November 2010


I always thought that I was a pretty good multi-tasker.  I was always able to multi-task in school, and even in my occupation after graduating college.  Doing one thing at a time seemed, well, boring.  Give me a challenge.

Even in the early days of being a mommy I was all about the multi-tasking.  Feeding the baby while reading, or while cooking was a daily occurrence.  There is just so little time in each day, why not maximize that time?

Well, lately I have been pondering on how nice it might be  to ditch all of that and simply outsource….everything.   My daily tasks, taken independently of all else, are for the most part enjoyable.  I love to cook…without little people pulling on me or requiring my attention.  I don’t mind cleaning and doing laundry.  I like the order that results from such activities…without the distraction or inconvenience of other lives requiring my attention.

I know, I know…I’m not painting a very pretty picture right now.  I’m not trying to.  I am simply being transparent.

Let’s face it, children are inconvenient.  That doesn’t me we don’t love them, or are grateful for them, but anytime our lives are interrupted by another, it is inconvenient.

Lately I think about those people who outsource various aspects of their daily lives.  Hiring personal chefs.  Employing a cleaning lady.  Even outsourcing the raising of their children to daycare.  Part of me can see the lure.

I would love to spend most of my day making gourmet meals, but to do so would require my children be occupied by someone else.

I would love for my house to be spotless all the time, but that would necessitate, my children being out of the house 90% of the day.

I would love to have hours of uninterrupted time to read with my children, play games with them and home school them, but that would require a cook and a maid, and a diaper changer.

Daily life can be boring, tedious.  As moms, it is easy to sometimes question whether there is more to life than this.  A whole day can pass without much visible productivity.

I am coming to terms with the fact that my life is not going to get simpler.  Sure, I can set up systems to create a more orderly life, but as the kids get older, and as more kids come, like gets more and more messy.

The challenge is to focus on the essentials, within the chaos.  It is so easy to get caught up on the urgent, while missing the important.  When the day ends, I may have a pristine house, after a gourmet meal, but my children may have been largely neglected.  Or, the house may need some tidying, and dinner may have been cereal, but my energy was poured into the building of my children’s characters.  It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other, a happy medium can be reached, but a choice does have to be made.

Where will I place the greatest importance?  Would my children confirm the values I claim, based on the way I spend my day?

 

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On December 13, 1621 the very first Thanksgiving occurred in the United States; a three-day feast was held by the Pilgrims.  Today, millions across the country, many who otherwise live ungrateful lives will sit down to a “Thanksgiving” meal.  Many today will take time to reflect on the things they are thankful for, things they ordinarily take for granted.

It is good to be reminded of the need to be grateful.  Life is so busy, and it is so easy to go through life griping at the small inconveniences rather than expressing gratitude for the small and great blessings in our lives.

My question for you today is: To whom are you thankful?

Thanksgiving is such a generic day in our time, but it did not start out as such.  Here is one of the gaps in our public school system.

As elementary schoolers across the country dressed up like indians and pilgrims this week, with those funny hats and feathers, how many heard of the true reason behind Thanksgiving.

My recollection of those days was that the Pilgrims were grateful to the Indians for their help.  But is that really the case?

How many kids are reading accounts, like this from Pilgrim Edward Wilson, who was present at that first thanksgiving feast:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as… served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WE ARE… FAR FROM WANT.”

Today, as you think and say things like, ‘I’m thankful for family and friends,’ to whom are you thankful?

So often we say we are thankful, as if it is to some random force out there.  We offer thanks up into the air.

But we know that when we receive a gift, there is a giver.

As you reflect on your thankfulness today, stop and think about the Giver of all those good things.  There is a Giver, who first gave you life, and subsequently every good experience, every good relationship and person, every good thing in your life.

Do not allow this day to pass without offering thanks, as the Pilgrims did, to the GOD who created you.

If I ever write a book on motherhood, I think I will title it “Mom, interrupted.”  Isn’t that a good description of life once little people enter the picture.  How I long for uninterrupted activities.

