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Year: 2012

Brittany’s turn …. Start Spreading the News

Brittany’s turn …. Start Spreading the News

We love Brittany.

We love New York.
And we loved taking Brittany to New York. 
A few years ago we took Caroline and this year it was Brittany’s turn.  It is so fun to spend one on one time with them.   Especially in such a fun place.

We took in the Rockettes show.  Never gets old.

Enjoyed all the holiday decorations in the city …

Best question of the trip was when we got to Times Square … Brittany asked … “is there something going on here tonight … I mean, there are all these people”.  Welcome to New York Babs.  🙂

She went to her first Broadway Show called … “Bring it On”.  It had lots of gymnastic stunts and she loved it.

 We took a boat ride around New York harbor.  Rainy and cold but Lady Liberty is still majestic.

We went to the World Trade Center Memorial and had dinner at a favorite in China Town.  So yummy!

I think ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza is incredible.  Brittany thought so too.

On our last day we went to Central Park.  After taking some pictures we decided a carriage ride was the best way to view it.

Frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity is a perfect ending to a great trip!

Special times with a special girl.

Bill should probably write this post.

Bill should probably write this post.

Problem is, Bill doesn’t write blogs.  

He also doesn’t hunt.  Or actually, had never hunted … until earlier this month.  
You see, Jacob has begged to go hunting.  BEGGED.  But Bill has had no desire to hunt.  NONE.  
A golf range?  
A firing range?  
Not so much.  
But Jacob and Bill were invited to go on a father/son hunt at a ranch in South Texas.  There would be guides and dads with guns who knew what they were doing so they signed up to go.  At 11:00 the night before they left Bill was at Walmart buying camo.  We didn’t own any of that.
This was Rambo trying out his new look:

Yes, he is holding a Nerf gun.  It’s all we have.
They pulled out EARLY the next morning.  New camo all packed up.  🙂  They made it in time for lunch.
When they got to the ranch they sat in a deer blind.  
For hours.
And they kept seeing “exotic” deer … which are very expensive if you shoot them.  Bill told Jacob “No exotic deer”.  
Jacob sent me this text … “Dad said the deer is too icspesve and I have to shoot the pwuny ones”.
I laughed and laughed.   
They had to be super quiet in the blind only Bill told me that Jacob kept wanting to wrestle.  Don’t tell the “experienced hunters” but they did wrestle some.  
And then they saw a deer.
And I know there are a lot of “fishing stories” that get exaggerated over time and maybe the same is true for hunting stories … but they assure me that this one is true.
Jacob took one shot.  One shot the entire weekend … and with the one shot he got this deer … right through the heart.

I guess if you take one shot it needs to be a good one.  
It was a Fudge Fail.

It was a Fudge Fail.

Jacob has never been as excited about going to school as he was today.  He wore a Christmas hat, could barely go to sleep last night and has talked for two days about how today was going to be the “best day of school EVER”.  It’s all because a teacher who pulls he and some friends out each week to work with Jacob on reading is throwing a Christmas party during today’s session.  They are going to have hot chocolate … that’s all I know.  That and that he is beside himself excited.

So, I sent a small gift to the teacher with him and thought I’d add some fudge to go along with it.  Brittany had been telling me for days that she was “craving fudge” so when I saw the evaporated milk and marshmallow cream at the store yesterday I grabbed it up.  There was a recipe right on the back for FOOLPROOF fudge.

Except, as it turned out,  it was “not so foolproof” fudge.  Or maybe … “foolproof for everyone but Darla” fudge.

It looked like this:

Basically it was chocolate soup.  The kids did stick their fingers in it (AT BREAKFAST) and said it was good … nothing like sugaring them up right before school, huh?  Brittany suggested we freeze it and make frozen hot chocolate but truly it sat in the fridge all night and was still soupy so I’m not confident that the freezer attempt would work.  I might put it back in the pan and try to cook it longer.  I mean really, how much worse can it get?!?  

