Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But what about those times when we aren't aware that we are "teaching"? Those are the moments that make me squirm a little.
Greg and I had an argument several weeks ago. That's a rare thing for us, believe it or not. We are both "first-born" at heart (Greg is actually a middle child, but since his older brother is 8 years older, he has his fair share of "first" traits!), and for several years into our marriage we made a hobby out of arguing. I'm not exceptionally proud of that, but it made for cheap entertainment, I guess!
Since our children rarely hear us argue, they became very frustrated by our recent spat. We explained our "issue" to them, and they promptly told us that it was a stupid thing to fight about, and that Max Lucado had a Hermie movie about silly fights. Apparently ours won the "silly" award, and they were not impressed by our behavior. After some discussion and apologies, the case was closed, but in my mind the effects of our outburst lingered. Although I want my children to know that a certain amount of friction in a marriage is healthy, I also want them to understand that loving husbands and wives do not treat each other in unloving ways. We will have to keep working on that one!
But think about all of the things we do (or don't do) each day that are teachable. When Greg gets up at 5:30 in the morning (after usually getting to bed quite late), he shows our children a couple of things: first of all, as a man he is providing for his family. If he doesn't work, we don't eat. Part of his obedience to God and love for us is exhibited through his work ethic, and I'm thankful that God has given me a man who is willing to work, and willing to teach our children the value of work.
When we shower, brush our teeth, and put on clean clothes, we are teaching our children that we are to take care of our bodies because they are God's temples. We are His "poster children", and it's important to be a good representatives of Christ.
As we work in the yard and attempt to take care of our home, we are instilling a healthy level of pride and stewardship. We tell the kids that God has given us this place for this time, and we will do our best by it and be very thankful for the shelter He has provided.
When the kids see us diligently attempt to keep our bills paid, make wise financial decisions, and give to those in need, they learn to be generous. They may be hesitant at first, but once they feel the joy and fulfillment of giving, they are hooked. And once they understand that money does not grow on trees (the big guys in Washington haven't gotten the memo on that one yet), they temper the begging and greed.
When we gather in our living room with our Bibles, or meet with other believers in our church on Sunday, we teach the importance of worshiping our Almighty God...and our children know of our love for this act by our attitude toward the act itself (drudgery, excuses, excitement, commitment), as well as our attitude toward those with whom we worship (ouch!). How easy it is to carry out the mandates of God or the church and be empty of the love and grace they really require! Our kids aren't fooled by our attempts.
The moments are teaching...and the list really never ends. Each twist and turn in our day teaches our children something. Realistically, we can't ever brush off an incident without realizing that there will be a residual effect, for better or worse.
"Dear God...please make my motives pure and my attitudes right. Help me to control the words that leave my mouth and the thoughts that cross my mind. May I portray to little eyes the importance of being real and being Yours. Amen."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
December 1999 - teaching full time...began Christmas shopping in earnest exactly 2 weeks after having 1st baby via c-section, then fulfilled all of the holiday festivities, gatherings, etc. approximately 2 weeks later.
December 2000 - the year of Y2K...also was 9 mos. pregnant and had 13 month old baby boy who had not yet learned to walk...still teaching every day.
December 2001 - had 25 month old, 11 month old, and was 4 weeks pregnant and didn't know it...miscarried one month later...teaching 5 days.
December 2002 - need to look at pics to remember what was going on then...teaching three days, taking care of 3 and 1 year-old, doing a complete house remodel on a fixer-upper.
December 2003 - teaching at least 3 days, taking care of 4 and 2 year-old, 7 mos. pregnant.
December 2004 - enjoying my baby girl (7 mos.) and two toddler boys (5 and 3), teaching kindergarten 3 days.
December 2005 - back to teaching 5 days, taking care of 19 month Kaitlynn and 4 year old Evan, while Ryan was in 1st grade full time.
December 2006 - working on grad degree, teaching kindergarten 3 days...Kaitlynn 2 yrs., Evan in kindergarten, and Ryan in 2nd grade. Relative peace and quiet...not for long!
December 2007 - teaching full time again, trying to balance my grad classes, Allison 4 weeks old, Kait 3 years, Evan in 1st grade, and Ryan in 3rd. Once again, stretching that incision with every light that was hung! Ugh!
December 2008 - Oh, the busyness of the season! Little Alli was quite mobile, but very good at keeping her tiny fingers off of the decor...teaching 5 days...feeling overwhelmed...
(I think I've found a pattern here...now that we're done having kids, maybe we can relax and enjoy them!)
