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Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Concert

We had the privilege of attending the Grade 1-4 Spring Concert this week.  Although the concert itself was good and I was quite proud of my kiddos, the preparation for the concert was perhaps the most memorable element.  :)  I've been hearing practicing of vocal songs and the recorder for weeks.  Our son came home every day this week giving us a countdown.  Their concert clothes were picked out weeks in advance and laid out carefully the night before.  (Our daughter changed her mind about what to wear the day of the concert, but that's a woman's prerogative anyway, right?)

The concert itself is always fun.  It's great fun to watch the kids all dressed up for the concert.  It's also tuns of fun to watch the kiddos who haven't quite mastered performance etiquette and are looking for family members and waving.  The dances are fun for each grade and they do a great job staying fairly together.  There were some songs that even had me wanting to break out in dance.  Somehow I thought a wheelchair dancing in the front row may have been a bit distracting.  :)  Even I learned something new during the concert.  Who knew Neil Diamond wrote I'm a Believer?  Not me until last night.  It sure made me want to dance and go home and break out my Monkees cassette taape.  Does that age me a bit?

 All in all, they did an amazing job as always.  Thank you Mrs. Jamison for all your hard work.
Hiding from the camera

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We all seem to be afraid of something.  Sometimes, that fear can be tamed by a nightlight or a parent taking care of the monsters under the bed.  As we get older, it seems ours fears get bigger and not as easily soothed.  How I wish we could all be young again when we believe our parents are all powerful and can protect us from anything we fear.  Oh wait.  That actually is still true.  As we age, we realize our human parents can't protect us from all the evils of this world, but our Heavenly Father is all powerful and CAN protect us.

The problem is, we live in a fallen, imperfect world and there is evil all around us.  In fact, Jesus said, "In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33 (NIV)  There will be trouble while we live on this earth, but with Christ in our hearts, this world is not our home.  Someday, we will have a perfect home in Heaven.  In the meantime, we are not alone as we deal with the trouble in this world.  Easy to say, but much harder to live.  And, even harder to help kids learn when they're just starting to see that a nightlight or hug will not erase all the evil in the world.

It is an important task as parents to point them to the only perfect Father.  It is not an easy task, but it is vital.  In order for that to be able to happen, we need to be reaching towards God ourselves when fear and worry begins to creep in.  We need to teach by example that we turn toward God's word and prayer because He is our strength and salvation.  We need to remind them and ourselves that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."  II Timothy 1:7  We need to pray that God takes away our timidity or fear and helps us use our spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.

I'd really like comments from all of you.  How do you deal with fear in your life?  How do you keep it from immobilizing you?  How do you teach your children to turn to God with their fears?  How do you help them keep from immobilizing their lives with fear?  How do you teach them to keep themselves safe, but continue to reach out to others and follow God's will for their lives?

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good News for Parents of Strong Willed Children

"Likely as not, the child you can do the least with will do the most to make you proud."--Mignon McLaughlin

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If Only I Could Drive

If I could drive, how would my life change?  Hmmmm--Probably not all that much on a regular day.  I would still need my care attendant for other things, so she would be with me if I were driving anyway.  Plus, now that the weather is getting nicer, I take my power chair out more often.  It can get me most places I want to go in our town anyway.

If I could drive, what would be different?  I wouldn't feel stuck in my house during inclement weather  I wouldn't feel like I could go nowhere when it looked like rain.  If my PCA wasn't around, I could still get places as needed.  I wouldn't necessarily have to schedule appointments around my PCA's work schedule.  I could go places on a whim and not have to have everything scheduled in advance.

If I could drive, this weekend would be different.  I wouldn't have a choice to make between taking our daughter to the zoo Saturday and then staying at a hotel while the boys have a boy scout overnight event OR staying home and getting to have a performance at church on Sunday.  I could drive to the zoo, shop a little Saturday evening (at Target and Hobby Lobby) and then drive home.  Or, if I chose to spend the night in a hotel, I could drive to dinner and still shop a little.

If I could drive, I could make it to church 30 minutes away if Eric can't go or if he's already that direction early in the day.

For the most part, I am really OK with the fact that I can't drive and have made the adjustments necessary.   I have great plans for a fun evening in the hotel.  Plus it's cheaper than shopping anyway.  :)  There are just some days where I would like to feel like I made a choice based entirely on what I want to do and not based on what I cannot do.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Is Being A Stay-at-Home Mom/Wife Working?

