Tag Archive | kids

I See You

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up where we write for 5 minutes on a one-word without heavy editing and see what happens. Read all of today’s post here.

Like any typical American parents, we were armed with our video camera (this was in the days before cell phones with cameras) and waiting expectantly for our sweet tow-headed 4-year-old boy to appear on the stage for his end-of-year performance for Mom’s Day Out.

When he came out with his classmates, dressed in his green collared shirt and cute khaki pants, I looked through the viewfinder of the camera to make sure I could get him in focus before things began.

 

What I noticed as I watched him through that lens was that he was looking all around the crowded church sanctuary, searching for us. I could read his little lips saying, “Where ARE they?” as his gaze grew concerned. David and I waved our arms and halfway stood trying to get his attention, but the lights were too bright on the stage, and there were too many bodies in the auditorium.

MDO program

He couldn’t see us.

Once the music started, he was happy singing along and doing the hand motions as he’d been taught, and I recorded him and clapped when it was done. But my heart was a little sad. I so wanted him to know that we were watching him. That we were there. That we cared.

Now, 18 years later, that little 4-year-old is 22 and searching for who he is. During a crisis time just a few months ago, I wrote him a letter reminding him of that night all those years ago and asking him, “Do you see us now? Do you know that we see you, that we’re here for you, that we love you?”

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Hagar gave God the name El Roi in Genesis 16:13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

 

 

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The Blessing Of An Unhurried Life

IMG_2437Every family has experienced it. The frantic rush in the morning to get everyone where they’re supposed to be going. Do the kids all have their homework? Is their lunch packed? Where are their shoes. Hurry! The school bus will be here any minute!

Stick a PopTart in the toaster, gulp down a glass of milk, and run out the door. Barely time for a hug and a kiss, let alone sweet words that might fill their souls for the day.

Sound familiar?

Do you hate living that way?

Is it only on vacation that a slower, unhurried pace of life can happen?

There’s a saying: the hurrier I go the behinder I get.P1000562

Last year we made the decision with the full agreement and enthusiasm of our 15-year-old daughter to have her enroll in virtual school. That means that we don’t have a 5:30 wake up to make sure she gets to a 6:20 bus. Our mornings are calm, later and unhurried. It’s a huge blessing.

As I look closer at living an unhurried lifestyle, I see it as giving ourselves room to breathe. I know that not everyone can make the same decisions we have, but I would encourage everyone to take a look at those hurried and harried times and see if there’s any way to bring some peace to them.

Can lunches be made and backpacks packed the night before? Can clothes be laid out? Shoes put by the door? Pre-made breakfasts be ready to go?

IMG_1888I have a daughter who is not a morning person, so she made some of these choices herself as she grew, and I certainly know that not all children will fit well into this mould.

But if you’re finding yourself getting frazzled before the day has barely begun, give some thought to how you might give yourself and your family some breathing room.

 

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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Waging War

warriorWe have a hot tub as a part of our swimming pool, and when we sit in it as a family, my kids enjoy playing a game where someone thinks of a word, and the others compete to see who can come up with a song that includes that word. It’s amusing what I can pull out of the archives of my mind. Especially when they try to come up with obscure words. Recently, one of them challenged us with the word “warrior.” I know a song with that word in it, but for the life of me I couldn’t conjure the words or the tune in my head. It had been a long time since I’d heard it. I remembered the name of the artist, though, So when we finally went inside, I went to my computer and googled “Twila Paris, warrior.” The song, of course, popped right up: “The Warrior is a Child.”

“They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down. They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around. I drop my sword and cry for just awhile. ‘Cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.”

The battle gets wearying, doesn’t it? We’re fighting for our marriages; we’re fighting for the minds of our children; we’re fighting for Truth. I’m just tired. I don’t want to monitor my boys’ internet activity. I don’t want to work with my daughter on how she responds to authority. I don’t want to write my congressman about making sure our rights as Americans are protected. It’s too hard. I’m too tired. But what happens if I don’t do these things? The results would be catastrophic.

Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Warriors don’t give up. “I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ, so firm on His promise I’ll stand” to quote another battle song.

