Category Archives: culture

A Week in the Life…

This week was eventful and uneventful…

My mood ranged from ecstatic to forlorn… stressed to carefree, and disappointed to satisfied.  You could say it sounds like I’m a mom, but I can’t monopolize the roller coaster, as anyone could have a turn…I will share some of my week, in hopes that you can relate and share yours with me.

I finished a book (Weird) and started a new one (Heaven is for Real), and went to my women’s group study to watch a Beth Moore video, and fellowship. I made it to a few business appointments that went well, and learned some things about the community where I live.  I participated in lively conversations about homosexuality and christianity, as well as government and morality, and didn’t loose any friends in the process.

One of my kids needed lots of reassurance, and one needed hope, one needed cash and they all needed time.  I visited a doctor, and a hospital, and watched my sons be brave.  I met a “new” potential girlfriend, that I actually really liked, and I had a couple soul searching conversations about the future.  My daughter surprised me with her new tattoo and then I had to social network my “approval” of it…

I ate really well this week, and was rarely alone.  I had a few fabulous lunches, with good friends, and even a date night with my handsome man.  Some marvelous live music was part of the week, from a jazz band to an oldies band. I even attended a birthday party, and made some new friends…

The homeschool expo was in town, and I got out with just a few purchases… my bag was less than 10 pounds… I think.  I visited a non-profit that deals with homelessness on levels that I’ve never seen.  I gave a few dollars to a jobless man sitting on a corner.  Both experiences convicted my heart, and made me reflect on the billions of blessings I have.

I prayed, studied, cleaned, cooked, shopped, banked, and did some laundry. I even tweeted, texted, emailed, facebooked, checked in, and linked in…The bills got paid, and the account is balanced, although my desk is still a mess, and my file pile should have it’s own zip code.  I watched some stupid tv, and some not so stupid…mostly stupid.

I did enforce some rules, and debated some negotiables… I lamented over my youth when physical exhaustion took over, and I lamented over my children’s youth… because they are just so dang grown.

I entered a weight loss contest, and finished a huge project that has taken months of my time… and now, I attempt to blog.

I’m sure I forgot something, but I’m too tired to reflect any longer.  My life is good, and I don’t take it for granted.  Even when the trials come, I know how blessed I am and my gratitude list is long… Really.

How was your week and what are you grateful for?

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Am I really a grown up already?

I spend a lot a time talking about parenting, and how my kids have grown, but last night, while watching my 13 year old try to take out his new contact lenses, I got a sudden “chill” of realization that I’m grown up. Maybe remembering being a teen wrestling with my own new contacts caused this “familiar” revelation… I don’t know if you know what I mean, but every now and then, out of the blue, I realize that I am a real adult, and it’s weird.

We spend our childhood wanting to be older, and our teen time wishing the years away.  Then one day, all of a sudden, we notice we have responsibilities, debt, and lots of lists…   Do you ever stop and ponder that for a second, or am I just on my own with this one?

I remember watching the premiere of MTV, now I watch the news, and care. I remember big hair and bell bottoms, and mocking my little brother for wearing parachute pants.  Now, comfort trumps style, always.  We really did come in when it got dark and no one was worried about it.  Now, I always know where my kids are playing, and I check on them periodically.  Kids talked on the phone, and didn’t mind being connected to a wall.  Now, the art of actual talking is fading into the land of abbreviations.  We used to wear our “Sunday best” to church and liked it.  Now, it’s all about looking relaxed, because apparently, Jesus loves us no matter what we are wearing.  Too bad a potential employer doesn’t share that philosophy… Fast food was a luxury, and dinner around the table was the norm… Really…My kids think fast food is a way of life.   I used to dream that I would marry Shaun Cassidy and I loved Donny & Marie… I married someone way better than Shaun, that exceeded my dreams, and no one has yet to replace Donny & Marie… Life just seemed easier.   This world that my kids are growing up in, is a very different place than the one I experienced.  I like to believe that this generation is made for such a time as this.

Sometimes I feel like it happened so fast!  When did I become this “responsible” parental kinda girl in this seriously material world?  I think I’m just too young to be this old… But then I look around at all my blessings, shake off the “chill”, and smile, because I am. Really.

