caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

shut de do’ keep out the toddler

ok….do any of you know that fun song that i reference in this title???

(insert reggae vibe) “shut de do’, keep out the devil. shut de do’ – keep the devil in the night. shut de do’, (de do’) keep out the devil, light the candle, everything’s alright, light the candle everything’s alright.”
such a F-U-N song. it makes me shake my hiney around right now in my recliner just typing it. and it is one of those tunes that, if you do know it, gets stuck in your head forever. and ever and ever, amen. but, hey…if you are going to get a song stuck in your head, it might as well be about shutting the devil out, right? can’t hurt.
well, in my world, lately i have been humming that tune as we are shutting doors all over this sweet home of ours to – “keep out the toddler”. go ahead, sing with me…”shut de do’, keep out the toddler. shut de do’ keep the toddler within sight. shut de do’ (de do’) keep out the toddler. throw out the candles, everything’s alright, once she’s five, everything’s alright.” 🙂

and that’s right…for those of you who think that God doesn’t have a sense of humor, you honestly haven’t known me long enough and heard my story. and clearly you haven’t ever had a child that is just. like. you.

God so blessed our family about 22 months ago with a beautiful baby girl. i mean it….it was singlehandedly one of the most joyFULL days of my life. after having two precious baby boys…and no epidural this third time (ooouucch!!)…when that doctor held up that beautiful newborn baby and said “it’s a GIRL!” …ryan and i looked at each other and simultaneously said “are you sure!?!” then we saw her. our precious baby girl, our abigail. and friend, we lost it. we. flat. out. lost it. the moment was beyond wonderful for us. and i believe that God enjoyed that moment every bit as much as we did. i also believe that He has enjoyed many, many moments after that, often giggling at me as i parent this little darling. (yes, i think God giggles) ya see…she is her mother’s child. i mean, we thought benjamin was like me, but whoa nelly, we had no idea. now…don’t get me wrong, she looks exactly like her daddy. (of course) if you ask me, it’s not quite fair that i have three children and every single one of them looks like their daddy. and they do, for real. we have actually had complete strangers stop us in public to tell us just how much these kids do NOT look like me! nice. but, don’t get me wrong, i think my sweet husband is HOT! (he’ll kill me for typing that – he is painfully modest) but, c’mon, God, all these stretch marks, all the saggy skin…couldn’t i have gotten just one kiddo that made people say “oh my goodness, you look just like your mama!” well, apparently not.
our baby girl, is named abigail caroline. trust me, i earned getting to name this kid after me. (did i mention no epidural? ok, just making sure.) but…i gotta be honest, she is a mess. a sweet, blue-eyed, curly blonde-haired, strong-willed, hilarious, dramatic, precious, little rascally mess. and she has partly for her middle name to thank for it. when i was a toddler, as the story goes, i would say “NO!” to my mom and she would quickly say “don’t you tell me no!”…which, i soon adopted as my very own favorite phrase. i would ask for a cookie for breakfast or something completely reasonable in my little two-year-old brain, and my mom would say “No”. to which i would quickly reply, “don’t you tell me no!” ha. nowadays it is one of the great family jokes. back then, i am thinking it wasn’t very funny.

i’m thinking that because our sweet little abigail (who, by the way, even as we speak is clanging something against the wall in her crib, a noise i am choosing to ignore) spoke her first full sentence all on her own just a couple months ago. such a special time when your children begin to speak in sentences. in general. so…for abigail…

was it…”i love Jesus!”?? um, nope.
was it…”i clean up!”?? nope. (remember, she is like her mother, not her father, people)
she looked right at me when i told her that we had to clean up the blocks and go night-night and she said with every fiber of her being “i NO want to!” sigh. i just sat there looking at her…thinking to myself…hmm, she just said her first sentence! and then quickly followed by the thought…that’s funny…i don’t remember asking her if she wanted to. and now, months later, if i had a dollar for every time i have heard “i NO want to!” i could not only retire, friend…but i could retire very well.

