So that was a thing, eh? Lots of us with big feelings about how to respond to the media, sports, entertainment and our kids. Thank you for taking me and my hot head and processing together. I’m still processing. Probably will be for a while.

Yesterday afternoon when Zoe woke up from her nap she was super crabby and disoriented so I sat with her on my lap for a long time  just thinking about you all. Thinking about the hard work of raising children. The conversations in the comments. The many opinions about how we can do best by these tiny humans that we love so crazy. These matter to me because I ache from a choice I wish I could go back and undo; help the boys unsee.

The radio was playing and Zoe was still pretty out of it so I just sat with my arms full of nearly two-year-old and stroked her back and had no room in my hands for a computer or a phone but plenty of space just to think. Her soft, sweaty head was tucked under my chin and one of her hands was stroking my arm and we sat like that for a long time as the words of the song in the background washed over me:

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed.

And I received it. That no matter how much we might beat ourselves up about what we should have done better by our kids, the grace of redemption cannot be used up. Christ’s mercies are new every morning. Thank God. And then I felt a warmth spread out from my heart and down my chest and across my body and while I believe there was grace pouring into my life, there was also pee seeping out of my daughter’s diaper and soaking through every single thing I was wearing. The need for a good sense of humor and perspective were not lost on me.

So, all that said, here are five practical things I’m choosing to do as we move forward as a family. Take ’em or leave ’em, these are what are working for us at the moment:

1. I canceled my GoDaddy account and transferred over to NameDotCom

They made it super easy. No glitches in the move. And their Twitter commentary alone had me chuckling as they helped me work through the transfer. Also? Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a fast transfer from GoDaddy. I’m not an affiliate so I get nothing if you use them and nothing if you don’t. There are plenty of domain name companies in the sea.

2. I’m Praying Warrior Prayers for my Kids

There’s no magic eraser for our kids’ minds. There’s no promise that they will make it unscathed through this world. Instead, there’s a good chance they will acquire plenty scars of their own. But dang if I’m not gonna suit up and fight tooth and nail for them. And on Monday when I was feeling overwhelmed with helplessness I remembered my friend Brooke’s eBook – Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most. And I walked all over our house praying out loud for my boys like some crazy, shameless loon. And in the evenings we’ve now taken to praying those prayers for them before bedtime and they dig it, yes they do.

3. We’re Still Reading The Action Bible

We’re all entranced by this illustrated version of Scripture. My boys can’t get enough of the stories. And this week we went back to Daniel to remind ourselves of what it looks like to live a life “set apart” from culture without being afraid, without losing faith. Even when I’m tired and want to call it quits and just banish them all to bed, taking the extra ten minutes to spend time in these stories? More than worth it – for all of us. {And yup, this one is an affiliate link}

4. We’re Starting an Acts of Courage Journal for each of Our Sons

Because we want them to grow up gloriously courageous for this faith we hold dear and equally passionate about this world we’re called to love. I wanted some way to inspire them. To help them stop and notice the moments of courage in our every day lives. You may call it an integrity journal, or a brave journal, or whatever works for you. This is the place where we write down the time they stood up for a friend at recess, the time they loved on their buddy instead of making fun of him when he got kicked out of the first round of soccer. This is where we write their stories of being brave enough to be different.

5. Watching a Commercial that Inspires

OK this probably doesn’t qualify as a commercial, but this story of the 2012 Sports Kid of the year? These two brothers so close in age to my own sons? This is what I want them to aspire to, what I want them to think of when they think of sports. This is greatness, this is beauty, this is compassion and courage all rolled into one. This can help wash out what I wish they hadn’t seen Sunday night.

It’s not perfect. But it’s our plan for now. It’s our getting up and ready for school and out the door and then back in the afternoons and doing homework and wrestling on the bed and resisting bath time and begging for one more glass of water, one more hug, one more story, story. This is life right now. Never quite worked out. Always in process.

And you can’t begin to imagine how much I am praying for each of you – each working out this crazy thing called parenting the best way you know how. You’re a wonder. And this morning, I raise my cup of tea across this computer and salute you, amazing, brave, ordinarily extraordinary you.

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