Carly Simon put it this way-

I remember a time, rompin’ through the woods

Sun against our skin instead of clothes
When we felt hungry we would eat, when we felt glad we would dance
And whenever we felt drowsy we would doze

It was so easy then never takin’ any stands
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

I remember a time when our fears could be named
And courage meant not refusing dares
I remember when we took such cares to step never on the cracks,
No only on the squares
Or else we’d be abducted by the bears

It was so easy then never makin’ any plans
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

And now we are grown, with debts and regrets
And broken hearts and sentimental schemes
Now every tender failure seems to overthrow old dreams
Love can lead a normal woman to extremes

It was so easy once, holdin’ hands without a plan
It was so easy once holdin’ hands
Just holdin’ hands

 


Serious Saturday…The Warrior

What is a warrior?  The dictionary defines it as 1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle. 2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict.

So, what does that mean?  A warrior knows the battle field and has a plan. A warrior is pro-active and reactive.  He is engaged in the battle completely, mind, body and soul.  A warrior knows the enemy.  A warrior has a good support team, and through constant communication, is making sure he is equipped with the right weapons and information.

In the Bible, God says in Psalms 127:4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

According to this verse, parents are warriors.  Our children are arrows safe in our quivers. We take the twig, smooth out the knots, and sharpen the point, making it “ready  to launch” at the target of their future.  Wow! How do we do that?  How do we, as parents, prepare our kids for their futures, and, more importantly, for their own battles?

We must be primarily pro-active verses reactive. Are we involved in their education and interests?  Or do we just run them around, and try to have quick conversations between activities, homework, and friends?  Are your children’s teachers, coaches, and friends the biggest influences in their lives?  Are we just passively trusting in all of the activities, and people to shape them?  If this is your routine, keep reading…

If you are a parent, then you have been called to be a warrior.  The enemy is seeking to devour them. And you. (1 Peter 5:8) We have been given the battle plans, weapons, and armor in The Word, and we have the best support system in the universe through Christ. (Eph 6:10-18) We can be in constant contact with the creator of life itself, who has already defeated the enemy we face.  Do our kids know this?  Above all the lessons we can teach our children, these are the most important.  You will not always be able to be there for your kids, but Christ can.  You can’t completely restore them after they have been defeated in a battle, but Christ can.  You will not always have the perfect words to say to them… but The Word will always be perfect.

So, what advice can I offer?  After raising 3 kids with the 4th in middle school, I have had many failures and victories.  But keeping with my warrior theme, I will admonish you to teach them about Christ first and foremost.  Don’t think that an hour or 2 a week at Church will adequately counter the culture war zone we are living in.  I think about how many hours a day or week that they are exposed to things that aren’t on the target, and I am pro-active to the opposite.  Reading and discussing The Word and praying together daily is our smoothing and sharpening process.  Make the quiver a place of humility and grace.  Raising children is a battle.  It’s like one of those World Wars that last for years…There will be victories and miracles, as well as epic fails, and sorrow.  It’s an honor and a blessing to be called as a warrior…now go act like one.

 


Serious Saturday…Are you really where you are?

Are you really where you are?

Are you always  100% present where ever you go?  I’m not. I hadn’t even really noticed till recently.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I am referring to the ever present “cell phone” internet technology.

It has swept our nation at the speed of light and it is totally accepted.  Anyone who doesn’t jump on this rocket is considered old school and behind the times.  Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that modern technology offers a vast array of information, connections and progress that have never been seen before.  But how good is it?  Or, should I say, how responsible are we with it?

We have always been “those” parents when it comes to technology.  Our kids could not even have one till they were old enough to help pay for it.  They had to sign a “Responsible Cellular Phone Usage Agreement” and they didn’t get internet on the things till they turned 18.  We also made them turn their phones in every night by 11PM.  If they missed the turn in, they lost the phone for the entire next day.  I have made a 17 year old cry enforcing this rule… Really. We always stressed that cell phones were a privilege and not a “right”…

Today, everyone treats this technology as a “right” and a necessity. Myself included.  I have gone back home to get my phone if I’ve left it behind.  Spending a day without it is a withdraw process for crying out loud.  How did this happen?  How did we become a society that spends time with family and friends, while we chat, text and update the rest of the world.  When did we get to the point of thinking it’s OK to look at our email and facebook while driving on the interstate?  Seriously?  We complain about customer service, but how many times have you blown off a sales associate or check out clerk because you were on the phone or looking at it.

The other problem this age of information has presented, is the familiarity issue.  We share so much on facebook and twitter, that “friends” or “followers” think they really know us, which they just might, but do we know them?  We have all become little movie stars of our own social media and we don’t even realize it.  I remember when Twitter first made it’s debut and I laughed!  I thought, “who really would care?”… apparently, I do and so do millions of others.

