Monday, December 21, 2009

What I've Learned From My Boys - A Work in Progress

I've only been a mom for 6 years (6 and a half, as my oldest son would point out) but I've found the experience to be a perspective adjuster; life changing to say the least. Here are a few of the things my boys have taught me:

1. There is no such thing as a toy that is too loud, too messy or too obnoxious. When playing, the rule is, the louder the better. The messier the more fun. I tend to approach life cautiously, quietly. But sometimes reckless abandon is super fun.

2. Brothers are for wrestling. It is apparently impossible be near another young boy and not take him down. My husband assures me that this is normal little boy behavior. I'm hoping they outgrow this one.

3. Listening requires not just your ears, but your eyes as well. "Momma, momma, momma, momma, momma..." I can reply "yes, I hear you, uh huh, what do you want, yes son" but until I look up and WHOLE-FACE listen, they don't think I can hear them at all. Hmmm. Think there might be some wisdom there...

4. Bodily functions are funny. There's no deep application here, it's just part of being a little boy - or a big boy as it turns out.

5. There are adventures to be had every day, you just have to know where to look. A stick is a perfect sword. A pile of pine needles is a giant nest. And the possibilities with a box, blanket or flashlight are innumerable. I think I could take a cue from them on this one. Maybe the dust on my furniture came from fairy wings. Or the toilet, ummmm never mind.

6. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING can be turned into a competition. Brushing teeth: who's the fastest? Stacking blocks: whose tower is highest, or who can knock it down? Whose arms are longer? Who can jump higher? Who's got the most toe jam? And don't get me started (again) on bodily functions. I think this one closely relates to #2 above.

7. Low tech is still awesome. After unwrapping a pile of gifts at Christmas, they wanted to go outside and blow bubbles...the bubbles from their stockings that Santa purchased at the Dollar Tree. I really need to remember this one next Christmas.

8. Kissing a boo-boo really does make it feel better. The kiss, the snuggle, the sympathy, and the assurance that the scratch is not life threatening are all it takes to send my little warriors back into the fray. I know some grown-up warriors that would appreciate my sympathy and assurances too. (But the kisses are reserved for the daddy-warrior at our house!)

9. The best things in life truly are free. (Yes, I know it's not original to this list, but bear with me.) Lying on your back finding cloud shapes, picking flowers to give to mom, digging in the dirt, collecting sticks or bugs or leaves, riding your bike, laughing, eating ice cream, splashing in the bathtub, hearing a bedtime story and then praying to Jesus about the things that are on your heart - these are the makings of a perfect day for my boys. Sounds pretty good to me too.

10. And perhaps the biggest lesson that I have learned from parenting three little boys is to what extent I would go to protect them from any hurt. I would have a very hard time purposely allowing them to get a splinter or a paper cut for you, dear reader. To allow them to be tortured, mutilated, and nailed to a cross to die for someone else is unthinkable. My boys are teaching me of God's great love for me, His unthinkable sacrifice, His level of commitment to my salvation.

I am blessed to be their mommy and overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with that title. So what little gems have your little (or big) ones taught you, oh parent? Silly, serious, thoughtful, frivolous - what lessons have you learned?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When I Was a Kid

When I was a kid, I was the remote control and the rabbit ears adjuster and the foil on the ends of the rabbit ears adjuster. If there was nothing fit to see on our five stations, we went outside to play, or to our rooms, or to the kitchen to see what mom was making.

When I was a kid, gaming involved a board, some dice, and play money...or little cars with plastic stick people, or cards. And the entire family.

When I was a kid, the phone was attached to the wall, with a cord, in the kitchen, where mom and dad could hear everything that was said.

When I was a kid, a computer was a luxury, a bulky slow luxury. My school had some. My bank had some. My home did not.

When I was a kid, my jambox sat on my desk in my room - and it took up half of the space on the desk. And yes, it had an antennae. My music was not a secret. My cassette tapes were approved (and usually purchased) by my parents.

When I was a kid, dinners were around the table, not in the drive-thru. Everyone was present. The phone was taken off the hook and tucked into the dish towel drawer for that hour.

When I was a kid if I wanted to talk to someone, I had to TALK to them - either in person, or on the phone in the kitchen where, yep, my parents were listening.

Now, in my flat screen, high definition, surround sound, instant messaging, satellite empowered, hands free, fast food, texting, online life, what will my boys have for their "when I was a kid" memories? I think I'll unplug and have a picnic, outside, with my boys. And just talk and play. And make a memory while they're still kids.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My most important job

My boys amaze me. No, really. They're amazing. Our oldest is six years old and has the heart of a lion. He wants to be in charge. He must be in charge. He knows the rules and wants to enforce them. Oh, and he follows them the letter. He's not fond of change, but thrives in order. Getting information out of him is akin to pulling teeth - firmly imbedded teeth.

