.

The imagery is simple, but was so powerful to my young mind and heart, and reminded me often that God created each detail of me intentionally so I could find pleasure in His creation and fulfill a special role in this world. This song, in addition to songs like, “I’m Something Special,” It’s A Miracle,” and “I Am A Promise” had a surprisingly strong influence in how I perceived myself and my Creator.

Even through the awkward junior high years, when I was overwhelmed with everything I didn’t like about myself, there was an underlying foundation of belief way down deep that God hadn’t thrown me together willy-nilly only to let me flounder without a purpose or any redeeming qualities. I was created by design.  I especially needed to know that then. Those songs were so foundational in my development! My folks reinforced those messages every single day. But who really believes their parents at that age?! And I can’t imagine my life without having had those important messages ingrained in my heart.

Now fast-forward 25 years after I started singing those songs (okay 35+ years, but who’s counting?!). I still believe every word of those songs. Also? I happen work for the creators of those songs (because God did, in fact, think of EVERYTHING) and they have continued to influence me in countless ways. So hopefully I can use what I am learning from them to make a difference in other lives.

Every now and then I worry for kids who have only Disney Channel role models (most of whom are more “model” than “role model”). The songs so many of tomorrow’s leaders are memorizing never once speak to their incredible value and potential… and never attempt to explain that they were knit together perfectly for eternal purposes!

I’m not a Disney hater – my kids can sing along to some of those songs with the best of them. But I just wanted to put out a reminder to everyone out there, in case you haven’t had the privilege of hearing it lately… God created every single fiber of you with intention and skill. He did a really wonderful job. And whether or not you realize it, your life holds incredible potential (regardless of your current age). You lack nothing you need to fulfill His very best plan for you. He has thought of everything!

I’ll Sleep When I’m Deader

riley-12-5-08-powerpoint-heroLast night I was worried before I even went to sleep about not hearing the alarm this morning. Scott was out of town and he is our resident “morning person”– the parent who is coherent first. This is one of the five hundred and fifty reasons why he is the perfect husband for me. So my worries about hearing the alarm were well-founded in past experiences… and by the fact that I knew I was tired enough not to hear it.


After about two hours of fairly decent sleep, I felt my daughter get into the bed. I think she may have mumbled something about her room being hot. I may have groaned something. Can’t remember. But before I could slip back into REM sleep, I began to feel a sensation that I imagine a fire-breathing dragon would feel like… heat emitting from my nose like a blow torch. While stumbling around the upstairs, mumbling something about how they don’t insulate houses like they used to and how it’s no wonder the heat’s running and running because they might as well have not installed windows downstairs… I managed to get myself wide awake.  I adjusted the heat and, then I realized that I was incredibly thirsty, and hungry, and uncomfortable. I discovered each of these needs one at a time, after lying down. One time, after a trip to the fridge for some much-needed pumpkin spice soy milk, I tripped over the dog and hit her nose with my foot.  She started making that sniffing sound she does when her nose has taken a hit. So I fell to my knees in the dark to console her. She immediately fell back to sleep.  I didn’t.


I tossed and turned. Wandered around the house. Checked on the kids. Adjusted the heat again. Made shopping lists and to-do lists in my head. Started creating blog titles in my head for the next couple weeks. Dreamed of vacationing in Hawaii. You get the idea.  It just wasn’t the restful night I had been hoping for.


I eventually went back to sleep, but unfortunately that happened about a half-hour before I was supposed to get up. Just as I had worried, I missed the alarm because I was up all night worried about missing the alarm!  (I later learned I hadn’t set it right, but that wasn’t the point.) My head was pounding and one of my contacts was missing and Riley wanted me to help her fix her hair because she had a special PowerPoint presentation at school for the parents (which meant I needed to get myself together and attend the presentation). The kids were both late for school and I felt kind of like I got ready with an eggbeater.


Surprisingly, I got my act together and made it on time for the PowerPoint program. And it’s a good thing I did. You will never believe what my daughter’s presentation was about. It was about her hero… Emily Sutherland. The woman who can’t even be trusted with an alarm clock was this precious child’s hero.


No one knows my frailties quite like my children. And Riley is perceptive beyond her years. But she is equally gracious. And she has once again blown me away with her special gift for reaching down to a place I didn’t know I had and helping me wrestle down my giants with her trust. She made me forget my horrendous night’s sleep and all the lame stuff I worried about all night as she describe the “character traits” of her hero – “makes good choices, loving, a good cook, etc.”  She told everyone I work “20 hours” which made me smile. I work quite a few more than that and I’m so glad she only knows about 20 of them.


I’ve heard people joke around saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  That typically sounds pretty morbid and tiring to me.  There’s no doubt,  I felt pretty dead when I woke up, but Riley’s little Power boost made me feel so alive… so determined not to act like I feel.  So I’ve decided that I’ll sleep when I’m even deader.  Right now, I’m working my “20 hours” with a sense of joy and renewal.


Maybe I didn’t set the alarm right on my new cell phone, but at least I figured out how to capture a photo with it… the photo you see here is a snapshot of Riley telling her class and their parents about her hero.



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