Monday, April 30, 2012

Most Popular Posts in April 2012


"If there's anything we can do, don't hesitate to ask. We're praying for you!"

Update: Praise the Lord, a match has been found for Kristie! 
(according to marrow.org, thousands of people are still waiting! Prayerfully consider joining today!)

We see no signs of his new life, but we have not forgotten the Promise.

How do you bring up a child in the way he should go when he does not care about going ANYWHERE?  My dad shares his wisdom. So far we have learned to:


We return to the place that saved my baby's life.

My theory: the cloud of germs I have been breathing in all day has given me superpowers.

A look through the eyes of a pastor's wife

The cross, the squirming, and the children

God answers my baby's wordless prayer by sending him his mother.

Timid steps, after depression


Like it? Please share it! :)


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Don't miss a thing!

Smile, think, laugh, cry, gag, and pray with me!
Get a glimpse "Behind the Blog!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

The kingdom is like...


The kingdom is like a sower who has various results when he sows the seed. 
The disciples would find the same results when they sowed the seed of the Word. 
Face this reality, Jesus said. 


The kingdom of heaven is like a seed that falls where it may, and you have no power over what happens to it after it is sown. 

But you can be sure that some of it will fall on rich ground and that it will grow. 


 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure in a field. 

Don’t be so concerned about convincing people of the value of your message, 
Jesus taught the disciples. 
People will give up everything they have to obtain the treasure you hold out to them. 

The kingdom of God is like a man how sows seed in his field. 
Then, as he sits back and watches it grow, he has no idea how it is growing. 

He even sleeps, and do you know what? 

It still grows.




---Gospel motivation by Robert J Koester



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slackers: the up side of rule-breaking

From my dad:


You've probably heard that old saying, "Rules are made to be broken."
Well, that was my motto! If there was a rule anywhere near me, I'd break it just to make a point. 


Nobody was going to tell me what to do. 


(And all the moms reading this who have children like you are sighing. Yep, that sounds about right.)


My cousin is sitting in the frame of the baby buggy 
that we eventually turned into a go cart.


We would push each other down the hill in the winter and crash into snowbanks. 
That's why there's only a frame left. 
That's me in the cowboy hat."

(A cowboy hat, mind you. not a helmet. Of course not.)


So, why this aversion to rules, dad? 
Someone like me has a hard time understanding that way of thinking. Don't you know that life is more peaceful when you just obey the rules?  

"I guess I just figured I'd do the telling. That's probably why I became the boss at the few" real jobs"  I had. Then of course when you own the business you're the boss."


This is why he owned a business, and then another one.

He likes to do things on his terms, in his way. And often, his way really is better. More efficient. 
More work with less effort.

Now that's something even I can appreciate.

My theory (my hopeful, optimistic theory:) The child who seems determined to break every rule, may be destined for a great leadership role someday. 

Now, to figure out how to keep us all alive until then....







Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hold your hands open

The busier life gets,
the more I am tempted to put my head down and barrel through life like a goat.

I must remember: 

Look up!
Receive the grace that God is sending you today!
Don't miss it!



For more like this see Pin Me



Sunday, April 22, 2012

stepping out in the sunshine despite the threat of rain

Today, the sun is out. The fog of depression has been nowhere near for weeks now. I am energetic, motivated, passionate. I am taking on new commitments, and I am excited for each one of them.

Yet a small anxiety lurks in the back of my mind: what if it happens? What if IT comes back?

I won’t be able to handle this schedule if that happens—not even half of it.
I step back and think about this fear of mine. Things could always happen- A child might get sick. I might get the stomach flu. These things might make me have to cancel my commitments. That’s life. No big deal.

Why is the threat of depression so much scarier? Yet, it is.

The mere threat of depression: it is almost enough to make me timid.
I don’t trust myself, my health. How dare I commit?
Things might change, and I might let you down.
You might not understand.
(I might not even be strong enough to give you the chance.)
I might…. disappoint. (insert horrified gasp)


I can’t kill the fear, but I can let it drive me to prayer and vigilance.

I will watch for symptoms.
I will take care of my body.
I will try to call out for help when I need it, before it is too late.

Today, my mind and my body are strong, and I am upheld by the grace of God. The sun is out! And while the sun shines, I will work. He helps me step forward in faith, relying on His provision, and walk in the works Has placed in front of me, today.

If I am to walk, I must cling to His hand.

Don’t let me get overwhelmed.
Don’t let the pit come back.
Don’t let me crash.
Hold me up, hold me close!

His hand grabs mine, and it is strong and steady.

I am not the glue that holds the world together. He is.

And today, He has given me work to do.

Here we go. 

Steady, now.




(For more on this topic, see Depression)
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Does anyone care about this blog's layout?
I'd love opinions if you have them.
I switched things up because it was feeling a little "busy" to me.
Did you notice?

Coming soon: more thoughts on slackers!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A mama with special needs

Today I am honored to guest post over at dakotapam.com Pam is also a mother of six who blogs to keep her sanity!  Stop by her site today and have a look around!