Twila Paris said it so well back in the day, so stand strong as you listen to her song. Hang in there, Warrior!

photo courtesy of pinimg.com

No Whining!

Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel recently aired a conglomeration of videos recorded by parents who had just told their kids that they had eaten all of their Halloween candy. Setting aside the argument about the ethics of lying to your kids, the reactions of some of these children were telling. Most of them burst into tears with loud wailing and protesting of the unfairness of it all. One child hit his parent and then proceeded to throw a water bottle at her. My thought was, “Oh my, there is no way I would let my child act that way.” Pretty self-righteous, right?

Then there were the sweet children who got sad looks on their faces but said, “That’s all right.” One little boy even added, “I just want you to feel happy.” How sweet is that?

I might criticize those fit-throwing children and those who are raising them, but really, am I any better when something doesn’t go my way or disappoints me? I may be mature enough not to actually fall on the floor in a puddle of tears, but that’s what I’m doing on the inside.

When God doesn’t answer my prayers the way I hope He will, do I say, “That’s all right. You know what’s best. Thanks for keeping me from making a mistake?” Or do I throw spiritual water bottles and pound my fists on the floor? I know what I’d like to do; but I also know how I’m supposed to respond. “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Just don’t eat my chocolate.

Thankful today for:

636. lists

637. jackets

638. gift cards

639. God’s sovereignty

640. our upcoming annual school camping trip

641. unexpected gifts

Time Keeps on Slippin’, Slippin’, Slippin’

I sent my baby boy off for his sophomore year of high school today. He won’t like the fact that I called him my baby boy. Plus, he’s taller than I am now. But it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t read my blog anyway. Sigh. Last night I asked him if he wanted me to get up and say goodbye to him in the morning (which is a BIG sacrifice for me, since he needs to leave the house at 6:45 or so to catch his bus at 6:52). He said no. Then he added, “You can if you want to.” So when I woke up at 6:47 and asked my husband if he had heard him, and he told me he hadn’t, I went to his room to check.

Yep, there he was snoozing away. 5 minutes until the bus arrived at a 3-minute-walk-away bus stop. Wasn’t gonna happen. So, being the kind mother that I am, I drove him. Got him there 3 minutes before the bell for first period. I don’t think he made it. But, I was guessing they were giving grace on the first day of school. But what a way to start.

So, my big, strong Air Force officer wannabe son still needs his momma. Whether he wants to admit it or not.

My desire to hang on, to make sure he has everything he needs for the day, that he hasn’t left anything behind, is hard to break. Last year I stopped myself from checking that he had his athletic shoes for an ROTC field day that he was attending. He had to wear his uniform there, but then change into PT clothes later on. Turns out, he forgot the shoes. The result? Major blisters and torn skin on the soles of his feet for his error. Lesson learned? I think so. But it’s hard to see your children suffer the consequences, isn’t it?

But what’s that saying? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? I bet he won’t be forgetting his shoes again.

When we go to a restaurant, my husband is telling me, let him ask the questions. Don’t baby him. But not asking the right questions can have physical consequences as he is severely allergic to dairy products. And I have more experience knowing what to ask. And what if he doesn’t have his allergy medicine with him? And, and, and.

Let it go. Cut the apron strings. He’s a big boy now.

Wrong. He’s still my baby.

Thankful today for:

561. growing independence

562. a new computer coming

563. approaching fall

What Would I Do Without You?

Although I haven’t touched them for nearly two years, I am a scrapbooker. Once I began teaching, I just haven’t been able to save any mental space for working on my books. I’ll get back to them some day. But this was a quote I put in one of the early books for my kids:

“You are the trip I did not take;

You are the pearls I cannot buy;

You are my blue Italian lake;

You are my piece of foreign sky.”

This is from a poem by Anne Campbell. It speaks to me.

Motherhood, it seems, is all about sacrifice. Of course there are benefits, but often those don’t come until later. My friend Judy posted a poignant blog about the gifts her children have given her (read it here). I agree with every one of her points, although my life looks vastly different from hers. My kids are all still at home. Every day there is something that goes on that means I have to give up something that I would rather be doing. And yet, in raising my kids, there really is nothing that I would rather be doing.

