Thursday, December 31, 2015

10:52...The Minute That Changed My Life Forever

I remember every little detail about the days and hours leading up to 10:52; the minute that changed my life forever. How could I not, because that was the minute I became a mom for the first time. At 10:52 AM on 12-31-82, John Zachery Noble was born!

From that moment on everything John and I did for the next eighteen years we did because of, or for Zach (and beyond that for his sisters). Even now that he and his sisters are married and have families of their own, many of the decisions we make and things we do are made and done only after taking them into consideration. Why? Because at 10:52 my life…our lives were forever changed.
I wasn’t ‘just’ Darla anymore. John wasn’t ‘just’ John anymore. We weren’t even ‘just’ John and Darla anymore. We were John and Darla—Zach’s mom and dad. His very life and well-being was in our hands.

Being a parent isn’t something you do—or at least it shouldn’t be. From the minute your first child comes into this world, you ARE a parent. Your number one priority and goal as a parent should be to love unconditionally with that “just because” kind of love. In doing so you will nurture and encourage your child to be their very best self; a ‘self’ of faith, honor, integrity, compassion, and a ‘self’ that possesses a strong sense of self-worth, humility, and a desire to work hard for what they have.

When you are this parent, you can’t lose. Your kids can’t lose. Society can’t lose.

I started out by telling you I remember every little detail about the day 10:52 changed my life forever—and it’s true. I remember the tears of joy running down John’s face while he repeatedly said “Thank you for giving me a son”.  I remember holding Zach and thanking God for making him so perfectly wonderful. I remember hoping he would always know how much I love him. I remember hoping we would raise him to know and love the LORD. I remember how excited I was to show him off to the world. I remember hoping I would be the mom he deserved. I even remember wondering if I would ever sit down like a normal person again. J  Why did I have those thoughts? Because that was who I had become in that moment and who I will forever be. Mom.

But I also remember what didn’t happen. There were no thoughts or worries about whether or not our house was big enough, if he would have enough toys, or if he would be popular or be the star of the school football or soccer team. I didn’t have one thought as to whether he would be good enough, cute enough, or smart enough for me to want to always be his mom. Why? Because that’s not what parents who ARE parents do. So ask yourself this: Are you doing parenting or ARE you a parent?

Happy birthday, Zach, and happy New Year, everyone!

Momma D

                               Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Life Lesson to be Learned from a Pan of Hot Rolls

A couple of weeks before Christmas I was having a casual conversation with another woman; one in which we were discussing our ‘readiness’ for the upcoming holiday. In the course of our conversation Mrs. Hart said she had spent the afternoon making several dozen chocolate-covered peanut butter balls and Santa’s thumbprint cookies because those were the favorites of two of her grandchildren. She went on to say she’d be making the favorite treat of her other four grandchildren the following day.

As I listened to her I couldn’t help but think about the Thanksgiving dinner we’d had just a few weeks prior to that. I had tried a new roll recipe. Some thought they were just fine, but others—especially Zach—were not impressed. It wasn’t because they didn’t taste good. It was because they weren’t the ones I usually made…the ones he likes and was looking forward to.

Hey, what can I say? They weren’t bad but you can bet I won’t do it again. I’m just glad the gravy was spot-on. J And just so you know, when we sit down to Christmas dinner there will be rolls—the kind Zach and the rest of my family have come to expect.

I also thought of Granny and the love, energy, and time she put into making my birthday cakes so special. She didn’t do it because I expected it. She did it because she wanted to use her talents to let me to know how special I was to her.

So why will there be ‘real’ rolls? Why did Mrs. Hart go to all the trouble to make so many different kinds of treats and goodies? Why did I have such fancy birthday cakes? Because of our desire for our kids and grandkids to know we want(ed) to go the extra mile to make them happy. Because we enjoy(ed) doing the little things that bring a smile to their faces.

At the risk of sounding like my two year-old granddaughter and every other two year-old in the universe, I’m going to ask why again. Why is putting a smile on their faces and letting them know we want to go the extra mile so important?

There are actually two answers to that question. 1: Because it is an expression of love. 2: Because in doing so we are setting an example to our kids and grandkids that says going the extra mile and valuing the needs and desires of others is important.

To the naked eye, the rolls, cookies, and cakes are nothing more than something to eat. But the truth of the matter is that these things are evidence that you value others as much or more than you do yourself. They are life-lessons in selflessness, humility, integrity, and love.—all of which we should want to teach our kids.

These things should also serve as tangible reminders to you; reminders that as a parent, it is your responsibility to put their needs and desires of your kids on the top of your priority list. Don’t forget, though, being a parent is a responsibility you should embrace—one you should feel privileged and honored to have.

Merry Christmas,

Momma D

                              Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission of the author. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Dad Can Do A Cartwheel...Can Yours?

If you’re a mom, there’s a dad to go with you and vice versa. You may be raising your children as a single parent or like me, you may be blessed with a ‘parenting partner’ who has been active and present in all phases of your parenting journey, but either way you can’t be a mom or dad without each other. It’s simple biology.

Each week I share something I’ve experienced and learned as a mom and nanna. But this week I want to give credit to my parenting partner and love of my life, John.