Because I have a child with special needs, I am a mama with special needs


"As it turns out, it is ok to need things. Yes, even as a mother; perhaps, especially as a mother. Today, I’ll tell you what I needed then, as a mom of a daughter with special needs.


My daughter is healthy now, and it turns out I still need most of these things."


Read the rest of this post here.


And tell me mamas, can you say it out loud?


"I NEED."


What do you need?



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Artificial incentives: Aren’t they all?

My current strategy with my slackers:
Whatever it is I want them to do, I try to tie it to something that THEY want.
Whatever it is I want them to stop, I try to tie that to something they do NOT want.

Sticker charts and A+s work for some kids. And blank spaces in themselves may be punishment enough.

The other kids force me to be more creative as I try to motivate them. They need artificial incentives tied to a job well-done. For example, I might praise a cleaned room with an extra snack. I give out “computer time’ for time spent reading.  I take away TV time for arguing.

If life doesn't give them a consequence for doing something they should not, I create an artificial link. 

Carrot theory: Artificial Incentives and consequences
At first, I have to admit, I felt a little annoyed that some kids would need this “artificial incentive.” It is strange to me that not all children would do extra credit work just for the satisfaction of the A+. To be honest, I tend to judge people who need these sorts of “artificial incentives” to do what they should be doing anyway.  

Wait, was my motivation really so pure?

Why do I want them to get good grades, anyway? So their teachers like them? So I can praise them and be proud of them?

It seems to me like the right answer to this question should be:
I want my children to do their best, to learn all that they can, so that they can use their God-given talents to serve Him and others.

Was that my motivation, during those years I jumped through hoops in school?
Um, no.
Not even a little.
I just liked people’s approval. I liked to be right. I liked to have the high score.
Later, in college, I discovered a passion for learning, and I became a student (as opposed to a hoop-jumper.)
Later still, thanks to the work of God in me, I started to care about using what I learned for the good of others. 

Until that time, I was motivated by my own artificial incentive: people’s approval.

Quite the humbling realization.

So, even I have not risen above the need for a carrot or two. And I do not believe my children have, either.

Our Carrots
Here are a few of the current carrots in our home: kindle time, night jumps on the trampoline, all day TV-channel-picking privileges, nap skipping, sleepovers, and food. Lots and lots of food. (extra food, not meals!)

Consequences: extra cleaning jobs, acorn running, solitary confinement, loss of privileges, and so forth. (Reminder to myself and you: The lecture, in and of itself, only counts as a consequence for the people-pleasing child. A frown is not a punishment.)

Isn’t this just “behavior modification,” and doesn’t it completely miss the more important issues of the heart?
Yep.
None of these strategies actually teach a child to love God and serve his neighbor.
It is my opinion that ONE of my jobs as mother is merely to help modify a child’s behavior.
This is not my only job, and not the most important job, but a job nonetheless.

Passion draws the heart.
Consequences nip at the ankles.
God uses mom’s hands in both areas.


Tell me, what do you think about artificial incentives?
Do you use carrots in your home? What kind?
And... isn't parenting EXHAUSTING?



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More to come, including: Digging for passion, nipping at ankles, and slacker strengths.


Don't miss a thing!

Smile, think, laugh, cry, gag, and pray with me!
Get a glimpse "Behind the Blog!
Subscribe to Weak and Loved by Email Today!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

baby prayer


This is my god-daughter.

May God bless her, every day as she grows up in Him,
and today, as she is in my care.

What do you think of the picture? Cute, or a little too "Catholic?" 
Or maybe both?

Either way, I love this sweet girl!!!

See also: Pin Me

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Slackers: Dig for the passion

How did this guy...


Turn into this guy?


A few hard knocks, army, factory, marriage, babies. In short, he grew up.
He will never be a conventional 9 to 5 worker. He enjoys the freedom of being self-employed. He is a successful businessman.

(Plus, he had two awesome daughters. Yep, that's my dad!)

His advice:



I think you have to work extra hard to help him first discover his passion for whatever, music,science, cars, (probably not girls though, he won't need your help there too much) then the challenge is to teach him the dedication it takes to really achieve. 


This is where the pushy parent is most useful, pointing out the not so obvious skills that he might have to develop and why it's important to, for ex; study math when he wants to buy a bar...


He'll get it someday, but I wouldn't patiently wait for that day. 


I'd push, demand, hold him to a higher standard than he would like.


Don't let him be too comfortable where he can coast and get by. 


He'll hate it, you'll hate it and it will all turn out good. 


He'll be grateful and you'll be proud.


That's the plan, anyway.








Preach it, dad.

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More to come, including: Digging for passion, nipping at ankles, and slacker strengths.

Don't miss a thing!

Smile, think, laugh, cry, gag, and pray with me!
Get a glimpse "Behind the Blog!
Subscribe to Weak and Loved by Email Today!

(Or, connect with me on facebook, or RSS )

Monday, April 16, 2012

Slackers: Am I getting it, a little?