I should probably know better than to ask that question!  

I even heard Jacob mumble this morning … “Dad ought to just hire a chef”.  Rude, I know.  Or maybe true … I’d be totally ok with it!

Any who … none of this should be any surprise.  I have not shown you the “Thanksgiving debacle of 2012”.  It looked exactly like the “Thanksgiving debacle of 2011” and the “Christmas debacle of another year gone by”.  

It is this RIDICULOUS pretzel salad.  For starters, salad is such a misnomer.  There is not lettuce, no really anything resembling salad fixings except some frozen strawberries.  It has cream cheese, sugar and pretzels … none of which I’ve ever had in a salad!  But I digress …

Everyone raves over this salad.  Says it’s “SO good” or “one of our faves”.  Since mine had been total failures two previous times I (mistakenly) thought … “third times a charm, right?”  


This is what it was supposed to look like:

And this, my friends, is what mine looked like:

Or, to put it another way:

No one even took a sympathy bite.  And to be honest, I didn’t try it either.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put it in my mouth.  

So, I will not be making this ever again.  I don’t want tips or suggestions on how to make it better.  There are just some things better left to the professionals.


Which is why I am thinking I could totally have a new career … become a “professional” if you will … in being a “foolproof test kitchen”.  People could send me their “foolproof” recipes and I could try them out.  Take pictures.  

I’m thinking a lot more recipes would lose the word “foolproof” in the title if I offered this service.

Let me know if you need my help.  🙂
Consider yourself warned!

Consider yourself warned!

Someone told me they spit out their own drink from laughing about my mom’s “incident” from yesterdays blog.  Of course she doesn’t mind you laughing at her expense.  Today, the joke is on me.

It’s not that it’s funny, as much as it is JUST AWFUL.  Downright embarrassing.  Horrible.
Here you go …. learn from my mistake!


Y’all, I’m serious.  It was like the Lord himself was bellowing directions straight from heaven.  It was LOUD.

Please, please …. learn from my mistake lest you make the post Bible Study walk of shame like me.
As Promised …

As Promised …


Y’all!  What is wrong with me?!?  Why has it been over two months since I posted a blog?  Ridiculous.  I “pinky promised” on facebook yesterday that the blog would come back today.  After that a friend called to see why I hadn’t posted in so long and then last night I met a blog reader at a speaking event who said she had been reading for years.  Her name was Christy Gould and she was introduced as “my stalker”.  Here she is … she doesn’t look that scary.  🙂  So fun to meet her in “real life”.

I was speaking at an event at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church and it was hosted by SUCH nice ladies. This was the “event planner” Mimi Stokes and her daughter.  Aren’t they so cute?!

One of my favorite people to meet was my new friend, Gloria.  She is beautiful and I found her in the crowd almost immediately because she was wearing one of my favorite colors.  Afterwards she came up and told me her story.  You see, she was there as an aid for an elderly woman.  She drives her and cares for her … and had brought her client to this event.  As I was speaking I told Lysa Turkherst’s story of how she adopted two boys from a Liberian orphanage.  It’s an amazing story of what God did with one little boy who felt he had nothing to be thankful for so he sang a praise song.  He ended up in a choir that brought him to America where he and 30 plus other boys were adopted.

Gloria found me afterwards and said she was so touched just to hear her country’s name mentioned in America.  She was there during some of the war and saw the atrocities that those boys experienced.  She said she was so encouraged by hearing that something good was coming from something so bad.  And yes … God is good like that.  I enjoyed meeting Gloria and hearing her story so much.

I have to show y’all something funny.  Hysterical really.  The other day I went to Dallas to speak at an event up there.  My friend Laura was going with me and we were going to rent a car.  I told the rental company a small car was fine.  They pulled up in this:

It was THE smallest car I had ever seen or ridden in.  TINY.  Someone asked me if it came with a remote control and batteries.  And guess what?!  IT TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE!  I felt like we should be pedaling this car with our feet … not driving it 240 miles away … so I returned it.  You heard it hear first … if they ask you if a small car is ok … say “no”!.