Our second son, on the other hand, is his own little man. While he's only four years old, he has his own personality, his own look, his own opinions. He can deliver a joke and incorporates Spanish into his speech on his own. (Thanks, Dora the Explorer.) He can also quote all of the books of the New Testamant. He paints exhuberantly, talks loudly, and runs at full speed. Where big brother is controlled, middle brother is enthusiastic.

And just as amazing is our littlest Golden boy. He's the "bonus round" blessing straight from the hand of God. At two years old, he's finding his voice. He's perfecting his fit-pitching wail and train whistle noise. He loves to imitate his big brothers and cousins. He also knows that he's the baby and uses it to his advantage at bedtime - "wanna rock...peeees?" (Who could say no to that??) He's a snuggler, loving and generous with hugs. And if I could bottle his giggle, I'd make a million.

The job of being their mom is far too important for me to fail.

Lord, please teach me to be the mom that these three very different boys need me to be. Help me to treasure each of them for the person that you created him to be. And help me to point them to You.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just a blob

So I'm thinking today of the potter's wheel, but not so much about the wheel, but about the clay. What must the lump of clay be feeling when it is plucked from the mass and plopped on the wheel? "Oh no! Not me!", or maybe "What's happening to me?", or how about "I don't like this. I want to stay just the way I am."

The analogy, taken straight from scripture, is exactly where I am right now. I'm the lump, the blob. I'm freeform clay and not so excited about changing. I don't know what the end product will be...I'm not privileged to that information. I don't know why the work began, or more interesting to me right now, when it will STOP.

It just feels that I'm being spun around and around, with pieces of me being molded and smoothed. It's uncomfortable, dizzying. I'm not able to focus on the big picture, but just on the changes going on in me. I'm not in control.

But I do know a few things. If I harden right now, I will break. If I refuse to be molded, I will never become what I was intended to be. And if I hop off of the wheel, I will fall helplessly to the floor, in control again, but without help, hope.

So although much is out of my control at this time, I will continue to stay on the wheel, stay moldable, and wait with great expectation to see what happens. Why???

I know the Potter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He spoke

So I was wide awake in the middle of the night and was praying. Well, it was actually more of a one-sided conversation. My part went something like "When?" (silence) "Why?" (silence) "Where?" (silence) "Who?" (silence) "How much?" (more silence). And since that didn't seem to be getting me anywhere, I asked "What are You waiting for?" Then the answer came. It was not what I was expecting, certainly not what I wanted to hear. In the stillness of my soul He spoke...


Ick. OK, so what else can I surrender? I've moved away from my home state. Given up my career. Left my extended family. Don't have friends here. I feel emotionally, socially, and often spiritually exiled. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT???


Double ick. Triple humility. Quadruple shame. Huge apology. Magnanamous forgiveness. Sweet freedom.

As you see, the struggle continues. Wish I had this Chist-follower thing figured out, but I think that would exclude faith...and thus miss the entire point.

So, once again, I face tomorrow with questions still bouncing around in my head about our future. And we will need answers soon. But I am thankful that the answers are not up to me. Control rests once again in my Savior's capable hands.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There's no plan B

What a roller coaster our life has been for the last 2 months. My dh lost his job mid-Nov. and since I am a stay-at-home mom, this has rocked our little idealistic world. I, quite naturally, have turned introspective. Just what is it that God is teaching me? What is He requiring of me? And when can we get on with our lives?

So far, we have ridden the roller coaster of job prospects. The ups are fun. They are filled with possibilities. They are fertile ground for speculation and dreaming. Hope abounds.

But when we go through those down days...let's just say that things are not so sunshiny around here. When there are no job prospects or, even worse, rejections come, our attitudes turn south. It's as though our outlooks hinge on this one thing. Yes, I know they should not. But they do. And that's the honest truth.

So, what to do? I have 3 precious boys that deserve a happy home. I have a God who genuinely does have my best in His plans. I have a husband who has chosen to be in a covenant for life with me. And when I really get down to it, I know that I would not be walking (swimming!) through these deep waters of my own volition. My God knows me and knows that I like the shore. I like safety. I want to make a safe haven of my home and STAY.

But the drawback to that is that if I had it my way, I would never dangerously trust my God. My faith would never be tested. My service would only be of the lip variety.

Here's what I am coming to find: (now pay special attention...wait for it...wait for it) God is good. He has provided for His people through the ages and is not going to make an exception and stop with us. He loves me. And, most shockingly, is graciously allowing me to know Him in a new way through this experience. After 31 years of being His child, I am coming to know Him as my sufficiency. Period.

And, like it or not, I'm trusting without a net.