Monday, July 28, 2008

The Reward For Time Well Spent

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. – Psalm 127:3

My project this week is staining my back deck. I worked on it all day Saturday and didn’t even finish the railing.

Granted, it is a very large deck, but what took so much time was slowly and carefully painting around each metal spindle, then wiping off the redwood stain that mistakenly ended up on the black poles. The tedious work required a steady hand, a keen eye, a strong dose of patience and attention to detail. Kind of like mothering.

When I get sloppy as a mom, I notice my kids don’t shine in their usual ways. When I get lazy, I let sassy talk slide, I give undue life to negative attitudes, and I leave my kids to figure things out for themselves when I really should give them guidance instead.

But when I am purposeful and intentional in the way I raise my children, they behave better, are more obedient, and frankly more fun to be around. I enjoy being a mom more when I take the time to do a good job with it, just like I know my family will enjoy our deck once I’ve finished taking my time with it.

In what ways do you notice your behavior affecting your kids?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Making It On Her Own

I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. – 2 Corinthians 7:4

This morning I dropped Lauren off at her first day of Girl Scout Camp. She didn’t know any of the other girls there, and I could tell she was nervous because my little talker was suddenly very quiet. Despite her nerves, however, she confidently found a spot to sit and got busy working on a craft. As I walked away, I knew she would be fine.

On the journey from birth to adulthood, kids develop and practice their independence in different ways and in a variety of settings. Some of these are scary for us moms, but some feel like the right step toward greater maturity and responsibility for our children.

The risky ones get a lot of attention. We fret and worry and confide in our girlfriends when our children take steps that make us uncomfortable. The easy ones, however, seem to get lost in the shuffle of daily life. We don't always recognize that feeling comfortable when letting go of our children is a true mark of development as a mom.

I challenge you to celebrate your own growth as a mom the next time you find peace in your child’s budding independence. It is a big deal for both of you! Congratulations!

If your child has found a new level of self sufficiency this summer, share your story with us.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Glad This Isn’t Renaissance England

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High – Psalm 9:2

This 4th of July weekend, I had an unusual opportunity to gain a new appreciation for American life by comparing modern day festivities with those of historic England.

On Friday, July 4, my husband and I took our kids to a holiday celebration in the town where we live. We met up with some friends and the kids enjoyed bouncing in inflatables, playing games, and listening to live music while face painters and balloon twisters worked nearby. When it got dark, fireworks danced across the sky, choreographed to fit with the accompaniment of patriotic songs, including “God Bless America” and “God Bless the USA.”

Not only did we have a wonderful time, but I was filled with thanksgiving over having the opportunity to celebrate both my God and my country openly and publicly in a government-sponsored event at our Town Hall.

The following day, we went to the Colorado Renaissance Festival. The step back in time to the days of knights, nobility, and tournament jousting was enthralling. Alyssa was enchanted by the long, pretty dresses. Lauren liked the swords and the different games of skill.

And while we had just as much fun at the Festival as we did at the 4th of July celebration, I couldn’t help but notice the stark difference between the two lifestyles.

I am grateful that I don’t have a king trying to fight for God’s place in my life. While I don’t always agree with the way our government spends tax dollars, I am pleased the money isn’t used for jousting tournaments. I am thankful I can wear comfortable, sanitary clothes rather than dresses that skim the dirty ground all day. I am blessed to live comfortably without having to work a messy, backbreaking job just to scrape by. The life of a medieval washerwoman, for example, is a far cry from today’s dry cleaner.

Most of all, I am glad to live in a time and place I can be proud of. I am happy my children call this country home. Despite its issues and difficulties, I consider it a blessing to live in the United States of America.

Unlike the women of renaissance England, I can worship God whenever and however I want. I have the opportunity to change my circumstances through ingenuity and hard work without needing the permission of the president or anyone else. And best of all, I can gather with my family and friends in public to celebrate our good fortune.

God bless this country and the service men and women who fight to keep us free.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is Your Brain Connected to Your Body?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

For the past two weeks, my oldest daughter, Lauren, has been participating in a gymnastics camp. She has never taken a true gymnastics class before, and I decided that she really needed to learn how to do a cartwheel before entering the third grade in August. Of course, her sister and I tried to teach her, but the fact that we can both do cartwheels can’t make up for our “mom” and “little sister” status. Surely, we don’t know what we are talking about. I decided to send her to a professional.

When I signed Lauren up for camp, I told the coach, “My only goal for this is to get her cartwheeling!” He assured me he would work with her, but as the days passed, I wasn’t seeing the progress I hoped for.

Yesterday, the coach pulled me aside and told me he’d figured out the problem. “She’s left-sided,” he said, “but she wants to be right-sided. Her brain and her body aren’t on the same page.”

This must be a genetic trait because my brain and body rarely work in sync. My head knows it is time to write, but my body won’t sit still in the chair. My heart knows I need to spend time in prayer, but my mind wanders off on its own agenda.

Thankfully, God understands this weakness, and when push comes to shove, He strengthens my mind and body so they can work together to accomplish His purposes as He sees fit. Do you think His purpose includes cartwheels?