you never outgrow what you love

It’s no secret that I don’t always make my kids get dressed and start their school work first thing in the morning. In fact, I prefer to allow them the space and time to sleep in is late as their growing bodies need and then let them ease into their morning by playing something that doesn’t involve screens, cords, or electronics. Just this week, I have hurdled over eight mounds of laundry from all of the time they have been outdoors!

Many days, it will be close to lunch time before we start on the official “academic” part of our day. I am a firm believer that letting kids play and stretch their imaginations is not only a fun part of being a kid, it is a vital component of their cognitive development.

Anyway. The way it goes most mornings is that after they have all had breakfast, Thomas goes ahead and starts his work so he can earn a game of NCAA Football on the X-Box and Mae and Kate brainstorm what they want to play.

Lately, they have been on a big kick of playing some kind of club on our play-set, running some kind of pet shop with their Pillow Pets and stuffed animals, building with Legos, setting up their L’il Woodzeez, and playing school with their American Girl dolls.

This morning, they decided to get down the “My Loving Family” dollhouse. We got this several Christmases ago and have added nearly all of the family members and furniture over the years. They will go for months and not touch the thing, but when they decide they want to play with it, they go all in for sometimes hours and hours and hours. (I guess that’s what it must be like to wake up each day with your best friend!) This has also kept me from passing the doll house along or getting rid of it.

As they were bringing the dollhouse and basket of accessories down from the play room this morning, Kate, my seven year old, passed by me and said, “Mom, you know? You never really outgrow what you love.”

She was merely talking about how much she loved playing with the dollhouse. But I got a lump in my throat because, gosh! She is absolutely right. There is such a deeper meaning to that simple statement. And I began to think about the truth and implications of that even as an adult.

Also. My seven year old is a tiny philosopher.

Anyway, as they were setting up the bedrooms and kitchen and nursery of the doll house, I opened up the computer and located an old blog post that I affectionately titled, “The Massacre at Hamill Road.”

They remembered the event clearly but we all had a good laugh at some unfortunate events that happened to the “My Loving Family” dolls. It was early February 2011 when tragedy hit.

Barbie and Ken, the prom king, get inked in the face.

Barbie and Ken, the prom king, get inked in the face.

Little Sister gets a buzz cut.

Little Sister gets a buzz cut.

Granny, Mom, and both little sisters were victims of some severe scissoring.

Granny, Mom, and both little sisters were victims of some severe scissoring.

My Little Pony took a shot to the mane.

My Little Pony took a shot to the mane.

And some sweet three year old gave herself some feathered bangs.

And some sweet three year old gave herself some feathered bangs.

The lesson here is NEVER, EVER leave scissors within reach of toddlers. And the truth that you can’t turn your back for even one minute with little kids, is timeless, accurate and sound advice.

After a few good laughs and a short trip down memory lane, the girls got busy and engaged with their dolls and setting the scene as Granny, Dad, Mom and all of the kids made preparations for a big Christmas. I was glad I’d documented the memory of the doll haircuts even if in the moment I was furious for them “ruining” their toys and for Kate “messing up” her hair. I think even then I knew having the wherewithal to take some pictures and record the memory would be something I’d later look back upon and cherish.

IMG_0970 They were having a ball back on that cold February day in 2011 and they are still having fun with the marred, misfit dolls in December of 2014. So again, I reached for my camera.


Even while I was snapping a few photos, I just couldn’t seem to let go of the echoes of what my daughter said, “you never really outgrow what you love.”


As I have begun spending time thinking about and reflecting upon 2014 as it ends and some things I hope to accomplish and work toward in 2015 I started asking myself, “are the things I am investing in this coming year, the things I love?”


I have had seasons and years where I don’t even give personal goals or outcomes much thought. I have had times when I was literally in survival mode. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wading through those times. It’s just part of life. But for me, I hope to address 2015 with purpose and intentionality. I won’t get too personal about exactly what that entails for me but I do know that after soul-searching, journaling and praying about it, I want to invest those days in something worthy of my passions.


I am almost positive this morning that what Kate said to me was just her being sweet and making conversation with her mother. I can nearly guarantee she didn’t give a second thought to what she said. Oh, but I sure did. I truly believe that it was just a tiny “God-wink” or confirmation of what some of my hopes and dreams are for the future. And how choosing to just do it! was exactly the thing He is asking of me.


It was another gentle reminder for me to keep the main thing the main thing. It was another heart-nudge to be okay with saying “no” to some commitments and responsibilities so that I can say “yes” to those things “I love” and want to pursue.


I believe that it is a beautiful thing when our passions and God’s calling and our life circumstances all line up in such a way that we can begin to plunge and venture into a dream we have had or an opportunity we deem worthy of our efforts and time.

This “thing we love” doesn’t have to be something monumental or huge or publicly praiseworthy. I think it just has to be something that is birthed in our hearts and fueled by our energy, eagerness and sacrifices.

Maybe it is a plan to eat dinner around the table more often as a family, or take an online class to dip your toe into getting back into school or turn a hobby into something more. Maybe you are starting a slow and steady exercise plan to get healthy again, or pledging to read through the Bible. Could it be that you have a dream to find and start a part-time job, declutter your house, or print pictures to (start and/or) finish your kids’ baby books? That “thing we love” is different for all of us.

What dream or passion do you have that maybe you have set aside for another time?

What affection do you have where your fervor and zeal has waned?

What steps are you going to take in the coming year to do something about it?

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. {James 2:18, ESV}

6 thoughts on “you never outgrow what you love

  1. Kathy Milligan says:

    “Out of the mouths of babes….” Bless her sweet little heart! What lovely inspiration to pass on to others!! Thanks for sharing!!


  2. Meghan Cobble says:

    I loved this, Claire. We operate on the same routine in our home. I can’t help but think that all the cool new inventive ways cardboard boxes are being turned into Army barricades, infirmaries and tank terminals are doing my boys good. It’s the rest. The imagination. The freedom to do dreams. As we grow, we forget this beautiful process. I do have my moments where I feel totally overwhelmed that my boys don’t know what a Friday “school program” or Wednesday “music time” looks and feels like. But, all it takes is one heart/gut check and I am back to the goodness of rest. Imagination. And doing dreams. Yes. Here’s hoping that this slow down gifts our kiddos one very cherished childhood and an adult life of dreams being done.


  3. Lindsay Adkins says:

    I can honestly say that 2014 has been one of the most trying years of my 29 I’ve lived! Looking forward to 2015! Danial and I have just recently sat down and written out goals (personal and financial) and we are believing in some big things!

    Believing in new birth… Being debt free… And doing God’s work in a new way!

    It’s really amazing how easy it is to push aside your goals and dreams! Thank you for sharing and the simple reminder!


    • claire says:

      Lindsay I know this had been a difficult year for you and Danial. I am praying that the Lord will graciously and lovingly redeem the time and the blessings. I am so glad to hear you guys have some aggressive and big goals and dreams. Believing in good things with you my sweet friend!


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