That’s really all I have for now.  Someone asked me yesterday if I could upload some of my stories to youtube.  I did a little story today.  Savannah had to help me upload it but there’s a reason we call that girl the “genius bar”.  Enjoy!



Football is big in Texas.  Really big.

And right now it feels like football weather.  I love it.

Jacob is playing football again this fall.  As hard as this is for me to admit, his team name is the Aggies. Week after week I sit on the sidelines and yell “Go Aggies!”.  

Add that to the list of things I never thought I’d be yelling at a football game. 

But, I mean … how can I not? 

At the beginning of the season we had a parent meeting where we were told we would not be getting an “official” mom t-shirt but that we could all go out and buy our own Aggie tshirts.  

Only I didn’t buy one because I don’t really want an Aggie t-shirt.  

Jacob hasn’t seemed to notice.

I did tell a friend that I’d buy a burgandy shirt and she (being a Longhorn fan) thought that was hilarious.  Apparently Aggies don’t take it kindly if you call their “maroon” color “burgandy”.

My mistake.

I did sign up for a job at the parent meeting though.

The sign up sheet listed “hydration parent” and the description said … “bring six water bottles to each game”.  Quite frankly, that sounded much easier than bringing the tackle dummies to every practice so I quickly put my name down on that slot.

I thought,  “how hard can this job be?  I’m all over it”.  I just  need to buy a couple of cases of water bottles and pull out six to take to the game each week?  

Piece of cake. 

When Bill saw the email announcing all the jobs he looked up and said … “you do realize that doesn’t mean to bring six Ozarka water bottles, don’t you?”.

And I told him “why yes … yes I did think it meant just that”.

(I love that he knows me well enough to know that I would have thought this way … and saved me from heaps of embarrassment when I would have shown up with my six Ozarka water bottles.)

He shook his head, laughed just a little and explained to me that we needed to get something like this:

When I saw this “container, basket thingy” I thought …. “oh no … that’s going to be harder than bringing Ozarka”.  And then I asked …  “are these water bottles for the kids whose moms forgot to send water bottles? (not that I would know anything at all about that – ahem).

Bill said … “No, these are to run out onto the field.  When the boys are out there … hot, tired (beat up) … and there is a break in the play then the coaches run these out and spray the water in the boys mouths”.

They keep them hydrated.

So week after week I fill up these bottles.  It does take more effort than buying the Ozarka ones, but it’s not hard.  I have to think about it before the last second and make it a part of our game day prep.

So when those boys are hot and thirsty … well, it’s right there for them.

Now … at the same time as I’ve been fulfilling my “hydration parent” responsibilities, our church has been doing a study on the importance of daily being in the God’s word.  It’s been a very “back to the basics” …. but yet very important … study.  We have studied Psalm 119 … and truly, the entire chapter is a devotional to the word of God.  

Studying this has made me think that perhaps God is the original “hydration parent”.

He left his word for us (and the Holy Spirit) to quench us.  We all get parched for God and His word.  We all need to “hide it’s words in our hearts”, we need to make it a priority … we need to set aside time not only to read it …. but to meditate on it.

Psalm 119:15 says “I meditate on your precepts and I consider your ways”.  I read that Biblical meditation refers to the filling of one’s mind and heart with the truths of the Bible.  The word “meditation” in Hebrew literally means to speak or to mutter, so in essence, meditation on the Scriptures means speaking the word of God to yourself.  Thinking about it, mulling it over, contemplating it.   When we saturate our hearts and minds with the Scriptures we can carefully consider how it applies to  the situations of our daily lives.

In other words … we hydrate ourselves with God’s word.  

It takes some effort, some planning … but it’s not hard.

We keep from getting parched.  And in those situations where we feel we are being hit from every side, roughed up … when we are on the line … God is right there ready to fill us up … with Him.  Through His word and through His spirit we can face those things that are coming right at us.  