A child forgets her homework, then forgets that she forgot it because she doesn't care that she forgot it.
Then, she hears the lecture, shrugs it off, and forgets the same thing again the next day.


slacker!


I ask another child, "Why were you sent to the corner?"
"I don't remember." he says.
No lesson learned, no remorse. He's just happy to have the corner-standing bit done so that he can get back to doing what he feels like.


slacker!

Please don't misunderstand. I respect slackers. I appreciate people who truly do not care what other people think of them, because I know I care too much.  As one who was always motivated by smiley-face stickers and A+s, I have come to see that sometimes... that actually is a pretty crazy reason to do something.  I was not put on this earth to perform for gold stars.


I am trying to figure out how you think. So far, I think I have this much down for certain:
:( Pictures, Images and Photos

You do not care about my frowny-face.


In fact, my frowns, if they turn into attempts at pulling heartstrings and guilt-motivating, 


will probably make you respect me less;


Roll your eyes;


Care even less.



As my sister, a confessing slacker, explains, 
"I can tell you what did not motivate me. 
Reason did not motivate me, guilt did not motivate me. 
Consequences sometimes motivated me. 
Any pressure from anyone didn't motivate me, 
but only served to encourage me to further dig in my heels in a state of refusal."




Find out what happened to my favorite "slacker" tomorrow!

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Slackers, or parents of slackers, do you think this is accurate? 
What else do I need to know?




Friday, April 13, 2012

important things to do

I don’t have time for sick kids! I grumble in my head, thinking of my too-long list of things I will be forced to ignore if he stays clingy like this all day long. 

I have more important things to do than sit on the couch!

Do you, really?
He looks up at me.


2012-04-13 13.35.09.jpg

And I see him.
I really see him.

He sits on me, fighting his sixth ear infection, and he pleads with his eyes.
Hold me, mama.
I sit a little longer.
His tears stop, and he snuggles into my soft robe. He hiccups, then sighs a grateful sigh.  He is content.

For a moment, I am content, too.

He cannot pray, not with words. He is too young for that, I suppose.
And yet if he had the words, what would he pray for?

Pain relief (We still have those drops in the cupboard.)
Medicine (daddy is on his way with that!)
Comfort in the meantime: a body like a soft pillow, and warm, sympathetic arms.

And God would answer his prayer, by sending him his mother.

The words were not necessary. God provided before he asked.
…and in this moment, I am that provision.

Right now, today, I get to be the one who soothes him. I am a comforting embrace to this little child, MY little child. I get to be God’s hands of compassion to him, God’s arms around Him in an afternoon nap.

What could be more important?

We sleep.

It is good to be a child.








Thursday, April 12, 2012

still waiting for spring...

Last year at this time, farmers planted corn, and one farmer planted his son.


One year later, we see no signs of his new life, 
but we have not forgotten the Promise.

Jesus said, 
“I am the resurrection and the life. 
He who believes in me will live,even though he dies."
 John 11:25



Please remember Alan's family and friends as you pray this week.
May God uphold them in their grief and waiting.  




Of mothers and sons (reposted from 4.12.11)


The officer came to our door early sunday morning.
Oh no, not my son, fearing that vacation had ended in tragedy
The name given. Relief.  Not my son.   
But someone's son.  Guilt, compassion, sadness

Yesterday, kids in bed, parents enjoying the last quiet of the night,
but things went from awful to worse in that hospital room
and Pastor was called back.

Alone in quiet,
I rocked my youngest son, 
thinking about the mother who once rocked hers, 
who watched him bloom, 
whose ears heard the name of her son from the officer.

I laid the baby down, and sat in the chair staring through tears,
thinking of dark hospital rooms.  Afraid, sad.
Another son walked down the hall.  He complained of dragons.  Afraid, sad.

Afraid and sad we went to bed, 
his little head not quite filling daddy's place on the pillow
his little voice asking why daddy went in the night to "be with the sad family."

He curled up close, beating heart, breathing life.
not knowing why tonight mommy hugged him so tight, 
held his hand, welcomed him close.

Oh Lord, how much longer must we stay here, 
in this world of fragile mothers and sons?





More posts in memory of Alan, on grief, suffering, hope, and community:



On faith and sight Our God does not require the ridiculous of us: He does not ask that we suffer and pretend that we are not suffering


How are you doing?  (What I am really asking...) Do you know how often I think of you, pray for you? How do you stand after such a great grief, because I am on the outside and my knees are weak and I question and cry for you... so just how are you doing it?


Together in grief
How can we not feel this way, we who are learning to love each other as Jesus has loved us?
And I wonder, would we have signed up for this had we known it was going to be so painful?


On being loved in the waiting room
 In the waiting room myself, I did not know to ask for this help, but I received it and was blessed.  This is how I would have asked had I known how to do so.


(Some of these words make think of Kristie, too. I hope that she continues to feel the army of support behind her as she fights cancer. If you missed her story, please read it here.)
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