January 2010

This post is dedicated to my good friend and a SUPER-GREAT Mama, Amanda.

How many times have you yelled and yelled and yelled at your kid? You regret it—although you are still fuming about his behavior, your behavior and the whole situation. Then, as you send him off to school and he walks out he door he offers a boisterous:

I love you mama!!

Again, you’re still in a sour mood over the situation. Your day is ruined because not only did it get off to a bad start, but you keep beating yourself up because, once again, you feel that you are indeed a bad mom.

I love you mama!!

You continue to flog this dead horse because in your mind and heart, the issue is NOT resolved. Wait! You’re supposed to to be mad at me too! But Grace comes in. You recall the jubilant, parting words of your little dear:

I love you mama!!

Do we teach our children how to NOT forgive? When they are so little they do indeed love us unconditionally. It’s nature—we don’t teach them to turn the other cheek. But they do.

I love you mama!!

I remember being angry at my dad for days after his tyrants. Maybe it was when I was older (late grade school) and had learned how to hold a grudge. Well, he’d taught me how to do it—right? That could be. But do I want to teach my child that? I want him to stay pure and forgiving. So I know I better take a step back and be a lot more careful.

And that’s where the Grace of God and the Grace of the Child comes in. Do our children teach us and remind us how to forgive?

I love you mama!!

I love you mama!!

I love you mama!!

I love you, sweetheart!


January 2009 I challenged you to choose a New Year’s Resolution Song.

Again, I encourage you to choose a song that will guide you through the 2010 year.

I really like this idea. I knew the time was coming for a new song. I have been praying and listening—to songs and to God. What will be my help this year? What will be my guide? I mostly listen to Christian music, so it’s a natural that my song will focus on God.

I have been so moved this past year by the group The David Crowder Band. Especially the album “Remedy.” I kept thinking/wanting that my 2010 song has to be a Crowder song.

Don’t you love it when God hits you from more then one angle regarding the same topic?! Don’t you love when you and God are on the same page?!

I now know that my 2010 song is “Remedy” by The David Crowder Band. It speaks to me personally (in my own struggles and hope) and it calls me to move out in to God’s world. It is a help toward the solutions all around.

I struggle a lot with being a stay at home mom. I dreamed of this vocation. I asked God for this vocation. But, I am not as good at this vocation as I dreamed I would be. I am very selfish and it shows in the bad habits I use in my parenting.

Yup. God is hitting me from many angles:
#1 The Prequel: 29 Gifts
#2 “Remedy” by The David Crowder Band
#3 The Sequel: Proverbs & I Peter 3: 8-12

Last December I signed on to an activity called 29 Gifts. The Challenge is your opportunity to cultivate a mindful practice of stepping outside your own story for a few seconds each day by serving others.

29 Gifts helps you to focus away from your struggles—in an effort to bring you healing—while reviving the giving spirit in the world. We can change lives—and change the world—one gift at a time. (The gift can be money, food, old sweaters, smiles, a hug, your time, kind words or thoughts.)

I joined this activity because I love to give people things out of the blue. You never know what kind of battle someone may be fighting and how far a small act of kindness can really take a person. I also needed to move outside of the 4 walls of my home and my negative thinking that I am so put upon by the very children I asked God to gift me with. I was feeling trapped. I needed this outlet so that I could give properly and unselfishly to my own children/family. I am going to do a second round of 29 Gifts.

And then God did it again!

First, my 5 year old was introduced to the golden rule at school: “Do on to others as you would have them do to you.” It really is a golden rule. It is a great mantra to live by.

Next, I have this magnet on my fridge. I know you’ve heard it before.

Respect Children: They are wonderful people.
Don’t hit me. TEACH ME what you want.
Don’t ignore me. HUG ME all you can.
Don’t yell at me. SHOW ME a better way.

Then God stepped in and reiterated these ideas with HIS original ideas.
In Proverbs 15:1 God teaches us

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

And again, in verse 13 God instructs,

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”

And—not really last, as I am sure God has so much more to teach me—God opened my heart more by showing me I Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love as brothers, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not return evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

These are great words of truth for withIN and withOUT your four walls.

Oh, and one more thing: Two Sundays back in church, one of the leaders preached about embracing a new kind of new years’ resolution: “To be a blessing to others.”

Wow! God, you’re coming in loud and clear. Amen! You said it. Of course God said it. God started it all and man put it in to his own words. But God came back around (to me anyway) and reminded me of God’s teachings and the only way to live a happy life and bring the kingdom to earth!

Let us be the remedy. Let us be open to being the remedy. Please, join me.

The David Crowder Band Official Site http://www.davidcrowderband.com/

29-Day Giving Challenge
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker (Author)

My hubby and 11 yr old daughter spent 12 days in Taiwan.