Do I enjoy the silence in the house when they’re all off to school? Yes. But if the continued silence means I didn’t have the kids, I far prefer the chaos.

Do I wish that for even a day the house could stay clean? Yes. But if cleanliness meant my house was empty, then what’s a few dust bunnies? (OK, more than a few.)

Would I like to look out on a pristine yard? Who wouldn’t? But if nice grass meant no wild sword fights or games of fetch with the dog, then I welcome the lived-in look of the warn path the dog has made madly chasing his beloved ball.

My friend Ronnie once told me a house should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I have taken that on as my personal slogan.

Do I pester my kids about picking up and quieting down? Yes. But honestly, what would I do without them? They are my true Mother’s Day gift.

But I’m still looking forward to that steak dinner promised to me tomorrow.

Thankful today for:

270. the gift of See’s chocolate from my friend Lynn

271. waking up early on a day I could have slept in

272. 12 more days of school

273. a great first year of high school for my eldest

274. the cardinal couple that occasionally flits through our yard

275. that the alligators decide to wait until after our day in the lake to make their appearance

276. the pitter patter of little feet (and some not so little anymore)

277. family prayer

278. photographs

Of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games

What do Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have in common? This is what I notice:

–they both started out as books

–they were both written by women

–the central characters in both series are young

–they are both phenomenally successful

–they both have been denounced by members of the Christian community.

Let me say right now that I would not be one of those members.

On the website http://www.credenda.org, the writer, Douglas Wilson, in a review of “The Hunger Games,” states:

“In short, when you have the privilege of setting up all the circumstances artificially, in order to give your protagonist no real choice about whether to sin or not, it is a pretty safe bet that a whole lot of people in a relativistic country, including the Christians in it unfortunately, won’t notice.”

The gist of the article was that we shouldn’t let our kids watch this movie, or read the book. Wilson says, “But in terms of helping Christian young people set their minds and hearts on that which is noble and right, we can’t even give it one star.”

As a writer, and a follower of Jesus, I can see that I have an obligation to help my readers become better people. But if you are coming from a worldview that does not acknowledge God (and I’m not saying either Suzanne Collins or J.K. Rowling fall into that camp), then you can’t be held to that standard. What these stories do is give parents a chance to actually have meaningful conversations with their kids about what they’re reading.

I have read the Harry Potter series and loved it. I thought the character development was wonderful, the plot amazingly complex and the pace fast and exciting.

I have not yet read The Hunger Games, but I’m fixin’ to, as soon as Justin puts it down.

I talk to my kids about what they read and the worldview adhered to therein. We give them a solid foundation at home and make sure we keep our lines of communication open. I know what they’re reading, I know who their friends are, I have a relationship with my children. I filter the things they can read and watch, but I don’t prohibit all that does not follow the worldview we espouse. Our school calls this living in a wildlife refuge versus a hothouse. They’re exposed to some of the things out there in the world, but protected while they’re at it.

There’s a scene in the second Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets, that holds a great truth. Harry is talking to Professor Dumbledore and is quite concerned about some things that Tom Riddle said to him. He’s afraid he might be like Tom, who is the epitome of evil. In the course of the conversation, the professor helps Harry think through the process that the Sorting Hat went through to put him into the house of Gryffindor. This is what the author said that I thought was so profound:

“‘It only put me in Gryffindor,’ said Harry in a defeated voice, ‘because I asked not to go in Slytherin. . . .’

“‘Exactly,’ said Dumbledore, beaming once more. ‘Which make you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'”

Romans 7: 15-25 talks about this dilemma: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Harry Potter and his friends do not acknowledge God. The powers they have simply come from within themselves. What a great opportunity to talk to our kids about sin and righteousness and God’s grace.

The Hunger Games  puts young people in an ethical dilemma: kill or be killed. What a great chance to talk to our kids about moral absolutes and where that comes from and how God is not just the giver of life, but Life Himself.

And then pray that those who write things our kids love would begin to see things from God’s perspective.

 

Thankful today for:

138. Homemade pizza

139. The end of a good book

140. A new book to read at the ready