Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Todays Readings - August 31st, 2010

The first reading today is from 1 Corinthians 2. It says that men consider the words of the Spirit of God to be foolish. Amazing that the Spirit of God is what is meant to guide us and keep us on the path that God has set out for us and that we will find the Spirit of God foolish. I believe that before we were born, we had the chance to sit with Our Father and that the two of us went over the plan He had for our life. He told us, not only what He had planned, but how to achieve that plan. The Holy Spirit is there telling us how to stay on that path and we miss the gentle nudges and pokes and keep going on our merry way. Stubborn lot, we are that we insist on not listening and continuing on the stumbling path through this life. If only we would look more to the example of Christ, who, though He was God, was fully man. The example of a prayful man, constantly going off to find silence and listen to the path His Father had planned for Him, is one of the best examples we need to follow. Let us pray that we don't find the words and advice of the Holy Spirit to be foolish today. "Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God."

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Principal's Office

My oldest, 7th grade, has never had a detention, never been sent to the principal's office, never had a problem on the bus-until last week. He got into the van after school and said, "Did you get a call from the principals office today?" Of course, I am thinking the worse: a fight, cheating on a test, pulling a stupid prank. But I calmly ask, "What did you do?" At which point, I was told that at lunch he dipped an apple slice in chocolate milk and the girls all over reacted and so the vice principal was all bent out of shape and he ended up with recess detention. Ohhhh man...just what every parent wants to do; confront the principals office. If you say something every time there is an incident or question then you are a trouble maker. If you don't ask often enough, you don't care. There is such a fine line to walk here. In my mind I was thinking that there better be a better reason than an apple being dipped into chocolate milk and consumed for the first detention...but hey, it could definitely be worse! (and a YEAH goes off in my head)

One of my favorite stories from the bible is the story of the woman about to be stoned. There they all are ready to condemn and even kill the woman for her sins when Jesus calmly tells them, "Let he among you who has no sin cast the first stone." He knew everyone there was a sinner and that no one would throw the stone. We all screw up and most of us do it fairly regularly. It takes a strong leader to not condemn someone when they err. It is easy to look at others and find fault; far easier than it is to look in the mirror and admit to our own. After all, when we look at others and note their faults, don't we try to take the focus off from ourselves?

In our children we try to raise them up with the ideals that we ourselves cannot achieve. If we can teach them how they should be, they may turn into exemplary young men and women. Far better than we ourselves can ever hope to obtain. So for now, I will remind my son that it was not his eating the gross food that ultimately got him in trouble, but the way the situation was handled by himself and his friend when they got caught that landed him in the office and be glad that for now, the ideal of what he can be can still hold for another day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Patience and Potty Training

Isn't he adorable sitting there on the potty with the magazine....Let me assure you that cute and potty training should not be in the same sentence with this child....Child 1 potty trained in about 4 days-right at 2-no problems. Child #2-a little more stubborn-9 days and he had it though-2 years, 4 months and he was trained day and night. Child #3-got #1 right away and right at 2-took 4 months to get #2's. Trained completely by 2 years 5 months. Along comes #4. Naked seems to be helping, but only somewhat. When he is naked, he will #1 only in the potty. His #2's have been pointed out to me behind the train table, on the sand pile and on the kitchen floor. And, if we go anywhere and put any pants on-underwear or pullups and we start over again.

Whoever said that Patience is a Virtue was not going through potty training. I remember my first child getting ready for this stage and being totally confounded as to how you teach a child to use the potty and then he did it so easily and quickly. I then wondered why people made such a big deal about it. Now, we have potty bears and big boy pants and stickers and stamps and #2's on the kitchen floor and any patience I thought I had is just about gone. I know he could do it if he wanted to because he will hide and come running to me and point out his discretion.

Does the concept of patience have anything to do with the grey hairs I am covering every 28 days with my 'natural' hair color? I do know that the bathtub I found soothing is located right next to the potty that drives me crazy these days and has temporarily lost it's soothing status.

Patience and Parenting in general are difficult. There is the child that is insistent that the steps can be mastered and must go up and down them a hundred times knowing that the determination it takes to master the task must be rewarded for it to grow and that when they fall we will be there to pick them up again. There is the child that must fix their own hair and it is patience that allows them to go out with only the front combed telling them how beautiful they look, knowing that it is their self confidence we are building. There is the patience required to let them tie their own shoes despite being late out the door knowing that the 5 minuts it takes per shoe gives them the satisfaction of a job complete. There is the child that tries the patience by swearing they do not know what you are talking about knowing that finding a way for them to back out gracefully from their error gives them tools they will someday need in the workplace to work in difficult situations. It is the preteen who suddenly decides you are not the hero you once were that requires patience to know that the growing away from us gives them the wings they will need to go anywhere they want and be a success.

So, I will take the grey hairs and I will take the bags under the eyes while I worry and pray nightly for the patience to remember that in all of the trials sent me, I must remain calm and grow these gifts into adults who will feel that all that they become is because of me, not in spite of me. Until then, I will pray today for patience while potty training.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who Pushed Fast Forward?

I just got an email this morning from my sister-in-law with pictures of my nephew and his group of friends and his date headed to home coming last night. They were just going to meet at the place to take pictures, but my brother was insistent that if it was to be a date, my nephew should go pick her up. I read and smiled at the impossibility that the little guy who cost us more to go see his birth than it did his parents to pay the deductible. You see, on the way to the hospital in the middle of the night when he was born, a stray dog darted out in front of our car which ended up costing us a license plate, bracket, tire and front end alignment. Travis was the first grandkid born in my family. And we all wanted to be there when the first one of us took the plunge.