John 4:14 says … “But whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water that I give him will  become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”.  

Or more simply … “we can drink until we thirst no more”. 

If you want a good place to start … read Psalm 119.  You can find it right here.

So, stay hydrated … and yes … “Go Aggies”! 

Couple of things ….otherwise known as a post about nothing

Couple of things ….otherwise known as a post about nothing

1.  Just for the record, I took out the old memory from my computer and added  in new memory, doubling its size.  
Of course, I bought the memory over the internet …. forgot where I put my memory …. and by the time I remembered where it was, I could no longer remember how to install it.  But I found a video on you tube and in five minutes flat my computer was lightening fast again. 

The guy at the “genius bar” at the Apple store told me I could do it myself.  He said they could do it for me but they charge a lot and he was sure I could do it.  SUCH confidence he had in me.  Of course when I told Bill what I was doing he immediately got all panicky and said things like … “are you sure you can?” and “is that ok?”.

But I was successful beyond my wildest expectations.  And truly … it’s not one bit hard at all.  But I like to think it took a “genius”.  HA.

2.  Speaking of “genius bar” … we have nicknamed Savannah “genius bar” in our home.  Anytime someone has a technical question we say … “Go ask genius bar”.  This past summer Brittany’s iphone was broken and we needed to unlock her phone to get her contacts off for her new phone.  Because the screen was broken the ATT store said it couldn’t be done.  Undeterred we went to the Apple store’s genius bar … thinking they could help us out.  They took a look at it and said “unfortunately, it just can’t be done”.  So we went home, somewhat dejected, and Brittany sat on the couch lamenting that she had lost all the contact info on all her new friends from camp.

About an hour later Savannah runs down the stairs yelling …. “I did it!  I knew I could!!!”  Sure enough … she had done what Apple said she could not.  She had unlocked a phone with a broken screen (which had no picture) … all by herself.  We quickly ran back to ATT and within minutes Brittany had all her contacts loaded onto her new phone.  A few days later we were back at the Apple store and saw our friends at the genius bar.  I told them what Savannah had done and they could not believe it.  They wanted to know how old she was and how long until she could come to work at their store.  
And this is great news because that girl is going to need a job one day.  🙂

3.  Speaking of Savannah … she had a birthday last week.  I ordered her a cookie cake only, instead of writing Savannah on it, they wrote Sayannah … or maybe it’s Sazannah.  She and I both thought it was hysterical.  I call her Sayannah now sometimes. 
4.  So far I think this school year has been a WHIRLwind.  One child wants to go on college visits while another child is working on his elementary reading list.  One plays high school volleyball, one plays middle school volleyball, one plays soccer and one plays football.  Then add in swimming, tae kwon do, a tumbling class and church activities.  I’m so thankful Caroline can drive now …. only it still feels like there are more places to be … all at one time … than is really possible.
Last night was Savannah’s first soccer game and I just loved it.  Pleasant fall evening, visiting with one of my favorite moms, outside … watching other people run.  (ha!) 
 Then we came home and finished like 14 hours of homework. 

5.  I have moved the information from my speaking website,, to this website.  Hopefully I’ll be adding in my upcoming speaking dates onto this site over the weekend – it depends on how many games are on our schedule.  🙂  If not, next week for sure.   It just made more sense to have all the information on one site vs. two.  I felt so fortunate this fall to “get to” expand my speaking beyond churches.  I so enjoyed the groups in the community where I spoke and hope to do more of that in the future.  So, if your group needs a speaker …. let me know.

6.  I bought a really great album on itunes the other day.  It’s from North Point.  Andy Stanley tweeted that the album was “better than candy corn Oreos” …. which I thought was a VERY BOLD statement and so I needed to find out for myself.  I must admit … it is awesome.  You can buy it here if you want.   