I've been hearing a discussion in the news a lot lately--Is a person working when he/she stays home to care for his/her family?  Those of you who know me know that this is a discussion I can get quite passionate about.  I have both worked outside of the home and inside the home.  Now that I am working part time I find others wanting to define me by my "work."  I still tend to define myself by the title of "Stay-at-home mom" or "domestic engineer".  :)  Why do people not consider caring for your family "work"?  I have done both and I find myself "working" as hard or harder now that my choice is to stay at home.

I know not everyone can make this choice in today's economy.  Not everyone would want to make this choice.  I believe this is an individual decision for what works best for your family.  But, if someone choose to stay at home and "work" to care for their family from home--This is REAL WORK.

Here are just a few of the things that I am responsible for.  If you can think of others, please comment and let the world know.  
  • Nurse--first aid, searching for the best natural products, scheduling doctor appointments, going to appointments, following doctor orders, keeping vaccinations up to date
  • Receptionist--answer phone calls, make appointments, juggle schedule, arrange transportation, handle mail in and out
  • Teacher--help with homework, communicate with school, arrange family field trips, volunteer on PTA,  read, keep up on AR level appropriate material
  • Event Planner--Birthday parties, play dates, family trips, extra-curricular activities (library, park etc.)
  • Meal planner--make menus, grocery shop, help prepare meals, plan snacks, make sure we have plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Entertainer--play with kiddos, play Wii, find family appropriate movies, etc.
  • Banker/Accountant--make bank deposits, balance checkbook, try to stay within budget, look for more economic ways to handle family needs
  • Family Therapist/Counselor
  • Referee for sibling fights
  • Housekeeper/Laundry Attendant
  • Spiritual Advisor--pray, devotions, take to church, teach children's class at church, work on Scripture memorization, lead Moms in Prayer, answer any and all questions

When my children were younger, there were other activities I did.  As they age, what I do with my day will be changing again.  One of the requirements of staying home to work is being flexible.  Your job is always changing.

I know some who understand staying home when you have babies at home, but don't consider it real work once they are off to school.  I used to think that, too.  However, now that I have school aged children, my opinion has changed.  I find we are busier now and they may even need me more as they age.  Needs definitely change, but they don't need you any less.

What can you think of that a person does to work for their family at home?  No one will ever convince me that what I do every day is not REAL WORK.  I work just as hard as those who leave home for work and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Act As If

What do you do if you don't "feel like" loving or forgiving someone?  What if every fiber of your natural human feeling tells you to do different?  What if your natural inclination for self-preservation would lead you to do the opposite?  What do you do?

You "act as if." Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) says "'Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'  Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  This is a commandment.  It is not based on feeling--it is a command to an action.  We are to love God and love others whether we feel like it or not.

What exactly is love?  It is not a feeling.  I Corinthians 13:4-8  (NIV) says, "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."  So, if we don't feel like loving does that mean we don't have to be kind?  I hope no one out there would say that gives us permission to be unkind to others.  Love, as we are commanded to love, is not a feeling.  It is a command and the Bible gives us specific actions to show our love.  The Message says it this way; "Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut.  Doesn't have a swelled head.  Doesn't force itself on others.  Isn't always 'me first.'  Doesn't fly off the handle.  Doesn't keep score of the sins of others.  Doesn't revel when others grovel.  Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.  Puts up with anything.  Trusts God always.  Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end."  The Bible commands us to love and gives us specific actions about how to do just that.  If we choose not to because we don't feel like it, we are sinning.

You'll often find that if you are obedient to God and obey His commands, He will change your heart.  Soon you will find yourself feeling the feelings.  Often obedience and action must come first, but eventually feelings will follow.

We are still called to forgive, whether we feel like it or not.  Forgiving doesn't mean the automatic restoration of relationship or automatically trusting again.  What is does mean is giving up a grudge and allowing God to be the Judge.  For more on my thoughts on forgiveness, check out my previous post.

"You're familiar with the old written law: 'Love your friend,' and it's unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.'  I'm challenging that.  I'm telling you to love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for then you are working out of your true selves--your God-given selves.  This is what God does.  He gives His best--the sun to warmth and the rain to nourish--to everyone regardless:  the good and bad, the nice and nasty.  If all you do is love the loveable, do you expect a bonus?  Anybody can do that.  If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal?  Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.  In a word, what I'm saying is Grow up.  You're kingdom subjects.  Now act like it.  Live out your God-created identity.  Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."  Matthew 5:43-48 (Message)

I want to hear your thoughts about this.  Let's get a conversation going.  What happens if you don't "feel like" loving or forgiving?