Friends and acquaintances would inquire how I was doing caring for the two cave boys on my own. In some ways I felt that I was on vacation. It amazed me. I did not expect what did occur to happen.

It was a huge relief to have two less people vying for my attention. My stress level went way down. Sure I had to pick up a few more chores (3), but I knew the chores would get done. I did not have to prod my daughter or hubby.

The boys were totally reliant on me. My knowing that was in an odd way, a stress-release. While my hubby is around I often hope for him to pick up some slack in the child care area. I could not arm chair parent or look the other way, hoping that “Dad will get this one.” (You know you all do it. Parenting is tiring.)

I have high expectations. I rely greatly on agreed upon roles as well as non-verbal signals that try to tell my hubby “I just need a little break” or as I said, “Could you get this one?”

I’m glad for school to start up—glad for the routines to be back in place. And now, I have to re-set my expectations and readjust my stress barrier.

(I truly write this in fun. I’m not trying to pat myself on the shoulder or brag about how wonderful I am. It IS an epiphany, but it is also reality in my home and I know I have to tune myself to find the happiness in it.)

Every parent dreams of the time when their child reaches the level of self-entertainment: well-behaved, quietly playing on their own.

But parents be aware. There is such a thing as “too quiet.” Just when you think you are getting 5 Minute’s peace, it comes back to bite you . . . . . .

Jacob, 14 months later--tooth finally had to be pulled

Lost Tooth
Nov 15, 2008
Jacob was running ON the kitchen counters, fell hitting his teeth on the floor and out popped a front tooth with it’s root. The dentist met us at the office (on a Saturday) and pushed the tooth back in.

16 herbs & spices

Air Freshener
Nov 18 & 25, 2008 (yes, twice!)
The boys breached the security of the kitchen. 16 herbs and spices smell nice and pretty.

Zachary, what did you do?!!

Green/Brown Boy
April 8, 2009
“Mom, Zachary colored on himself!” calls out big brother. I’ll say!!

Oh nooooooo!

Blue Boy or Equal Time
May 1, 2009
“Mom, Jacob colored on himself!” calls out little brother. Argh!

Oh yes, he remembered to color his eyes AND ears AND mo–uth AND nose, head, shoulders, knees AND toes, knees AND toes!

So, the next time you think about sneaking away for 5 Minutes, consider the following:

They liked the decorating. They liked walking in their new footwear . . . for 5 Minutes.

Those of you thinking about trying this with your kiddos, there are two things you should know:
#1 the openings in the tissue boxes hurt your legs
#2 depending on the child, the boxes are not very sturdy

Where the Wild Things Are

Zachary's wild feet

Jacob's wild feet

Zachary has always been a text book baby/child. Since 3 months before his third birthday, he has definitely been a true Three-Year-Old. Lots of emotional ups and downs. More temper tantrums then one would care to remember. Exhibiting very bad as well as very good behavior. Much, too much whining. The three-year-old stage is very challenging. (Twos are over rated, threes, under rated.)

Zachary has been the one you go to when you were having a bad day. He always wore a contagious smile and would voice just as contagious a laugh. He had extremely pleasant manners and was always kind.

When Zachary hit the three year stage . . . not as much.

I am sure it is as hard for him as it is for us.

But, we are still gifted with the sweetness and kindness of Zachary. I know that the “good” boy is going to win out!!

We use our kids as alarm clocks. We sleep until they come and get us. And to no avail, they will come and get us—no later than 7:30. (I know, a luxury compared to some.) They will not quietly play upon waking. I think that the boys think, if they are up, mom and dad should be up. It works though.

This morning my sweet Zachary appeared at my bedside to tell me he was awake and ready for breakfast. As I was righting myself, he said, “Here mom. Here is your headband and your glasses. I’ll get them.”

He has never done that before.

You see. That sweet, “good” boy is still inside.

I was touched by his thoughtfulness. I more so welcomed his awareness that mom dons these two items upon waking. Zachary has always been quite observant and aware of his surroundings. That has taken a back seat as of late.

I was so pleased to know that all of those favorable qualities are still within Zachary.

On a side note:
As of late, it been tough rearing the two cave boys. They have been quite selfish, argumentative, competitive, knit-pickers, and mean. It’s hard to accept that. Every parent wants their child to be “good.” ONLY. PERIOD.

God has been telling me to chill out. It is yet, another phase. I know that they are good boys. They are still very young. They’ll get there. They’ll put it all together—properly!

To be tangibly reassured of that is what I needed with Zachary’s wake up call this morning.

Thank you, Zachary.

Thank you, God.

(December 30, 2009)