2009 - totally determined to take the time to savor the season! School program out of the way Dec. 1st. 1st family gathering Dec. 12th. 2nd one on Dec. 25th. 3rd one on Dec. 31st. Two full weeks of vacation!!! Toddler potty trained!!! So, what's not to enjoy?
(Although this post may seem a little wierd to you, it was quite therapeutic for me...Merry Christmas!)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Like many other moms, my mom sometimes struggles to find the "perfect" gifts for her grown kids. She told me that I am extremely difficult person for which to buy gifts...I told her that I get it from her. :) The easy route would be for her to either give us a gift card or hand us cash (useful but not very creative!), but she enjoys Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, and the element of surprise involved. She always does a great job, and this year was no exception.
After we were finished with the traditional time of gift-giving, mom gathered the kids and gave them instructions regarding the beginning of a new Christmas tradition...a "dollar hunt" for the grandkids. She "hid" 50 $1 bills in the living room (being careful not to hide anything too high), and the kids were to bring them to her, one at a time, as they found them. She would then divide them up evenly and distribute them at the end of the hunt. Talk about excitement! Aubrey was asleep, so she was just able to collect her little stack after her nap. Good memories!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Today was an odd one...it began when the one barrette that will actually hold all my hair up decided to disappear. It never occurs to me to buy an extra one for times such as these, and since I wear my hair up to work, a lost barrette means a late morning! Ugh! I finally found it (right where I left it, of course), and hurried the kiddos into the van for the short ride to school. As I was backing out of the driveway, I realized that my speedometer wasn't working. It just so happens that the area in which we live, as well as the area in which the school is located are target areas for cops with nothing else to do but pull over people who are minimally breaking the limits. Fortunately, I made it through the day without little blue and red lights flashing in my back window, but now I have to try it again tomorrow...
After arriving at school, my co-worker told me that a UPS shipment containing some of our program props and costumes, which was scheduled to arrive yesterday, was still on the UPS truck and would not arrive until this evening (program was tonight). No problem...after 12 years of school programs, our nerves are too fried to even work!
The day was spent in fervent practice. 26 happy, energetic kids, full of life and a little bit of mischief sang their hearts out, and many of them left school exhausted and with barely a speaking voice thanks to colds, sinus problems, and a full day of vocal exertion.
Of course there was more to do after the "day" ended, but some girls who have learned to be responsible helpers lightened my load considerably, and brought smiles and joy into the weariness! Even though our props didn't arrive until just before 7 p.m. (giving us about 30 minutes to get things together), and we weren't able to make everything happen just as we had planned, the moments that followed were priceless. I will cherish the memories of tonight, the faces of the children, forever. They are worth it...a thousand times over.
Monday, November 23, 2009
"COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS"
This hymn certainly ranks as one of the most familiar numbers in our hymnals. It is one of the songs that many of us first sang with gusto during our early Sunday School days, yet one that we still enjoy singing in our gospel type of services. Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr., was one of the important and prolific gospel song writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was born near Medford, New Jersey, on April 21, 1856. As a child he became acquainted with the hymns of the church through the singing talents of his father. At the age of nineteen Oatman joined the Methodist Church and several years later was granted a license to preach in local Methodist congregations. Though he wrote over 5,000 hymn texts, Oatman was busily engaged throughout his life in a mercantile business and later as an administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey. Other gospel favorites by Johnson Oatman include "Higher Ground", and "No, Not One!"
"Count Your Blessings" is generally considered to be Oatman's finest hymn. It first appeared in Songs for Young People, compiled and published by Edwin O. Excell in 1897. It has been sung all over the world. One writer has stated, "Like a beam of sunlight it has brightened up the dark places of the earth." Perhaps no American was ever received with such enthusiasm in Great Britian as this hymn. The London Daily, in giving an account of a meeting presided over by Gypsy Smith, reported, "Mr. Smith announced the hymn 'Count Your Blessings.' Said he, 'In South London the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep on this hymn.'" During the great revival in Wales it was one of the hymns sung at every service along with such Welsh favorites as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" and "O That Will be Glory". The composer of the music, E. O. Excell, is a well-known name in early gospel hymnody. He was born in Stark County, Ohio, on December 13, 1851. At the age of twenty he became a singing teacher, traveling around the country establishing singing schools. For twenty years he was associated with Sam Jones, a well-known Southern revivalist. Excell was recognized as one of the finest song leaders of his day. In addition to writing and composing more than 2,000 gospel songs as well as publishing about fifty songbooks, he administered a successful music publishing business in Chicago. While assisting Gypsy Smith in an evangelistic campaign in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1921, he was suddenly stricken at the age of seventy and taken home to join the immortal heavenly chorus.