so, at this level of parenting, (my third child), you would think i’d have this down by now. my boys are out of this toddler stage (with no stitches, or major catastrophes, i might add, we consider ourselves 2 for 2 there) and yet sometimes i feel like a new mom all over again. all thanks to my darling baby girl. the thing is…i was spoiled. i admit it. my first two children really did very little to actually prepare me for parenting. truly, those two sweet boys didn’t get into that much toddler mischief. jacob, our firstborn, would wander around the house sometimes full of toddler curiosity, but when we would find him, he would literally be reorganizing the shoes in the closet by size and color. no kidding, we have what we call “jacob was here” pictures from when he was only like 18 months old and we’d find the bathroom cabinet, closet floor and other areas “re-done” by our sweet, little, methodical baby boy. then came benjamin, our sweet “joy boy”. he was much busier that jacob was, and much more active…but still, he didn’t cause much mischief. he did learn to climb early on, which scared me. i’d walk into the kitchen and he’d be trying with all his might to climb up onto the kitchen chairs, and i’d have to stop him. but, he loved receiving praise so much, even at an early age, (like his mama) that he did NOT like getting in trouble, so he stopped climbing pretty early on. (by the way, all the while his 3 year old older brother would be looking at him, like, “hmm..i never even thought to climb up there, whatd’ya know!?”) and benjamin disliked conflict so much that most times when jacob would come at him, if benjamin had a toy in his hand, he’d just throw it on the ground, and put his hands in the air, almost like a peace offering, “here, take it! let’s be friends, don’t hurt me big brother!” poor thing.

and then, there’s abigail. God bless her. in one week ALONE, (and i am not exaggerating or kidding at all) she got into the vaseline and rubbed it all over her baby doll – “mama, i change baby!” and then the very next day, i found her with the container of cornstarch dumped all over her baby doll, same excuse – “mama, i change baby!” (she is, apparently, very concerned about her babies having clean diapers!) she then dunked her baby doll into the toilet, (that’s right, the toilet! ugh.) her excuse – “i clean baby”. she soaked the bathroom floor while she and i were taking a bath together, right before she smiled and looked at me, all covered in bubbles and said “mama, i poopy!” friend, this is soooo not what you want to hear when you are taking a bath with your kid. also that week, she stood up in her high chair. she stood up on top of the boy’s train table and flipped off of it… and had the bruise on her sweet cheek to prove it. she shoved the cordless home phone into the hole on the front of sub-woofer. (yes, the boys shoved blocks in there, but only abigail would find another electronic device that we actually need to shove inside. sigh.) she threw away pieces to one of the boy’s board games – “mama, i go trash!” she also threw a ball into the diaper champ – “mama, ball yucky! ewww!” well sure kid, it is now.

i’m sure i’m forgetting stuff. but, honestly, i’m a little distracted, because our darling is awake now and walking around. danger! danger, will robinson. i wonder what will happen while i’m typing this to you. sigh. i am sure some of my friends are laughing their heads off at me right now (melissa and shelley- you know you are!) and i know my parents are, i am sure of that! my dad calls it “payin’ for your raisin’!” gee, daddy, thanks.

so, even though the girl can technically open doors, we still go around closing them, just to slow her down a bit. ya, just a bit. the boys are used to it. they know that as soon as they are done in their room or the bathroom, they have to shut the door “to keep abigail out, right mommy?” that’s exactly right. it just makes it a little easier on me if she can’t get into every single room. it’s safer for me. i get to not work as hard. and it’s all about me, right? um, no. (by the way, she just walked in with her big brother’s star wars light saber in hand, grinning from ear to ear. ha! may the force be with you baby girl!)

well, i was thinking about this lately when i was reminded of one of my favorite songs. it is a bit older song called “welcome home” and it is all about our heart. i have been thinking a lot about my heart these last months. i want it to be pure…but, is it? sometimes yes. sometimes no. but, God is working on it, i assure you that. not sure about you, but i am such a incredibly visual person that when i first heard this amazing song, it hit me square in my nose. in fact, i wonder if you can still see the mark.

