Friday, October 30, 2009

Hello Sunshine!

I love that the Bible tells us Mary treasured things in her heart about Jesus's early years. When God feels it is important to mention that in His word, I realize that He understands the heart of a mother.

One of my treasured memories is from the hospital stay at the birth of my firstborn. My husband was but a lowly med student back then and carried no clout in the hospital. He decided that he wanted to take our new daughter for a walk only he didn't realize, although she was his daughter, he couldn't just scoop her up and walk around with her.

I was napping when the nurse came in. She glanced around the room and saw the empty bassinet. "Where is the baby?" she snapped.

I explained that she was fine; my husband had her. The nurse turned on her heel and I heard the door whoosh closed behind her.

Moments later, the nurse returned with the baby, rewrapped her blanket, put her in the bassinet and pushed the baby, bassinet and all back to the nursery.

My husband then returned, red-faced, and stated, "It is time to take our baby home!"

I was alarmed until I heard the whole story. It was a treasure to be kept in my heart.

My husband is a nature lover. He noticed the beautiful sunset when he arrived to see us that evening and he decided that he wanted to show his daughter. He scooped her out of the bassinet. This was a big deal as only 24 short hours before he was afraid to hold her.

He cradled her in his arms and walked to the picture window at the end of the hall. There he was holding our daughter up to "see" the sunset -- her first sunset and talking to her about all the wonderful things they would explore together as she grew up.

This of course was where the nurse found them. She did not appreciate the sunset or this precious bonding time. She had hospital rules and insurance guidelines to follow.

Before the baby was born, my husband and I had fears about whether we would be good parents. I still wasn't sure about me, but I knew then that my husband was already a great dad.

Music Window

Have you ever wanted a window into your child's heart? Try listening to music--their music.

Being raised in the 70's, I remember the music battles. Most parents from my generation said at least ten time a week, "Turn that racket down!" I decided to take a different approach with my young adults.
Check out my article at , Heart of the Matter {online}, a site dedicated to bridging the gap between parent and child. I am new contributor for this online magazine.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Halloween Costume

Each year I struggled to come up with cute, creative costumes for my kids at Halloween. The year that my oldest entered kindergarten, I learned that not only was she to dress up for a class party, but the school would hold a parade in the community and all of the elementary school children would get to "show off" their costumes.

The pressure was on. I wandered through the fabric store with a five-year-old and a two- year-old in tow, praying for inspiration. I am not very creative and I don't sew.

I came up with the perfect solution. I would turn my little girl into a big red M&M. How hard could that be? I loaded up on red felt, thread and white iron on fabric for the letters.

I didn't bother to buy the pattern for the costume. My husband was in residency and I wanted to save the money. I would just wing it.

It was harder than I thought to cut the circle out the right "size". I had my daughter lay on the floor as I measured. I finally got it cut out, sewn together and then I added the final touch - the white cutout M&M letters.

The big day came and my daughter was pretty cute with her white tights and red candy costume. The only problem was that it was a bit flat. M&M candies should be plump. I hadn't planned for this so I used the first thing to come to mind: toilet paper.

I drove her to school and then as we stood beside the car, I began stuffing wadded up toilet paper in through the armholes and neck hole. She was all plumped up and I sent her off to her classroom as a fat,waddling M&M.

I gathered with the other proud parents along the parade route, camera in hand. Here came the kids. Princesses, pirates, super heroes and a variety of animals came streaming out the school steps. I saw my daughter's class coming along the sidewalk. She was between a beautiful princess and Luke Skywalker. She was having a little trouble walking in her outfit.

They made the loop around the playground and headed back toward the school. That was when I learned that my choice of stuffing was not a good one. Toilet paper began coming out the leg holes of the costume. With every waddling step the paper trailed further and further along the parade route.

Proud parents were pointing and waving. They would ask each other, "Which one is your child?"

I could easily have pointed out mine by saying, "Oh, the one with the toilet paper streaming behind her for a block," but I didn't have to. She waved at us and her little sister in the stroller hollered back.

I vowed that the next year I would buy a costume - not matter what it cost.

Monday, October 19, 2009

For My Mommy Told Me So

I overheard my two-year-old daughter belting out, "Jesus loves me, this I know...". I peeked into her room to see her rocking a favorite doll energetically in the same rocker we often sat in together at bedtime.

The next line caught me off guard as she continued, "...for my mommy told me so."