7.  Have a great weekend! 

Things my mother taught me …. not a comprehensive list. :)

Things my mother taught me …. not a comprehensive list. :)

Today is my mom’s birthday.  

Although it would be impossible to make a list of everything she has taught me through the years, I did jot a few down.  Here goes:
My mom taught me to love God and to try to and act like Jesus.

My mom taught me to love others – especially the “least of these”.

My mom taught me to love people …. even when they don’t love you back. 

My mom taught me to always look for people who look like they need a friend and make them feel welcome.

My mom taught me to love God’s word.  She reads it …. a lot.

My mom taught me to do unto others as I would have them do unto me.  If we were in a department store and an article of clothing had fallen on the floor … she would pick it up and hang it back on the rack and say we were helping the employees there …. doing unto others.  She recycles … and always makes sure her cans don’t have any rough edges because she didn’t want the workers to cut their hands – doing unto others.  Not too long ago she cut her finger and required an emergency room visit after she stuck her finger on the edge of the sweetened condensed milk can.  Oh, the irony.

She taught me to laugh.

She taught me to laugh at myself.  Once we were in a store and she ran into the mirror …. seeing her reflection she said … “oh, excuse me” … and then we laughed so hard people looked at us.  As she looked at her reflection, she realized that she had on two different earrings.  That sent us into more fits of laughter.  We laughed A LOT.

She taught me to laugh with others (but never at them).

She taught me that laughing beats crying but that sometimes you just need a good cry. 

She taught me how to have fun.

She taught me that you don’t have to do everything yourself … she said “buy potato salad at the store, put it in your own dish and sprinkle a little paprika on the top …. nobody will know”.  

 Not too long ago she took cookies to a cookie swap.  She bought them, put them on a pretty plate …. and they were the hit of the party.  Everyone wanted the recipe and she gladly gave it to them.  It started and ended with  “drive your car to Fresh Market”.  

In third grade we had to have a “flapper” costume when we were studying the roaring 20’s.  I asked her repeatedly why all the other moms MADE their costume and she paid someone to make mine.  Looking back that is hilarious that I, of all people, would ask that question!!

My mom taught me to care about missions and missionaries.

My mom taught me that people don’t really need to know the nice things you do for others … just do them.   She has been quietly generous to people who will never, ever know what she (and my dad) have done. 

She taught me right from wrong and not to get them confused.

She taught me to stand up for what is right.  I will never, ever forget her running for the school board when I was in the 4th grade.  A group wanted her to join their membership to receive their endorsement.  She told them that she would still have to vote how she felt led to vote and not how they told her to vote.  When she told me that story I clearly remember thinking … YOU GO GIRL.  Except maybe not those exact words.  But I do remember being genuinely proud of her that no one was telling my mom what to do.  Nobody puts Donna in a corner.  🙂

She taught me that no matter what happens, tomorrow is another day.

She taught me to “trust in the Lord with all my heart”. 

She taught me to pray for my children … because she prayed for hers.

She taught me how to love my husband … because of how well she has loved hers.

She taught me to love my children’s friends because she loved (and still loves) mine.  
She taught me that people will let you down.  Sometimes even those closest to you … but you have to keep on going.  Once someone very close to her was honored at an event in which she was not personally  invited.  Instead of letting it get her down …. she bought a ticket to the event and when the time came, she offered a very heartfelt congratulations.  She was so proud and wanted to acknowledge the achievement that person had received.  In my opinion, that was doing the hard … but classy thing.  And she did it beautifully.

My mom taught me to admit when I make mistakes.   She will tell you over and over again …. “I’m not perfect” …. and she’s not, none of us are … but she sure does keep trying.

She taught me that “pretty is as pretty does” and she wasn’t talking about looks.

Speaking of looks … to this day when I am driving up to her house, I’ll put on some lip gloss.  If I don’t she will likely say … “honey, your lips need a little color”. 