Quoted from "101 Hymn Stories" by Kenneth Osbeck. Kregel Publishers, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, 1982.
Used by permission - duplication without permission is a violation of U.S. copyright law.
Count Your Blessings
When upon life's billows You are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged Thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your blessings See what God hath done.
Count your blessings Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings See what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened With a load of care,
Does the cross seem heavy You are called to bear.
Count your many blessings Every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing As the days go by.
When you look at others With their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised You His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings Money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven Nor your home on high.
So amid the conflict Whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged God is over all.
Count your many blessings Angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you To your journey's end.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I can't even begin to fathom the depths of insanity into which a person would have to sink before allowing such awful things to happen to their own daughter. Shaniya was absolutely beautiful, and became the prey for nasty, wicked, sex-crazed men to abuse...at the consent of her mother.
I know that the Bible speaks of all sin being equal in the sight of God, but I can't help but think that there is an even more miserable place in hell for those who perpetrate crimes against defenseless children.
We should remember to pray for the children, both in America and in other countries, who are literally being sold into slavery every day. We should also be alert because there are those in our own towns and communities that will kidnap children, take them to bigger cities or out of the country, and sell them into the trade. It is horrific, but it is true. The facts are stunning.
"Rest in peace, Shaniya, for you are safe now in Jesus arms."
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I saw in the news that our town had finally succumbed. We would be getting our 1st Chuck E. Cheese. Now all you 'cool' moms are thinking that I'm crazy...I mean, what an awesome addition to the neighborhood, right? Ha! Not for me honey, the last time I was in a Chuck E. Cheese was about 10 years ago, before I even had kids (I was dragged in there by another couple who had a little boy and they evidently thought it was just the coolest place on the planet), and I would have really been happy to avoid a return visit.
We have become desperate for a reason not to go...Greg actually looked at me one day and said, "I really think it would be a sin for us to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Look at the place...it looks like a casino for kids! Doesn't the Bible say something about "avoiding the appearance of evil?" Ok...so we were really desperate!
My kids have been great about it though, and if I'm not mistaken, the place has been open about a year, and we have not yet patronized it. I told the kids right up front that a Chuck E. Cheese visit would not be like our McDonald's drive thru stops (like every five minutes, already!), but would be for something special like a good grade card or something similar to that.
Last week, I had an idea straight from Heaven. Trick or Treat was to happen this week, and it also happens that we are in revival. There's nothing more frustrating than to try to dress everybody up, fly around town begging for candy, and then quit 30 minutes early, quickly change clothes, and take 4 completely sugared up kids to sit through an hour and a half service. So not worthwhile! Since trick or treating is something that the kids enjoy, I decided to make them a deal...would they be willing to trade Trick or Treat for Chuck E. Cheese? It was a unanimous and enthusiastic "yes" vote, and I'm happy to report that I finally found a decent use for the place.
Tomorrow is the big day, so by the evening my mental state may be completely altered, and my mind forever fried, but the kids will be happy and hopefully poorer in calories and cavities. So...I'm signing off for the time being...it may take me until Monday to fully recuperate. So long for now!
p.s. I'm also happy to report that Chuck E. Cheese also gives tokens to kids who bring in a good report card! Since our kids just got theirs yesterday (and they were swell students this quarter), we may make off better than we thought! Just don't tell my kids about this...they'll try to drag me back in January...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I know that this is something that people probably get sick of hearing about, but a couple of years ago, I was introduced to Dave Ramsey's radio show and consequently have listened to and read after him religiously (basically, financial issues fairly quickly become spiritual, so I don't feel guilty for it).
Although we haven't consistently put his principles into practice, I have gleaned much practical truth from them, and have begun to do some things as simple as to wait a little bit before making even small purchases, in case something better comes along. We tend to be able to live without a little more than what we think. :)
Here are a couple of blessings that have resulted from that just within the last week:
~Allison's black dress shoes were a little tight. I hated to spend the measly $ it took to buy a new pair, so I held out for just a few days, and to my surprise, another mother came to me with 2 grocery bags full of shoes. Most of them fit her or will fit her soon. Some still had tags, and all were in great condition. So...I got 1 pr. of black dress shoes in the bag plus at least 10 more that I didn't even really need.
~I hate buying pantyhose. I have to wear them during the winter unless my skirts are long, otherwise I freeze. They are expensive and I have to have a certain brand. Don't criticize me unless you have had to buy them to fit a shape like mine...I know there are cheap hose out there, but I can't have them splitting out every time I cough! Ha! The brand I buy has hit $5 at WalMart, and that's just a little too much for me to want to dish out. So, I waited...even wore knee hi's (hate 'em). Today, while at Dollar Tree buying some little things for my nieces, I found what must have been a closeout of my $5 pantyhose. I got an pile of them...$1 each!
