Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Children of Caesar

Preach it brother! I have long respected this man.

I have to add about socialization. When people ask about socialization I just ask, "Have you met my children?" Take last night for instance. I took #1 daughter out for dinner and discipleship (translated that means tacos at the local diner and doing her About Me Journal, she's only six). She talked and waved to all the patrons. One woman had a small child. My daughter engaged in conversation with both. The waitress was so impressed when my daughter said, "Yes, ma'am." Another woman walked in with a sour expression on her face. It might have been a long day for her. My daughter waved and said, "HI!" The woman's face brightened. Maybe that was the first kind word she had all day. The cook came out to serve some food. He had no hair and a beard and a tattoo. My daughter engaged him in a little- Hi-how-are-ya conversation. He went back to the kitchen with a smile on his face. Now we have specific rules on talking to strangers. We are not stupid when it comes to pedophiles and the like. Our children are instructed to only speak to strangers when mom or dad is with them. A stranger is anyone that mom and dad do not know their first and last name. If a stranger approaches them in our yard, they are to all get into the house (boys protect girls and the like). They are not drilled to NEVER talk to strangers and left on their own too much. These simple rules allow our children to be social without being in danger. So what about socialization?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tips on how to be a great mom.

This was the title on a Chuck Swindoll message that I listened to today. I have taken to riding my exercise bike and listening to a podcast when I get the chance. It was so encouraging. He looked at Mary for his example. This is a good thing because Chuck Swindoll might be a great teacher, but no matter what he does he will never be a great mom. He will never be a mediocre mom or any other kind of mom.


His first tip was to realize the sacredness of each conception and pregnancy. The whole message was great, but that was the point that struck me the most. In this age of birth control we have some how come to think that we are the determiners of conception. We can do all kinds of things to prevent it. We can even do all kinds of fertility things from charting to IVF to encourage it. No matter what we cannot MAKE conception happen. Each child is a beautiful gift. If that child were conceived at a different time it would not be that child. I have often marveled at how a soul is knit together with a body. We have never been able to plumb those depths of the esoteric. We can clone DNA, but we cannot make a spirit. That belongs to God alone. Even identical twins with the same DNA are different people because they don't share a soul.

I have had the privilege of carrying 10 children. Seven I carried to term. Three might have only lived to be weeks old yet their conceptions were sacred. What a beautiful way to think about those precious souls that already rejoice around our Lord's throne.

I may not ever have any more children. I can get caught up in all kinds of cyclical thoughts. I can get caught up in the drudgery of diaper changes and laundry. Or I can do what I have chosen today: sipping ice tea with a dear friend as my children play outside on a lovely day, letting the little girls play in bubble water in the sink, swinging with my baby on the swing, nursing the baby and holding her close, rejoicing in how big, strong and thoughtful my oldest son is becoming. I pray that I will continue to focus on the blessings and the sacredness and not to get sucked down into the mire. I have been truly blessed.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A little bit personal.

I like to read. If you know me at all, I know that is no surprise to you. I have become more selective in what I read. I have been burned too many times to just pick up a book from the local library because the blurb on the jacket sounds interesting. Two instances should give you ample example (that is my only contribution to Poetry Month, if you want more go check out Carmon's website, she is very poetically inclined).

A few years ago now some customers of my husband's loaned me a book. I read it and enjoyed it. I then went online to our library catalog and ordered all of the books written by that author. I received the books and went home to read them (this was before our oldest was "school age" and I had a lot more time). I was horrified at about page 45 with an explicit sex scene! I learned that was also typical of this author's books. What I had failed to realize was the book I had originally read was a Reader's Digest version and all the smut was cut (oh-oh that rhymes as well). I shame-facedly returned those books to the library. We live in a small town and I really didn't want our librarians to think I deliberately read such trash.

The second incident was when I picked up a book on the new release shelf. I read the jacket and it sounded very creative. It had great reviews on the back. Of course, I realize that they aren't going to pick a review that says it was the worst book that critic has ever read. I may be naive, but not THAT naive. I think it was only about page 18 on this book when it turned crude. Another shame-faced return to the library.

Now some might use this to prove that I am prudish. To be frank; I have a husband and I believe sex is a beautiful gift from the Lord. I am not relegated to reading about it. I mean seriously folks, I have seven children. So some can think me prudish, but I hold that they have to read about it and I can experience it.