An uninterrupted nap

An uninterrupted time to read the Word

An uninterrupted night of sleep (that ends when I want it to end, not prematurely due to early risers)

An uninterrupted time in the morning to shower and get dressed.

Children think that everything revolves around them, so why not interrupt mom?  Despite my best instructions, my best threats, my best explanation for what constitutes an emergency, someone is bound to think that their scenario is a legitimate reason to interrupt mom.

“Kids, go play in your room while I take my shower and get dressed”

“okay mommy” they bound off…only to hear, ‘knock, knock’  ‘mooooommmmmmyyyyyyy?  annabella has the book, and I want the book, but she took the book, etc etc etc’

They try, I will give them that…and some of them try harder then others.  It is evident in comments like, ‘mommy, I know your taking a nap, buuuuuuuttttttttttt…”

I always say it’s a good thing they are so cute, because from day 1 they are demanding you give up sleep to feed and change them, and the demands don’t stop.  If I didn’t like ’em so much, we could have a problem.

I know there will come a day when these little ones aren’t so little anymore, and their dependance upon mommy lessens, and they eventually leave home and create their own households…I am certain that at that time I will miss all of these little interruptions…but between now and then, I’d just like to take a nap without being needed.

So my 4-year-old injured herself yesterday.  I have accepted that she may be our “ER child.”  You know, the one always getting injured, always requiring a doctor, necessitating visits to the ER.  In April she fell off her bike and suffered a ‘buckle fracture’ on her right wrist.  Well, yesterday while she was helping me roll out pretzel dough, she leaned too far and caused her chair to slip from underneath her.  She went down with a loud crash, fracturing her other wrist.  Same deal, other side.

Poor kid.

She’s a champ though.  She did well with the X-rays, although she’s a veteran at that by now.  Tomorrow we get her arm cast.  Dark purple is her color of choice this time around.

So, she went down with a crash and said her arm hurt.  I’m never one to overreact.  If anything, I’m guilty of under-reacting.  Initially unconvinced that this was anything major, and with toddler mouths to feed (it was lunch time), and half a batch of pretzels already in the oven, I had her sit on the couch with some ice on her arm.

I went back and forth between her and the kitchen for a while as I boiled and salted the next batch of pretzels, and removed the cooked ones from the oven.  I set up #2 and #3 at the kitchen table with their food, as the monkeys were getting restless, and snuggled up next to Abigail, stroking her hair.

I figured this is a good a time as any to give her some theology, and start to cement in her mind a doctrine of suffering.  The last thing I wanted from this scenario was for her to think that God was mad at her, was punishing her for something or that God was somehow absent and unable to stop her fall…all of which are just plain wrong.

To my astonishment, she schooled me a bit.

I started with the reminder that God loves her.  I wanted that to be crystal clear in her mind.  No matter what happens, good or bad, God still loves her, and even when bad things happened, those things are BECAUSE He loves her, because it helps her become more like Jesus.

So I asked, ‘you know God loves you right?’

‘yes,’ was her reply, in her whimpering voice.

‘You believe that, right?  Even though you got hurt, you believe God loves you, right?’

And here was her reply…so simple, yet so profound:

‘I don’t believe it, I know it.’

POW!  What a statement.  What a great statement from a 4-year-old.  What a childlike faith, so sure of God’s love, even with a broken arm, for the second time.

How often do we Christians speak about our belief, yet fail to speak about the reality we KNOW.  It may seem like a small difference, but I think it’s a big difference.

We all have beliefs.  Everyone believes something, and everyone likes to talk about how you can believe what you want to believe and I can believe what I want to believe.  But what about when it is beyond belief, into knowledge?

Isn’t that what we have as Christians?

Sure, we believe.  The Bible talks about belief and faith, but I have been walking with the Lord for 8 years now; my faith is beyond a belief.  I have seen God’s faithfulness in my life, I have seen how he was quieted my sometimes out of control temper, has changed my innate harshness towards others, my unloving, uncaring attitude towards many people.  I don’t just believe that He is, I also know that He is.