~Kaitlynn needed a new winter coat. I hate shopping for coats, about as much as I hate buying pantyhose, and I know the really good prices won't happen until closer to Christmas...or so I thought. Last Saturday, I decided to take the dreaded plunge. We went to Sears first, basically because we entered at that end of the mall, and would you believe that there were 2 racks of heavy, beautiful girls coats for $19.99! I figured they had the weight of a jacket, but after checking everything out, found that they were as heavy and warm as the real expensive coats. I wanted to get brown (once you are the mother of four, you determine that even if pink is prettier, it shows dirt...brown and black are the bomb!), but our store didn't have the brown in Kait's size. She was bummed, so we ran to Penney's to look. Nothing cheap, nothing we liked. I called Valerie, who was out by Eastgate Mall in Cincy, and gave her the description. She was able to buy one there, and send it home with a friend who just happened to be travelling back to Lima the next day! So Kaitlynn has the $55 coat she wanted @ the fantastic price of $19.99.
It's amazing how things happen when you choose to make wise decisions. I know that these are small things, but they are just a sample of the blessings we have had this week!
Has God done something very special and very practical for you lately? I'd love to hear about it!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Anyway, just wanted to let ya know the outcome. Thank goodness for an "off" day today so that she could rest and recoup.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I would love to hear your ideas for nourishing and comforting (this can be the most important part) meals for cool nights.
p.s. While you're browsing the web, be sure to check out my cousin's blog www.whatscookingwithandrea.blogspot.com.
SHE was born for the kitchen!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Allison is 23 months old, and the only immunizations she has received so far are the initial Hep (at hospital) and her first round at 2 mos. (which she took considerably later than 2 mos!). This summer I changed pediatricians due to the fact that the one we had used for about 9 years was having health issues, and the last couple of visits I actually had to take my child from the exam room back to the conference room to see the doc cause she couldn't come to me, for whatever reason. I just wasn't real comfortable continuing on with it, although the nurses were great and I hated to leave them.
The pediatrician I was switching to was really good, and their new location was a little more convenient for me, so I assumed smooth sailing.
I made the mistake of scheduling a joint appt. for Kait and Alli in late July. Kait would have her kindergarten exam, and I would get Alli one round of immunizations. My girls are both pretty paranoid of anything medical, and I should have known better. Long story short, Alli's well-visit had to be changed to a sick visit due to a viral infection. Two office personnel came in to do the appt. Not sure if they were nurses or medical assistants. One appeared to be training. I asked them to please do everything for Kaitlynn first, because Alli would start screaming the minute they touched her, and continue until we left. I didn't want Kait to have to endure that trauma cause she was already scared to death.
I was surprised when they completely ignored my request, and began their exams, alternating every procedure. It was pure torture. After 15 minutes of Allison screaming, Kait began to cry. I kept thinking that it shouldn't take too long, but failed to realize the extent of a kindergarten exam these days. Vision screening, urine sample, hearing test, on and on and on. Every time the office personnel would leave the room, Kait would ask me when they were going to do the shots, etc. I had told her that, based on previous experience with the boys, the shots would be fairly painless.
The doc came in and was so kind. She calmed Kait down, and even had her smiling. But not for long. A little bit after the doc left, the needling-weilding woman appeared. Literally, holding the syringes out in plain view, she came in rather rudely asking if she would need to bring in the other nurse to "help hold her down". Any five-year-old hearing those words would freak out a bit. Kait began to cry again, and of course, Alli too. I said no that I would help. Holding Alli on my left hip, I used my right arm to try to hold Kait down while the nurse crammed her ginormous stomach into Kait's legs. She went to insert the needle, and Kait flinched which caused her not to be able to inject. This made the nurse mad, and she angrily said, "This is why I HAVE to have someone who can hold her down. She is going to hurt herself!" She was huffing and puffing, and looking very irritated. I said, "OK, I'll do it." Still holding screaming Alli, I laid myself across Kaitlynn's chest, and held her legs with my right arm. Within a little bit it was all over with, and the nurse exited the room, never to be seen again...thank God. We sat there for a minute, not quite sure what to do. We hadn't been told that we could go, but I didn't necessarily think that conditions were favorable to stay any longer, so we gathered our things and headed for the front desk. I said, "I guess we are finished. Is there anything else I need?" The secretary said that she didn't have anything for us, so we left.