My mom taught me to evaluate things and make my own decisions.  Once a lot of parents were making (what I considered) a pretty big decision for their children.  I was dreading she and my dad telling me the same thing.  Instead … when we got home she and my dad sat me down and said … “what do you think about this?”.  We discussed it and they agreed to let me make my own decision.  I was a junior in high school and at THAT moment I thought … “I have the coolest parents ever”.  They didn’t get caught up in the “well, everyone else is doing it for their kids” thing and trusted me in that situation.  I think about it all the time and hope Bill and I give our children the same respect.

When it came to looks she would say “act as pretty as you look”.  If I didn’t, I was in trouble.

She taught me how to be a mom.  And that it’s ok to not always get it right.

And I’m pretty sure she taught me to love candy corn.

 Happy, HAPPY Birthday Mom!!!  I love you!!


And just to prove this girl knows how to party … here’s a view of her party from a few years ago. 
 [vimeo w=500&h=275] Celebrating 70!!! from Darla Baerg on Vimeo.

There are some things which just must be shared …

There are some things which just must be shared …

Candy Corn Oreo Truffles are one of them.
(picture from My Baking Addiction – you KNOW I didn’t take it – HA!!!)

Last week people were sending me pictures of the new Candy Corn Oreos from my good friends at Nabisco.  (Clearly they are candy corn lovers too!)  I mean really … how fun are these?

People began asking me …”are they good?” and “do you like them?”.  My short answer is … “it’s an Oreo, what’s not to like?” My longer answer is that they are so cute that it shouldn’t matter what they taste like.  Put them in a clear cookie jar and enjoy their cuteness.  SO many calories saved that way.   I do think however, that the blogger at “My Baking Addiction” probably answers that question better than me.    She also gives the recipe for the ADORABLE candy corn truffles … so please, click here and head on over ….  Candy Corn Truffles.

And while we are talking about candy corn … it has come to my attention that not everyone is a candy corn lover.  At first this was a bit disheartening to find out.  I almost wondered how I was friends with these people (kidding!) …. but I came to realize that not everyone has to be a candy corn lover.  To be honest, I haven’t put a single candy corn in my mouth this year.  It’s not the taste that I love (although they are delectable) … as much as their cuteness.  To me they just scream .. HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!  And trust me … I’ll have a candy corn or 50 but it is only September and I must pace myself.

So then … what to do about the (gasp) non candy corn lovers?  In the interest of being an equal opportunity candy corn blogger I want to present to you the …. get ready … GET READY … DRUM ROLL PLEASE ….

White Chocolate Candy Corn M and M’s.

I had never even heard of this handful of delectable-ness until a friend posted about it on my facebook wall last week.  Minutes after she let me know about them I found my car driving itself to Target.  I mean seriously, can you blame that Chevy Suburban?!?  Anyway … they were 3 bags for $8 so naturally, I bought three bags.

If you are wondering … they only taste of white chocolate (happy now candy corn haters?!?) … but they have the cute fall colors of candy corn.

Once I opened the bag and tasted these morsels of goodness, I KNEW I was in TROUBLE.  
Because I could have eaten all three of those bags if no one was watching me (or maybe even if they were). So, I did what naturally came to mind …. and put them in my glass candle holders.  They made for such a cute look.

But there was one problem.  
I had seen an idea on pinterest where you put a paper towel roll in the middle of the jar so you don’t need as much candy to fill the jar.  (Some people are so smart … because you KNOW that means more candy for you to eat!) 

The next day a friend who had seen on facebook that I had bought some of these m and m’s called and said (ever so coyly)  … “Hey … want to meet me for lunch?”.  I said “SURE” because I love meeting people for lunch.  
Then she asked in a very quiet, low voice … almost as if she were asking me to bring her drugs or something … “can you bring me some of those m and m’s that you bought yesterday too?”  She said she was on a diet and only wanted about 5 and was afraid she would eat a whole bag.  So I brought her what was left from the package … since I had used the “trick” in my candle holders.  You know why … BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS DO FOR EACH OTHER.  I would never want to sabotage her diet … but what are 5 or 10 little white chocolate m and m’s going to do? 