I know that He is who He says He is because of the evidence in my life.  And that evidence isn’t always visible to others.  My outside was pretty clean compared to most before Christ redeemed me, but my inside (the thoughts and intentions of my heart) were filthy, horrid, wicked.

Many look at the Bible and dismiss it with a snarl because they simply ‘don’t believe the Bible.’  There are many evidences of the Bible being true and accurate, but for someone who has already made up their mind, they will find ways to ignore those evidences.  They don’t believe it, and that’s that.

Imagine a house with a wood burning stove, and a 6-year-old boy.  The caring father takes his son to the stove and explains to him that it is hot and he is not to touch it, as he would be burned.  The boy affirms that he understands.  He believes his father and believes that the stove is hot.  But how long do you think it would be before his curiosity takes over?  Finally, the boy – just to be sure – reaches out and touches that stove, and indeed burns his hand.  His knowledge of the hot stove went from a belief to a knowledge.  He no longer believes, he now knows, because he has experiences the heat.  You could argue until you’re blue in the face, you could never convince the child otherwise.

The same is true for the Christian.  There are many in this country who mentally assent to a belief in God, and even call themselves Christians, but have never experiences His power in the form of conversion.  But for one who has been converted by God’s power, that person has seen and experienced God in a way that words fail to explain.  For a true Christian, they can say with all sincerity of heart that they know there is a God and they know Him.

So, I wonder, next time I am asked about my belief, will I have the boldness of my 4-year-old to say ‘I don’t believe, I know?’

 

I was woken up at 5:38am by the call of my son.  He wanted out of his crib.  I slowly opened my eyes, stumbled out of bed and made my way over to him.  Looking out the window it was still so dark, and COLD.  For a moment I grumbled to myself about how early it was, how cold I was, and how I just wanted to snuggle up under my covers and sleep some more.

I looked at the clock again: 5:38am.  My husband had already been at work for 8 minutes, which means he left our house about 38 minutes ago, which means he was awake about 1 hour and 8 minutes ago.

Suddenly I stopped grumbling!

My dear, devoted husband woke up long before the sunrise, in the bitter cold (some days the snow, some days the rain) to head out to work while his wife continues snoring in bed.

Sure, my sweet slumber (and very bizarre dream about the rapture) was temporarily interrupted, but after all, I was headed back to bed with my boy anyway, to snuggle back under the blanket and drift back off to sleep.

My husband’s time of sleep was long gone, and would not be returning for another 18 hours as he works a double shift on Saturday.

Day in and day out, without complaining, without grumbling, he dutifully and joyfully rises long before his family in order to provide for us.  Some nights he returns home long after the munchkins (and sometimes his wife) are fast asleep…all so that I can be at home with our children.  All so that daycare is a concept our children will never know.  All so that WE can raise our children, and not outsource them to someone else.

Sure, he leaves his socks in the bathroom in the morning, and his work clothes sometimes hang from the stair railings.  I could easily allow such small inconveniences to create bitterness in my heart.  But when I place those little things next to the BIG things he self-sacrifically does for our family day by day, those little things lose all importance.

My 5:38am wake up call reminded me of one important reality in my life…I’ve got a good one!

Being a mama all day to three energetic tiny tots can be quite exhausting.  And with a husband who works many hours, it can be all the more exhausting without that end of the day reinforcement.  So as I finished up dinner tonight with the kiddies, everything in my wanted to hide away with my laptop, and leave them to themselves to do…whatever. But instead, I somehow managed to put ‘me’ aside, and decided to enter into their world.

Up until dinner time, the girls were delighting in the new coloring books they each received  today.  So much so, I had to ask them to put the books down numerous times during dinner.

So while much of me wanted to escape, I decided to delight in what delighted them.  I grabbed some crayons, asked for a page to color, and joined in their fun…and it was fun!  And I could tell that they loved having Mama color with them.