My son is three years younger than his cousin, but has already started on the wonderful path that is puberty with all the moodiness, know-it-all, growth, acne and bodily reactions that go with it. He is only 12. We were glad when we realized what was going on since many of his mood changes started around 10-ish. I remember thinking at 10-ish, that the haul to college was going to be a long one.

Who pushed fast forward? By the time they are five, most of their personality traits have been set. By the time they are 12, our influence is being rapidly replaced by that of their peers and by the time they are 16, we are just about done molding them. The time from 0-1 flies by pretty fast, mostly due to hormones I think, that make us remember only the tiny little hands and feet and soft heads and smiles. The terrible twos become memories lost with smiles as they began to assert their independence and said words in funny ways and gave the best hugs and kisses in the world. From 3-10, they coast through making milestones like learning to read, riding their bikes without training wheels and having those adorable smiles that occur when they have jack-o-lantern smiles.

Then all of a sudden, we, as parents realize that we are racing against the clock. We have so much to teach them and our influence is waning fast. G-mail, texting, the opposite sex, phones, dances...each event seems to be one step closer to the day we send them off to college. Who pushed fast forward? Before we had them, we had no idea what parenting would be like and explaining it is impossible. It would be like explaining to a person from the 1830's what life with a computer would be like, there is just no comparison. Then we are there; living and doing our best to raise these gifts that are our children to be independent and successful-and gone.

I am looking at my two year old and trying to savor his wonderful hugs and my six year old with her toothless grin and my ten year old when he constantly looks to us for guidance and wishing it would last forever and knowing that before I know it, they too will be talking back and asserting their independence and taking bigger and bigger steps away from me and that it is all good. I am raising these wonderful children to have the self confidence and knowledge and skills they need to go wherever they want to in the world and do well.

Who pushed fast forward?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hugs

We have some wonderful new friends in town and we went over to their house to bring a jar of homemade apple jelly a week or so ago. They showed us all of their old-fixed up tractors and let Seth drive the gator around for a few minutes. The kids thought they were in heaven. When we were leaving, I told Teddy to tell them good bye and he ran over and gave Mr. Kemner a hug around both of his legs and said bye. Then Mrs. Kemner got the same treatment... This weekend, Mr. Kemner was nice enough to mow and bail the field to the north of our old house, which my kids stood and watched in fascination. Bill stopped when he was done bailing and met my husband and chatted for a few minutes. One of the first things he recounted was how nice he thought it was that Teddy had run over and given him such a big hug.

Now I know that I think that a chubby two year old hug is just about the best feeling in the whole world. At that age, they have a feeling and they go with it-100%. Their whole little hearts are into the hugs that they just give and you can feel that love conveyed in those chubby little arms. Teddy is really liking the hugs these days and I am loving being the recipient of his affection. I know that one day, all to soon, the hugs will be more measured and less spontaneous. They will be given more out of routine than the sheer joy of the moment and then I will have to wait until my grandchildren come over to experience that joy. I am glad that I am not the only one that knows that the love and affection of a small child is a joy to experience.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Frogs in a Pond and God...


I love to watch kids play; not organized sports, but on their own in a sand pile or catching frogs in a puddle. They squat down with their knees almost to their chins with their little butts almost on the ground and study with great care what they are doing. I don't ever seem to need to say anything unless they need to keep their new shoes out of the mud or sand starts flying. They will spend a lot of time studying, planning, scheming...trying to accomplish the task at hand over and over again until a new task comes to mind or they succeed.

That must be what freedom feels like. To decide on a task and work until that task is accomplished and come up with something new or better yet, call on someone else to admire what we have done. Imagine if we could live our lives that way. Pick something fun...like weeding or reading. Then do it until you are sick of it, finished with it, or think of something else fun to do. No phone, no pleas from children to do something else, no laundry buzzer, no meat that needs to come out of the freezer. Personally, I don't even know where that would happen, let alone when. That type of freedom does not exist in my life right now. But it is nice to watch a child, while folding a load of laundry, concentrate so totally on an activity. Their little minds taking it all in and learning about the wonders of the world.
Have you ever told a child who has the priviledge of living a life that allows them to spend time searching for frogs in a pond that God made the world? Their little eyes light up and you can just see them considering the wonders they have had the honor of concentrating on as being created by someone. The wonder and awe their minds must be able to feel when they have been able to just be kids and sit and play...


Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Diamond in the Rough

Today, I had the pleasure of stripping my doorknob. It was put on the house sometime after 1872 because the stamp on the back of the bell says that three patents were granted the maker of the doorknob in 1872. It had about 2 or three layers of paint on it that were covering up some beautiful detailing. I used stripper, gloves, steel wool, a toothbrush and a sanding pad and spent about three hours of my day discovering the beauty underneath all of that yucky stuff. And it was worth the time and effort because underneath is a solid brass doorbell with beautiful ornate details that will grace the front door of this old house for hopefully another 140 years.

We are all formed from the same mold. We are all created in His image. Not just the black or the white; not just the red or the yellow, but all of us. If that is reality than do you think that He was referring to the outside features when He said this or was there more to the statement. Underneath the layers that life and birth have given to us, we are all created with the possibility of being like Him. All knowing, all loving, all accepting...everything that he is, we have the ability to be. If we are all created in His image, are we not all beautiful under all those layers? How can we look to the beauty of Him in every person we meet? In the aged and infirm ed, He is there. In the deformed, He is there. In the movie stars and the street bums, He is there. Every person in the entire world has Him in them. It is our job to find the good in every person and bring it out. We need to peel back all the layers and find the beauty inside and, just like with my doorknob, the beauty will shine for all to see when we are patient enough to take the time to look below the surface and find it.