John worked diligently and sacrificially as a law enforcement officer for thirty years; putting in long, stressful hours so that I could be a stay-at-home mom and wife. It’s true he wasn’t always able to attend every school program, 4-H event, or church outing. And there were many nights he wasn’t there to eat dinner with us or say ‘good night’ before they went to bed. But as our youngest daughter Emma said a couple of years ago, “I get it now. Any time Dad wasn’t able to be there was simply so you could be, Mom.”

John may not have been there for everything, but he was there for the really important things. He was there to help me bring each of our four children into the world. He was there to make memories on family camping trips. He was there to cheer Zach on at soccer games, cross-country meets, and track meets. He was there to help the kids show their livestock at the fair. He was there to worship with them in church (unless he had to work). He was there when each of them accepted Christ as their Savior. He was to take them sledding, teach them how to work hard, discipline them, rescue them from run-away ponies and angry roosters, teach them why and how to choose between the microwave and the hoodie (that’s another story for another day) and to turn cartwheels in the living room and dance with his daughters to “Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Album”. But most of all, he was (and still is) there to show them what it is to be a man of integrity, honor, loyalty, grace, and to love the LORD.

The lesson I want to leave you with this week is this: parenting is a team-effort. Children need both a mom and a dad. Your roles are different, yet the same. You both have a responsibility to make memories, discipline, invest yourselves into your children’s lives, and to love unconditionally.

Thank you, John, for parenting with me. Happy Birthday!


Momma D
                              Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What's Blue and Yellow, Made of Paper, and Comes Out Only Once a Year???

In early December of 1984 Zach, who was almost two, came walking out of his Sunday school class carrying a paper angel covered in blue and yellow crayon scribbles. The angel had a strip of paper on each side of the bottom of the skirt that had been taped together to form a circle. The purpose of this angel: to sit on the top of a Christmas tree.

When Zach proudly handed me the paper angel I promised we would put it on top of the tree as soon as we got home and that it would sit on top of my Christmas tree ‘forever’ (as long as I was living).
So would you like to guess what is sitting on top of my Christmas tree this year—just like every year beginning in 1984? That’s right. It’s the paper angel Zach made. Hey, I promised and promises are meant to be kept.

When you make a promise to your children (or anyone, for that matter) you are putting your integrity on the line and are providing your children with the answer to the question of whether or not they can trust you…really trust you. When you keep your promises your children see you as safe and trustworthy. Breaking your promises however, is unsettling to your children. They feel exposed and vulnerable. They don’t know when to trust you and when not to. If this happens very often, they will quit trusting you altogether. And when this happens, you lose their respect, as well.

I made the promise to Zach that day because a) I wanted him to know how much I valued his efforts b) I wanted to make him feel special c) I wanted to establish a tradition for our little family. I’ve kept the promise I made to Zach all those years ago because a) I want him to always know my word is good and that he can trust me no matter what and b) because I LOVE that little paper angel.

Over the next few years our little family doubled in size from three to six. Promises were made to each of the girls (and kept). More traditions were added along the way, as well, but none replaced the tradition of our paper tree angel because I promised, and promises are meant to be kept.

How well do you keep the promises you make to your children? Do you keep them or do you promise things in an effort to gain compliance or a little peace and quiet? I hope you keep them because (in case you haven't picked up on it yet) promises are meant to be kept.

Momma D
                           Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015


This time last week, I was playing game after game after game of “Don’t Spill the Beans” with Mackenzie and Macy. If you aren’t familiar with the game, allow me to give you a brief explanation…

Each person takes their turn in placing a plastic bean on the bean pot that is balanced on two ‘arms’. The object of the game is to NOT spill the beans by upsetting the balance of the bean pot each time you place your bean in the pile. It’s actually pretty fun. So fun, in fact, that Mackenzie was barely able to wait her turn.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I said, “Not yet, Mack. It’s Macy’s turn.” Or, “Not yet, Mack, it’s my turn.” Mackenzie wasn’t trying to ‘steal’ a turn. She was simply excited to be playing the game. She was enjoying herself so much that she was having a hard time waiting for her turn to come around again.

As I thought about this the next morning (when they asked to play again), I thought about how similar life is to Mackenzie’s exuberance in playing “Don’t Spill the Beans”.

Kids are in such a hurry to grow up they don’t want to wait their turn. It starts when they are toddlers wanting to stay up later. From there it progresses to:

  • Wanting to wear clothes that make them look older
  • Wearing makeup
  • Playing on competitive sports teams that expect you to practice for hours each week
  • Thinking they need a cell phone before they know how to carry on a conversation that goes beyond “Do you want to come over to my house and play?”
  • Dating even though they can’t drive

And let’s not forget this one: wanting to be treated as an adult before they even have a job.

As parents it is your responsibility to not let your kids grow up too quickly. Kids only have eighteen years to be kids, and you need to make sure they make the most of those eighteen years.

I’m not saying children shouldn’t be given chores to do or expected to be responsible. And I’m not saying they should be babied and sheltered from anything and everything that causes them to ask questions and make choices. These things are all part of being a kid. What I am saying, though, is this: don’t allow (or expect) your kids to be older than they are. Don’t let them ‘add a bean to the pot’ before it’s time and throw their life off balance.

Take it from me—the years really do pass far too quickly. Your kids will be grown up and gone before you know it, so enjoy each moment and provide your kids with an environment that will allow them to do the same.

Momma D
                                             Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.