A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Time for Some Fun

I find that too often I take myself way too seriously. I hate having my picture made, and I definitely don't enjoy drawing attention to myself. The headache literaly had kept me in the house for a month. When I finally started feeling better, we made a trip to our favorite classroom...the park. We had it all to ourselves and little man ran circles around me while I called out spelling words. During a play break, he picked up my camera and shot the video I hope will show up below.

My sweet boy loves to make me laugh and he succeeded. Listen close and you can hear just how much the headache affects our lives when he gives out the scientific name of the habitat for the elusive Mateacher Foot. Originally I said no way to letting anyone outside the immediate family see the footage. Then I remembered to take a deep breath and enjoy making a memory. I want him to look back on his childhood and remember so much more than my daily fight with pain. I want to encourage the carefree fun and creativity of moments like this one. It was a good day in April, and we have had a good afternoon getting it uploaded and edited. Hope you enjoy the fun as much as we did. Solomon tells us in Proverbs that a merry heart is better than medicine. It has been good for both us to sit and laugh together for him to have a chance to share a goofy experience with this old Mama.

May God help us to find the fun moments in each, encourage our children to be silly and creative, and may we shine His love to them and for them in our actions.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Time of Questions

It seems the older I get the more questions I have. It fits right in with something my sweetheart told our son this weekend. He said, “Son, the time will come when you think that Mama and I are absolute idiots and you'll question everything we do, but remember that I predicted it would happen. When you realize I was right, you're really going to hate having to admit that Dad really does know something; in fact, he just might be a genius. And you're going to hate it all the more.” Really and truly that's what the adolescent and the young adult years are all about..questions. Questions that race widely around in their head about everything from how's my hair look to is there really a God.

I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that we have to give our children the tools to answer all those questions for themselves. Have we helped to cultivate a spirit of confidence; so that they can walk around with confidence no matter the hair style. Have we helped them to cultivate a love for God's word and encouraged them to decide God is the Creator and author of salvation not because Mama and Daddy believe it, but because they can study and make that decision for themselves.
God gives us some parameters for raising children and here are a few:

Proverbs 22:​​6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
​And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

These verses remind us that we must train our children. They don't come into this world programmed to obey, speak politely and use their best manners. In fact, children will take a chance even when all the odds are stacked against them just to see if we're going to hold the line we said we would. If we aren't consistent then we won't get the results we want. It means that even when my head is screaming with the pain from the headache that I will still enforce our family rule: to do right. In doing this, I must be careful to mirror the same love God has for me as I discipline/train. It means that my son understands that I don't like the way he is behaving but I still love him. In the heat of the moment words that cannot be taken back can place scars on the heart of the child. There is an understanding that this is the behavior I expect from you and I'm sorry that you chose to make a bad decision. It is one of my big pet peeves to hear a child be told they are bad, stupid, etc. The child is not bad the decision was. God sent his one and only son to die for me while I was still a sinner. He hates the sin, but loves the person. It's one of those things I must work really hard at to remember.

It is important that the rules stay the same for the same situation. It meas I must train him to know the difference in how to act inside, outside at home, outside away from home, and how I expect him to sit and listen during worship. It is important that I don't change the rules mid- stream. In our house this is when the pouty face will appear and hands will clench. It's often done because his expectation for my reaction (based on past experiences) doesn't meet up with what happens. This definitely provokes anger. As a small child, he didn't know how to express that anger except in tears. Now, it means I'm dealing with a sullen non responsive tween. It's at these times that I'm learning just as much as he is. If I don't listen to his concerns then things can escalate to a level where I may be provoking him to anger/ make a bad choice.

It is my desire to encourage and train at the same time. If I like the behavior I'm seeing I tell him. By letting him know what I like to see, he gets a better picture of my expectations. We have done this since he began to crawl and climb. Our children long to please us, just as we should long to please God. If there are certain actions you don't want to see, prepare them to act the way you want when they are small. I enjoyed visiting the shut-ins and widows one night a week with a girl friend before our son's adoption. I wanted to be able to take him with me and not fuss at him the whole time about don't touch. So I put a bowl with flowers on our coffee table, he was not allowed to touch it at all because it was not his. In fact from the time he was able to talk to age five (aside from the word no) the words he and I both said where “If it not mine/yours then don't touch it. I tried to keep something of his on the table as well. He could play with what belonged to him, but if he went for my flowers a small pop on the hand was a reminder it wasn't his. It worked (most of the time) and I could take him with me. He would begin to crawl to a table with someone else's pretties and I would say “If it's not yours don't touch it.” If He kept moving then I would go pick him up and give him a toy that I would take with me. This was training him in a safe place to make the right choice. We are still trying to do that as we begin to give more freedom and more choices where the consequences are punishment in themselves.