After I finished my pages – tired from completing my masterpiece – I had the privilege of engaging Alexander in two of his favorite activities, tickles and flips.  I smiled and laughed in amusement as he giggled, laughed and squealed in delight as I alternated between tickle torture, and flipping him upside-down….only to hear him say ‘again, again.’

Instead of a stressful evening, selfishly wanting to be left alone and inevitably getting annoyed with them for interrupting my selfish mindset, we all had a delightful evening. Everyone was happy and having fun.  All were smiling and laughing – right up to bedtime, which concluded without fuss.

Why am I so thick-headed sometimes.  What I know to be true still conflicts with what I selfishly want

Time and time again I am reminded that when I act on my selfish desires, everyone is more miserable…me most of all.  All wrapped up in me me me…what I want, my time, my desires, and anything (or anyone) that intrudes on that is a source of frustration and anger.

But, when I give of myself, lay aside my own desires and invest in others, everyone is all the more joyful…including me.

So why is it that I still struggle at times with that tension between selfish desire and unselfish giving?

‘Oh wretched woman that I am, who will save me from this body of death?’

Answer in your mind…when is it okay to grope someone?  When is it okay to grope a stranger?  When is it okay to single out a particular people group to do this to them?

A male touching, groping a woman.  Touching her crotch, cupping her breasts.

An unknown female groping an 8 year old girl, including her crotch.

An unknown female groping a 20 month old baby girl.

Is it okay to do it in public where the multitudes can see?

Is it any better to do it in private?

What would you expect the victim to do during this?  What if you were told that the victim is expected to stand still and willingly accept such treatment?

Are you sufficiently annoyed yet?  Well, this is taking place EVERY DAY in airports around the country…all in the name of security.

If a traveler has the audacity to refuse allowing their naked body to be viewed while going through a full body scanner, (additionally exposing themselves to radiation), then a shout of “WE HAVE AN OPT OUT” is bellowed, and that passenger is then expected to allow a stranger, even one of the opposite sex, to molest them as they do a “full pat down”, including the touching of your genitals and breasts, patting, touching, squeezing all included.

Feedback from the traveling public indicates that predominately it is women, children and the handicap who are being “randomly” selected for the full body scan, therefore setting them up to be violated one was or another.  (what pervert wouldn’t want this job??)

What would you do if it was  your 8 year old, or your 20 month old being molested by some stranger?  How do you teach a child proper and improper touch when they are expected to allow some stranger to improperly touch them at an airport.

If this took place in the street, cuffs would be put on and charges would be filed.  Child molester would be the title given to the pervert.  If a parent did this to a child, that parent would deserve child abuse charges, yet we are expected to willingly and compliant allow our government to do this.

We are told that this is for the greater good.  Well, what about my good, and my child’s good?  I’m supposed to endure molestation, or permit a stranger to molest my child all for the greater good?  Are you kidding me?

Is this really enhancing our national security?  Or is this another way the government is slowly taking our personal, private rights away.  These steps towards socialism are going unnoticed by the masses.

I can say with some certainty that I’d likely end up in jail…for punching someone.  Sir, Madam, if you touch my child, I will take you down!

It is time for the masses to rise up and voice their opinions.  It’s time to STOP acting like robots, following what Big Brother says is for our good, and start using the God given brains we all have.  Clean out the cobwebs, and start forming our own opinions.  Come on America.

Husband/father, if you would allow some man or woman to touch your wife or child in this way, SHAME ON YOU!  Stand up and protect your family!  Protect the modesty and purity of your wife and little girls.  Protect the purity of your sons.

It is completely baffling how people are not causing a great stink over this. Molestation is taking place in public, in plain sight, every single day, yet because the molester wears a fancy TSA uniform, it’s accepted as normal.

Read/listen to some of the accounts, and get outraged!

Flight attendants

A passengers story

A women with children

Rewarding perversion

 

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