So she ate her diet friendly lunch and then discreetly pulled that baggie of candy corn goodness out of my purse and she ate up every last one of them.  

What I’m saying is that she loved them.

Later I realized I would have to start eating them out of the jar if I wanted any more.


Because I am here to tell you that no, no it did not.

If you look closely at the picture you will see the top of the paper towel roll sticking up in the jar on the right.

And when Caroline caught me with my hand in the “candy jar which is actually a candle holder” she had one comment only …

“That’s sad Mom”.  

Which means that when I go out today to buy another bag to “cover up” my “candy jar which is actually a candle holder” sins … I should probably go ahead and buy an extra bag or three just to have on hand.

You know … in case anyone else wants to go to lunch.
How to be in the “good” class

How to be in the “good” class

School starts in the morning.

Clothes are laid out.  Backpacks are packed.

Lunches are not made.  (I’ll get to it … just motivating myself to begin that labor of love again).

Jacob will be in third grade, Savannah and Brittany will be in middle school (6 and 8th) and Caroline (gasp) will be in 11th.

I remember my mom telling me when I was in 11th grade that she was worried she hadn’t taught me everything she wanted to teach me before I went to college.  There was so much more she wanted me to learn.  And I totally get that right now.

It’s been an interesting week.  We got home from Minnesota on Wednesday and literally have not stopped since then.  Meet the Teachers, Back to School parties, a volleyball tournament, etc. etc.  The big question, everywhere we go, seems to be this …. “who is your teacher” or for the middle school girls … “what homeroom do you have”.  Of course, everyone is excited and wants to know they will have a friend in their class.

But, Caroline, Brittany, Savannah and Jacob … if there is one thing I could tell you right now … tonight …. it’s this … it matters less who is in your class than who you are in your class.

Trust me …. I know what it’s like to want to have friends in your class.  I’m pretty sure there are some of my teachers back in the day who wished I had a few less friends in my classes.  

I know what it is like to see the list and wish this friend or that was in my class.  I also remember the hurt I felt the year I was standing at your elementary school looking at the posted class list.  I remember seeing one of your names on the list and then having a mom, whose child was in your class, say to her child … “UGH … we never get any GOOD people in our class”.  And it hurt.  It hurt me for you … and it hurt me.

But you know what … that was the year that someone from that class that you had befriended came to Vacation Bible School with you.  It thrilled my heart.

One year one of you had a bad year educationally.  You still say … “that was the worst year ever” … but you know what?  That’s the year you, anonymously, brought a backpack and a new pair of shoes to a girl in your class because it bothered you that she didn’t have a backpack and that her shoes seemed too small.

You probably could have had a better teacher … but I know you were supposed to be in that class.  You learned compassion.  You learned about giving.  And I think, somewhere, there is a girl who knew that someone loved her that year.  I wouldn’t trade a thing about it.

So here is what I want you to know ….

I want you to know that it does matter who is in your class because you can look for ways to love anyone in there.  You can look for ways to help your teachers and most importantly … you can be the reflection of the Christ that lives in each one of you … to everyone in your school.

Nothing would make me more proud.

There is a really special letter I read this week.  Although I could not have written it as well … when I read it, it resonated so loudly with me because of what it said.  The author told a story about a boy named Adam.  I could have written the same story only the boy in my class was named Victor.  I have no idea what happened to Victor but I do know that when the kids in my class laughed at him because he “smelled funny” … I didn’t stop them.  It hurt me to see him hurt, it hurt me that he didn’t have any friends … but to my knowledge I didn’t do anything to make him feel loved.

And I regret that more than you can know.

So, sweet babies … please read this letter.  It’s right here …

The Talk 

And then go out there and have the best year of school yet!  Here’s a little secret … you already are in the “good” class.  You are right where you are supposed to be … so go be the good in that class.

I love you so much.