As I step down from my soapbox, I will admit that our family are proud owners of every “i” product that is available.  We do not manage our screen time as well as we should at times, which as been the root of my rant. It’s funny how what annoys us the most about others, is usually what annoys us the most about ourselves.

If you take anything from this post, my prayer is it will cause you to pause, and leave your phone home now and again.  Turn it off when you get in the car and never bring it to the dinner table.  Maybe you will dust off a board game on a Friday night and LOL with your loved ones and realize there’s no substitute for the real face time that is slowly becoming a thing of the past.  Chit chat with the sales clerk and smile in the check out line.  What if, just what if, we looked at our Bible’s as often as our screens? What if we guarded our hearts, like we regarded our phones and what if we cared more about our relationship with our Creator then how many “friends” or “followers” we have.

Do you have balance?  Please share how you do it, I would LOVE to hear your story…


A Serious Saturday Post… Discipline.

Reader beware: This a Serious Saturday Posting.. Stay tuned for more light-heartedness later in the week..

Discipline.  Wow. That’s not even fun to type.

I’m motivated to write about discipline today, for two reasons.  First, I had to punish my youngest son recently, which doesn’t happen very often, and second, I just watched Toddler’s and Tiaras.. I know. I swear to you, I watch it with an open mouth and I even pray for those kids sometimes.

The word Discipline, by Webster’s definition is; 1. Punishment 2. Instruction 3. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. 5. Self control.. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?  At least it doesn’t  sound bad for you.

It is summer break right now and being so, my kids are not jumping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, which is fine by me, but.. they are pushing 10:30-11:30 on some mornings.  Besides the new chill approach to the morning schedule, there has not been much reading or calculating or even music practicing going on.. Our poor canines have even been left to the way side, as their normal 6:30AM breakfast and outing is now a no-frill brunch to lunch with not even a scratch behind the ear.  Laundry has spent more time in the baskets and I don’t think the beds have been made more than once or twice.  What’s wrong with that?  It’s SUMMER for crying out loud!  It’s time for all school-aged children to relax. chill. take a much needed vacation from the daily grind of learning…  Not anymore in my house. A new morning routine has been implemented.  Complete with a chart.  Yes. I am one of those mom’s…

I haven’t found in any parenting books, or in scripture where it is a suggested practice to have your kids work hard to the best of their ability, be responsible, seek knowledge and discipline and develop good habits,  but then stop. Take 2-3 months off.  If anything, all of the parenting books I have read have preached “consistency” and stressed the importance of learning to be responsible through loving discipline.  A big part of parenting, from day one, is preparing them to leave.  I know that sounds harsh, but it is reality.   They are going to leave and have to be responsible for themselves someday.  How ready are they (and you) going to be? 26 is the new 18, as personal responsibility and self discipline are traits now avoided… These traits are missing so much in today’s culture, like the cult of pageants and team sports, Disney sit-coms and MTV.  When did parents start thinking that athletic, social and beauty “discipline” trumped character discipline?  When did kids start telling parents what to do and when to do it?  And when did kids start knowing what was best for them? Really?  Seriously?

It builds character to seek knowledge and serve others.  Education is a privilege in this world, but taken for granted in this country.  It builds character to take care of an animal and have chores that you don’t get paid for.  It builds character to do something you know is good, even if you don’t have to do it.  It builds character to be told no or to do it again.  It builds character to loose gracefully and to win with humility.  How is this implemented? It is taught and caught by the most influential people in your life, that love enough to discipline.

So, what’s the point and what do we do?  If we really want the best for our kids, we need to seriously look at what we hope for them.  One of my favorite pastors, Chip Ingram, says to make a “to be” list instead of a “to do” list.  Whatever you want for your kids (or they want for themselves) you have to make opportunities for. I don’t mean, “be the best baseball player”, I’m talking about character goals, like “I want to be a good friend”… Parenting should be deliberate and pro-active, not just re-active.  You also need to pray for your kids. I highly recommend the book by Stormie Omartian – The Power of a Praying Parent.  She gives my prayers words when I have none.  Then you need to sit back and relax in the hand of God and know He’s on it.  The outcome is not up to the parent.  Control is a fleeting thing, influence you will have most of the time, but prayer, faith and love are yours forever.

Now go make your kids clean something and read a book.