so….for the first time, i am going to attempt to link the song onto my blog, that is how much i want you to hear it. so, please read these lyrics below as you listen and enjoy this amazing song by shaun groves. he is a funny guy and it is neat to listen to him describe the meaning behind the song, before he begins to sing. too cool. enjoy…(but, if the link doesn’t work, (hey, i tried!) you can find it on youtube. search for “shaun groves welcome home (live)”

shaun groves – “welcome home”

take me, make me all you want me to be. that’s all i’m asking, that’s all i’m asking.

welcome to this heart of mine, i’ve buried under prideful vines
grown to hide the mess i’ve made, inside of me, come decorate
Lord, open up the creaking door, walk upon the dusty floor
scrape away the guilty stains, until no sin or shame remain
spread your love upon the walls, and occupy the empty halls
until the man i am has faded, no more doors are barricaded

come inside this heart of mine,
it’s not my own
make it home
come and take this heart and make it
all your own
welcome home

take a seat, pull up a chair, forgive me for the disrepair
all the souvenirs from floor to ceiling, gathered on my search for meaning
every closet’s filled with clutter, messes yet to be discovered
i’m overwhelmed, i understand, i can’t make this place all that you can

repeat chorus

i took this space that you placed in me, redecorated in shades of greed
and i made sure every door was locked, every window blocked, and still you knocked

repeat chorus

take me, make me all you want me to be, that’s all i’m asking, that’s all i’m asking.

wow. is that song perfectly visual or what!?! maybe not for you. maybe you don’t do this in your relationship with God. but, friend…i do. i walk around my heart and try to “shut de do, keep out my Savior”.


in the past, i have had certain areas of my life that i haven’t wanted to give completely to Him. could i really trust Him with it? or really, did i want to? well, the answer to that was often, “i NO want to!” (i told you she was her mother’s child.) in my heart, i have a precious door labeled “ryan”…ooohh, that was (and is) one of my most special doors. and for soooo long, i didn’t feel like i could trust God with it. i remember when ryan and i were dating or engaged or even first married, i used to lie around at night and pray “God, i will do anything…anything at all, just please don’t ever take ryan away from me. ever.” and then we were blessed with a door labeled “kiddos”, and oh man, talk about fear. same prayer, just fill in the blank with each of their sweet little names. and add a few more “please, God, pleases!” to the end. i would prefer to stay in control of that area, thank you very much. it means too much to me, Jesus. i can’t give that one up. i just can’t do it. “i NO want to!”

ironic that the God of the universe (genesis 1:1), the God that breathed man into existence (genesis 2:7), the God that has known me since before i was born (psalm 139:13) and has secured my eternal salvation (acts 4:12)..that i couldn’t trust that same God with my most precious loved ones and their safety. ironic? well, not as much ironic, as it is sad.

and there are other times when i will try to shut de do’ labeled “motives”…oh man i NOT want Him to go in there!?! i figured that people who knew me, thought i was a fairly decent person. and really, i think i am….i guess. but, trust me…behind that “motives” door, i had decorated that room with so much pride and judgmental thoughts that there’s no way you could see the nice shade of humility that He had painted in there before. and yes, selfishness and envy was strung from wall to wall.

and then, there were other times, i shut de do’ labeled “future”. ugh. i had in mind what i wanted. what i had planned. what i felt i deserved. it might as well have been an optometrist’s office for all the “i’s” in there. (sorry, i couldn’t resist) but really…i really didn’t want to fully give God freedom to roam around in there and do what He wanted. because, if i did, what if He didn’t let me become a writer or speaker? what if He allowed me to “just” be a homemaker for the rest of my life. basically, it came down the fear of “what if i didn’t like what He’d done with the place?” it was something i could risk. wouldn’t risk. once again, “i NO want to!”