Once I reached the van I realized that I hadn't been given any info. regarding the girls weight or height, and the had failed to clue me in on the shots that Kait had, or any side effects I should be looking for. I started to go back in, but figured that the kids would go ballistic again, so I decided to wait til later. Plus I was so upset about the whole thing that I really wanted to wait until my emotions leveled out before addressing the situation.
So here it is mid-October, and I have to get Alli in for her immunizations. I considered just taking her to the Health Dept., but would actually end up paying twice as much because I only have a $20 copay for an office visit. I also don't really feel like taking her into that environment right now. I have an appt. at the doc for this coming Monday. I feel that I need to request a different nurse, and share my experience with the doctor. Do you think that is overboard? What would be your response? Seriously, I love the doctor, but I'm scared to take her back there!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
As a couple of our children begin to approach the pre-adolescent years, the reality is that their days under our roof are swiftly passing. Soon they will be making their own way in life, for better or for worse. The fact that we as parents are accountable to God for our role in child-rearing should make us even more determined to follow His rules.
Day-to-day routines should not just happen to us, we should happen to them. Why? Because successful parenting isn't achieved by accident, or simply doing what is convenient. It is realized only through hard work, determination, and fervent prayer.
Every moment is valuable, and every decision is incredibly vital.
If you have a suggestion or comment for ever-learning mothers, feel free to share. We could all use some fresh insight and perspective on the most important job God assigned to womanhood!
It seemed that this year the topics were more relevant, and the speakers more passionate. I came away with a renewed sense of conviction and ferver concerning the Biblical mandate of Christian Education. I hope to share some of the session notes with you as I continue to process them in my own mind.
Here I am with the greatest boss and dad in the whole world. I'm not makin' that up! Preachers are a dime a dozen, but a pastor (there is a difference) who has also committed to being a Christian school administrator, can be a rare find. My dad has taught me so much through the years! He is a man of both conviction and compassion, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to share in ministry with him!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Instead, I'll share something that my 21-month-old daughter did yesterday...and yes, I blushed..big time.
I was working in the Upper Level Learning Center (grades 7-12), and Allison came in with her bottle to tell me she wanted more milk. I took the bottle, and headed out the classroom door for the kitchen. Just as I left the room, I heard her say, "Mommy, Popsicle! Mommy, Popsicle!" I turned around to quiet her, only to see her with a huge grin on her face, waving a certain feminine product which she had managed to dig out of my purse. That, my friends, will keep ya humble.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Everything around us these days shouts: SIMPLIFY! I love the word. It's so bold and crisp. It is written on one of my favorite prints in the living room, sounding like an easy plan, but oh, how difficult the execution!
I just finished a book that I actually began reading in May. There's no explanation on the huge lapse in time, except for the fact that I have spent all of my free time during the last 3 months organizing and reorganizing my piles of clutter. Anyway, "Sanity Secrets For Stressed Out Women" is one of those reads that is impossible to digest quickly. From it I learned that one of my biggest stressors is the piles of stuff that I have accumulated over the last 30 years. (Yeah, it's bad...I mean, how many former A.C.E. students still have their Congratulations! slips from 2nd grade? This chic does...I'm serious).
Even though our house is not huge, we have more than adequate storage, and I'm very thankful for that, but at this point every available cabinet and closet is full and running over! Somehow restacking and reshuffling the same ole' junk in 42 different ways doesn't change the fact that it is really impossible and totally unnecessary to cling to stuff.
So, I have come to a conclusion that I am feeling very good about: I'M DONE!!! I'm not living this way anymore! I don't have to keep clothes in hopes that someday somebody will wear them...I can pitch 13-year-old GBS class notes...my friends aren't going to cry if I get rid of their wedding bulletin (or the dress I wore to the special occasion)...God doesn't expect me to keep a ridiculous purchase just because I wasted money on it...old Christmas card photos are not meant to be heirlooms...my term papers for Liberty won't ever be read again anyway...deflated mylar balloons from the birth of the first child will mean nothing to him when he reaches adulthood (or even his 10th birthday, for that matter)...you get the picture! My husband should be proud by the time I'm finished with this gargantuan project. I'm adding square footage to the house without building a room...how's that for a stimulus package!
If you have a moment, leave me a note to let me know how you are "simplifying" this fall. Maybe we can form our own cheer squad and keep each other encouraged!
Today I am taking the plunge, and although some of my ramblings may never make it beyond "Save Now" rather than "Publish Post", I hope this becomes a place to share ideas, experiences, and insights. My goal is that it be an interactive blog, with responsive readers who are willing to be transparent. , but whether or not it attracts any traffic, it will be an outlet expression. Thanks for stopping by ~ I hope to hear from you often!