Her new version of the old children's hymn gave me a shiver. Jesus loves me this I KNOW for my MOMMY TOLD ME SO. She was sure Jesus loved her, because I told her so.

Little eyes are watching us and little ears are listening to us in our homes. That is a huge responsibility. There are days I want to take a vacation or leave of absence when it comes to being a role model for my children. Moms don't have that luxury.

Our little ones take in our every mood, response, and choice of television show. I have known for a long time now that our children learn what they see and experience more than what we tell them.

I am glad that my daughter heard me say, like the song, "Jesus loves you ." More importantly, I hope that she experiences it through my patience, integrity, untiring love and transparent prayers with her. I hope that I can honestly say:

Follow my example
as I follow the example of Christ.
I Cor. 11:1

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bud Light, Anyone?

My husband and I got away for the weekend when he had a business conference. We left our four children with his parents. Although we celebrated our son's fifth birthday before we left, the grandparents celebrated again while we were on our trip.

We called and talked to each of the kids. When we talked to our son he excitedly told us all about his birthday party at the grandparents.

"And I got presents!" he said. "I got a Bud Light!"

Okay. I asked three more times and he kept repeating that his grandparents gave him a Bud Light for his birthday.

"Can you put Nana on the phone? I need to talk to her."

My son received a Buzz Lightyear for his birthday--complete with flashing lights and sounds, batteries included.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Training of New Fathers

We were married four years before we had children. We enjoyed a spontaneous lifestyle before kids, jumping up to join friends at a restaurant or take the dog for a walk at the park.

After our first daughter was born, my husband would get the idea that I needed to get out and he'd suggest a matinee movie--with thirty minutes notice. He'd get ready and be waiting at the back door, clueless as to why I wasn't ready to roll.

After three weekends of missed movies, I decided it was time for Dad Training. I showed him the diaper bag and the carrier and the juice bottles. It wasn't that he didn't want to help, he just wasn't a nurturer by nature.

He didn't understand what all it took to get the baby ready for an outing. I had to teach him how to help me get the baby, the diaper bag and all the gear out the door.

We finally became a pretty good team as I fed and changed the baby and he loaded the diaper bag. A little communication and Dad Training turned a potentially explosive situation into an afternoon we both enjoyed.

...rather, speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in every way
into him who is the head, into Christ...
Eph. 4:15 ESV

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Never Say Never

The downstairs toilet in our rent house was plugged. It had not worked in two weeks. The landlord sent a repairman. He said it was fixed.

It wasn't. I called the landlord again and he sent the repairman, again. This time he cleaned out the drain trap outside. "Should work fine, Ma'am!"

It didn't. This time the landlord came with the repairman and a plumbing crew of four men. They must have been training new plumbers or something. I've never had more than two at a time since then. The head plumber looked at my two small daughters and suggested that they may have put something down the toilet.

"Not my kids!" I boasted. After all, my kids didn't do things like that.

That makes six men standing around my small yard as they hauled our toilet out of the bathroom and onto the lawn. They rolled it around to check the porcelain bowl from all angles. The head plumber lay sideways on the ground and as he peered into the toilet, asked, "Does one of your kids own a pink bunny toothbrush?"

"Well, yes, they used to, until.....a few weeks ago."

The plumber trainees and the repairman looked up at the trees or at their feet -- anywhere but at me. I don't know where the landlord was looking; I was not looking at him.

The chief plumber stood up and handed me the toothbrush. Yep, I recognized it.

"Thank you." What else does one say when they are handed a pink bunny toothbrush. Surely he didn't think we'd still use it.

I learned a huge lesson this day--never say never when it comes to kids, toilets and life in general. On the other hand, maybe it was the neighbor's kid!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Living Words

One of my children was excited to start reading the Bible without help. He planned to start at the beginning and read straight through. This child looked around and lowered his and assured me of one thing. "Don't worry, Mom. When I get to Song of Solomon, I promise I won't read it."

I really don't tell our kids not to read certain parts of the Bible. On the contrary, I tell them every word in the scripture is incredible.

My children have often heard me when I climb on my soapbox and wave dramatically at our bookshelves. "See these books? They are great but they are nothing-- just dry dust--compared to the Bible, God's Word! The Bible is not like any other book in any library anywhere. Every word in the Bible is alive and active."

For the Word of God is living and active....Heb. 4:12 NIV