So all that to say that I have found some great books ABOUT SEX! I had a dear friend refer me to the first one. It is called Sheet Music by Kevin Leman. I have to agree with that friend about it having a lot of healing in it. I would recommend this book to any married couple. I would recommend it especially to those with a past. In our culture today that means almost everyone. In Steele Magnolias one character quips, "These days if you can achieve puberty, you can have a past." So true and so sad. Yet where sin abounds grace abounds that much more. This book is a very gracious book.

The second book is by Kevin Leman and Kathy Flores Bell. I had to get the book so I can get the title right: A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey with your Kids about Sex. I purchased Sheet Music because it was so good. I am going to get this one too. It really covers the subject well. It focuses on having a relationship with your children. It reinforces how my mom talked to me about sex and my changing body as well as how I talk to my children. The reason I want to buy the book is its wonderful "hands on" examples it gives. I figure by the time I xeroxed all the copies I would need to help me remember and purchasing a folder to put them in I would spend just as much as the book would cost me. I will give you one example that we used successfully for all ages in our house last week.

Supplies you need: Hand Lotion, cinnamon, soap and water. Explain to the children that we have natural oils in our hands. The lotion represents those. Have the children apply hand lotion. The cinnamon represents germs (I called them germies for who-knows-what-reason, I am usually pretty specific on what things are called). Sprinkle cinnamon on their hands. Then show them how germs can get trapped on their clothes if they just wipe their hands on them or on anything else. Then show them how to wash their hands and the germs get washed down the drain.

After our hand washing lesson my children have an obsession with hand cleanliness. Lesson learned and applied.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Okay, okay, okay, we went anyway....

I hadn't planned on going to the Blog Sistas' BBQ. I had many good reasons to not go. It worked out for the children (minus the oldest boy) and I to go. We were all so blessed. It was a great time to pray and sing on our way there. It was a great time while we were there (I mean there was GREAT coffee and chocolate-how could we lose?). It was also a great time with the Lord on the way back.

Our SamBoy defended the known world with a bunch of his buddies. Nothing like boys getting together to defend the cause of justice with weapons:) Our oldest girl helped out in the kitchen and made new friends. The three middle girls got to play with many their own age. Tiny Tim was just plain perfect. We visited and put names to faces. I got second place on the "How Well Do You Know Kim" game. I only placed so highly because I had been talking to her before hand and unknowingly found out some of the answers. If I had been smarter I would have taken a gander at the test and asked her. I think that is called cheating though.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blog Sistas

I was graciously invited to go to a "Blog Sista" BBQ hosted by my friends, the Engstroms. It is an opportunity to get to know some folks that I know only from the blogasphere. I, unfortunately, have too much going on so that it is wiser that I stay close to home instead of attending. Even the temptation of home-roasted decaf. coffee wasn't enough to get me to go (even though it was a GREAT TEMPTATION!).
I find it ironic that I even have blog sistas. I am not very computer literate. I am still struggling with getting music to play on my blog. I am not losing sleep over that how ever. I look back on how I got to have cyberfriends. It is a funny journey.
I attended a Ligonier Conference in Portland a few years ago (four children ago). RCJR was there with his Highland Study Center booth. I looked at some information and found it interesting. I looked them up on the web. I commented from time to time. There was one lady that I connected with on the comments section. She was brave enough to send her e-mail address. She is my Val-Pal in NJ. She was doing the blog thing (note she is also much more technically savvy than I am). She recommended Carmon's (Not San Diego) Buried Treasure site. Wow-what kindred spirits I found there. From that website I have found some other kindred spirits. I feel as Ann Shirley said, "I don't think kindred spirits are as few as I once though."
I have been blessed with some REAL friendships through these weblogs. I have benefitted in so many ways. I have been challenged in my thinking, encouraged to keep going on the narrow path and felt loved through real tokens of friendship. It is so easy to give up when you feel like you are the only one. It is so wonderful to have a group of like-minded folk to chat with on our journey. It is even better when we can get together and share chocolate. I believe Stacy MacDonald says that is can be catagorized as medicinal after childbirth:)
There is so much garbage on the internet. Like any tool, though, it can be used for good or ill. I have been much blessed by this technological advance.