OK, this is my last suggestion, but for me it's a big one. Allow your child to make choices as often as possible. From at bedtime, do you want water from the kitchen or water from the sink in the bathroom? Always provide two choices that you can live with..” Do you want to snuggle and watch a short cartoon or read a book before bed?” Being able to make even the smallest choices is empowering and allows for the child to trust their own judgment. As they get older the choices change from “Do you want to do an extra days school work today, or stop now?” By doing the extra day early they have a whole day to play or be away from the house, or possibly missing out on something that he wants to do the next day because he wanted to stop school the day before. As the consequences make a bigger impact on the outcome, the child learns more about himself and what works and what doesn't.

So, what did any of this have to do with my sweetheart and me being geniuses in the eyes of our son. It's about the answers to the questions or choices. It's allowing him to see that we've been there done that, and by the very nature of our being human he will repeat it. Maybe the questions that I find myself asking myself are much like the choices I'm giving my son. As I strive to make God's will my will, maybe He is allowing me to learn from the consequences as well. It means that I must spend more time in His word looking for the answers and more time interacting with others to put my solutions into practice. If I don't like the result then I've learned a valuable lesson. Know I need to study more and do things differently the next time.

Dear Father, please help me to make good choices both as a parent and as your child. Help me to honor you in all things, and help me to train this precious soul you've placed in my keeping and to encourage him to love you. Help me Father to allow Him room to chose you for himself and not because I chose you for him. Be with me Father and help me to be the Mama You want me to be, and to glorify You in all things. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Four Letter Word...Hope

I haven't written much since the beginning of the year and once again it's because we have dealt with a longer period of high pain levels. I can say that the last 4 weeks have been better, but the battle with pain is constant. It is only through the power of prayer that I have pushed through each day. It has meant that we as a family have had some hard times because it is incredibly hard to be sweet when the only thing you want to do is bury your head under the pillows and stay in bed.

It is only through hope and faith in God's promises that I've been able to get done the absolutes as Mama and wife. It has been because with each moment there is the belief that God is able to take my pain away either in this life, in his return or in death. It is because hope is such an important part of every moment that I decided to see just how many times the word hope occurs in the Bible. It occurs 167 times in 159 verses in the NIV version of the Bible. It occurs 18 times in the book of Job, 31 times in the Psalms, 10 times in Proverbs, 7 times in Jeremiah, and 9 times in the book of Acts. When you take a look at where the word is used most frequently it is in times of pain or trials. When Job and his friends are talking Job questions why he still hopes and his friends question if he has enough faith in his hope. In Lamentations 3:19-33, Jeremiah offers up this prayer:

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.

He reminds us that God wants only good for those who love him and obey his will. He reminds the people that though they have been torn from their homes that God has not forgotten them. It is so often through suffering that God allows us to minister to others. It gives us a perspective on the pain others feel. It helps us to know how someone might be best helped during periods of grief or isolation. So yes, we can be thankful for the tough times. They bring us to our knees which is where we are closest to the Father. It refines our character and makes us better for the pain or trial we've endured. Hope is a four letter word that should be at the very center of who we are, for it is only through hope that we can get through the moments, days, weeks, and years of suffering. May we find strength in knowing we serve a God who hears each heart felt plea and stores our tears in a bottle. He is not blind to our pain and there is joy to be found in the comfort he sends our way.

Are we keeping our eyes and heart open for the answers and comfort he sends? If we fill our hearts with bitterness, then we will lose sight of the joy and comfort that can be found in even our darkest moments. It may come in the form of an article we read, a smile, someone who has been there and listens, and it can come from jumping in water puddles after the rain. It may come in quick hugs and “normal” conversations and it comes in the form of prayers being prayed by many that we don't even know.

It has been all of these things that have seen us through this last 6 months. It's been cards received in the mail, and the recalling of scripture hidden in my heart. We thank you as a family for all you do for us. For those of you who I've never met yet you read my blog, you to have been a source of encouragement. When I'm house bound and unable to teach in a class setting, you allow me to continue to carry out the command to teach. It helps me to feel useful to the kingdom even when I sit alone at home in the dark.

The last four weeks have also restored a portion of hope. To be able to get out in the sunshine and to spend time with my boys away from the house has been medicine to my soul. It has been a blessing to celebrate another triple shot of blessings that come from Agape's Run For a Mom, Mother's Day, and Gotcha Day celebrations. It is being able to be at church surrounded by both my physical and spiritual family while my sweet boy presents a lesson that he put together without my help. It has reminded me that each day holds blessings without number, and that I can conquer the blows that the Deceiver sends my way because God hears and answers prayer.

May your day..life be filled with hope in the knowledge that God does care and He is with us. In all things may we bring honor and glory to the Father, amen.
Consider the Lilies