lately, the door labeled “health” has been shut tight as well. i’ve been leaning against that one with all my might…and i even tried to shove the dresser in front as well. a lot of good that did me.

a lot of good any of that did me. why is that i assume the God of the universe isn’t a good decorator? i mean, c’mon, seriously? have i never seen the sunset over the ocean. He’s come up with every color there. have i never looked around in nature and seen the beauty all around me? ya, He made that too. talk about the ultimate decorator. who was i kidding by thinking i could do better than that? well, i was kidding me, that’s who.

but, lately, out of His great love for me…He has divinely spoken to this ol’ heart of mine. He has sat there and knocked and knocked, and knocked and knocked on each of those doors, and finally, i have let Him in.

friend, have you?

what are you keeping from Him? i hate to spoil it for you, by the way, but you really aren’t keeping anything from Him, you just think you are and maybe hope you are. (john 21:17) which door have you had shut for so long, you kinda forget what’s behind it. or worse, maybe you remember exactly what’s behind it, but you aren’t willing to admit that it’s there. friend, i pray that you open them up. every last one of them.

so, is it easy??? absolutely not. in fact, it’s just plain hard and not a lot of fun. i still find myself sometimes in a panic, trying to hurry Him out again, so i can take back control of a room or two. oh, how patient He is. and oh, how grateful i am. 

but, is it worth it??? absolutely yes. and here’s the secret, friend. are you ready?? you don’t really own the house, your heart, so what makes you think you own each room? friend, if you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, then your heart is not your own at all. (ezekial 36:26)

in fact, if you think about it…it is the ultimate extreme home makeover. and, friend, you won! amazing isn’t it?! a couple years ago, a sweet lady i know did actually win. she and her amazing family were nominated and made it on the tv show. ty pennington and his team showed up on her doorstep and knocked. and i think she would say to anyone that that knock changed everything. they took her old, run down house and built something in it’s place that you can’t help but stare at when you drive by, it is that beautiful! now, could you imagine if she had heard “good morning augustin family!” and instead of running outside and bombarding the extreme home makeover team with hugs of gratitude, she just poked her head out the door and said, “no thanks guys, we don’t want this blessing. try the neighbors, i think they’re home.”

we would all have slapped her silly, for sure. 🙂

that is what Jesus has done, friends. and that’s what He will continue to do. He will stand and knock. and knock and knock and knock…you get the idea. (revelation 3:20) He wants to take our old, run down heart and exchange it for a heart like His.(ez. 36:26  jeremiah 24:7)

so, please friend. have faith in Him. know that His perfect goodness is just that…perfect and good. His decorating plan for your heart is a good one. the Perfect one, actually. no fear of outdated wallpaper or olive green appliances here. 🙂 read His Word. daily. spend time with Him. daily. the more you get to know Him, the more you’ll trust in His entire design scheme. and my prayer is that we each embrace His promise… “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”(jeremiah 24:7)

so sing with me a new song, will you??

“open de do’ welcome your Savior. open the do’ let Him reign inside your heart. open de do’ (de do’) welcome your Savior. you don’t need a candle, now, cause He is the light. so throw out the candle, He is the light.”

and…for the record, knowing my sweet abigail, she will be dancing along joyfully to our new song. she may be dancing on top of the kitchen table, perhaps… but she will be dancing. 🙂


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2 thoughts on “shut de do’ keep out the toddler

  1. Ok, yes I did have to laugh! And may I say, again, welcome to my world sweet friend! Hey, maybe Joshua will be easy going?? hmmm…probably not! Love that song too! And love you! Wonderful blog. love you friend!

  2. Gosh, my nearly 22 month old, Rachel, sounds remarkably like your Abigail. As I am reading this post, my little darling is also in her crib banging around, refusing to sleep…and it's after 11. We have nicknamed her “Sassy”, a name she fully earned before her first birthday. My mom even found her a shirt at Target that has “Sassy” emblazoned across the chest in sequins. I love reading your posts! Oh…but thanksabunch for getting that song stuck in my head!!! ;o)

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