Monday, October 19, 2015

When I Talk About What I Taught My Kids

     I talk about my kids on this blog quite often. They're mainly what I write about. There are quite a few of them around here, filling up my time and space.

     One of the categories that I share the most about is discipline. Correction, really. It seems pretty natural that a parent would need to correct children, and often. It's a subject that comes up time and again. And again. And yet again.

     What I found when some of the Zooligans began to mature beyond the preschool years, is that the way the corrections played out began to change. There were discussions and explanations, and understandings, and mis-understandings.

     Sometimes, when correcting and guiding, words would come from my mouth. Words that didn't seem to be all mine. Even though my mouth spoke the words, I was hearing them as though they were being spoken to me. I was the one that needed, desperately, to hear those words. They were fluid ideas, wise thoughts, good advice. I'm pretty sure they weren't my words.

     I like to believe that I'm an intelligent person. I educate myself be reading and researching. I think that I can string ideas together into intelligble communication. I might even, on occassion, say something profound. I'm pretty proud of myself when I do this. I don't feel that it happens often enough.

     But, profundity isn't what I was feeling when those correct, right words were spilling from me to my children. I was feeling conviction. Whatever I was correcting my children for in that moment was something that I needed to correct in myself, too.

     God uses some great tools for teaching us, even the words that come out of our own mouths. I guess I don't don't need to hide behind my kids when I tell share about a great correction moment. I can just come out and say that I learned something great when the Holy Spirit spoke through me to my kids, and I needed to listen, too.

     May the prompting of the Holy Spirit be obvious and real for you, too.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

"But I want to!"

   "But I want to!"
One in a long list of phrases that my children use that makes me want to respond in a similarly immature manner. I would like to roll my eyes, or say something snarky about their response. I mean, I *know* you want to!  You just said so! And I gave you an answer complete with a reason. Just, Ugh!

Arguing, and complaining are on a no-no list. When the children are older, and they have learned something about the exchange of ideas, and the art of persuasion, they may appeal to me. When the "no" is rebutted with something less like whining, I am willing to listen.  For now, it's important to Mr.TheZoo and I that the children understand that complaining for the sake of complaining doesn't make anything better.

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, and were on their long trek through the desert, the complaints of discomfort began. 'At least we had watermelons in Egypt', 'At least we had a home to go to at the end of the day', 'At least we had a comfortable place to lie down in Egypt!'  There were slaves! They were beaten, overworked, generally mistreated, even killed while working for the Pharoah. They had no freedoms, their baby boys were murdered at the pleasure of the government! It seems that walking to their freedom was more difficult in their minds, then a life of slavery.  God's response? Poisonous snakes. Yikes! In the face of true adversity, the Israelites cried to again to God. He sent them relief. A way to heal. A physical beacon to look toward that would rid their bodies of the poison, and allow them to continue to walk on to freedom.

My children forget, or don't even know, what adversity is. To them, being told that they can not have a Popsicle for breakfast is adversity. My firm "No, but you may have..." isn't loving enough for them. "But I want one!" is the response.  I offered them something good. Something that would nourish and sustain them, Something that would give them long term health, and they turned it down, opting instead to whine and pursue their own selfish interest, no matter that it would bring them harm.

The Israelites did that, too. Many of them refused to look to sign that would heal them, and they died. Painfully. They refused to accept God's rescue from slavery as a better situation, and then when offered mercy from pain and death, they still clung to their own idea of comfort and happiness.

Please, little Zooligans, understand one day, that  I desire good things for you. Often that means that I need to say 'No', even though you try to convince me "But I want it!".

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Daze

     This morning I was up at 5 a.m. I haven't seen that side of the clock since I was working full time and had to haul four kids out to daycare before going in to work. Ugh. Problem is, someone had my pillow! I tossed and turned all night, catching 1/2 hour naps. I can't sleep without my own pillow. It drives me nuts! As a result, I have already accomplished many things. The dishes that I left because it was too hot last night have been done, laundry has been started, A bathroom has been wiped down, I have been grocery shopping, and the groceries have been put away. And, this blog post has been written. All this morning. AND, the children are still sleeping! The teenagers, the middles, and the littles. This might be the best 8:30 a.m. I've seen in a while! Also, I had a starbucks mocha. A treat, and I didn't have to share sips all around. Ha!
     In the parking lot at the grocery store, there was a large group of young people. Older teens, I think. they were heady with a lack of authority figures, and all the promise of a beautiful, hot, sunny day at a lake someplace. For the first time, I didn't long for days gone. Instead, I thought of how my children are nearing those times, and how happy I am for them to have those moments.  I guess I'm growing up a little bit. *sigh*
     I'm bucking that growing up thought by putting '90's music on the pandora station on the t.v. so that the kids have to hear it when they get up. If they're going to grumble about anything, why not my choice in music? I mean, it isn't like I'm making them listen to Debbie Gibson. (Thanks, Dad.)
     Happy summer days, to you!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

That Time When I Was Robbed

     A few years ago, someone stole from me. Someone that I considered to be more than an acquaintance. Actually, I handed over the money of my own accord. There was a promise about what was to happen with the money. The promise was never kept, the money was never returned, and there was no communication on the part of the person that took the money. None.
     I did inquire several times as to the time frame, and whether it was going to work out. Still, this person that called me 'friend', and 'sister', did not return my money. After more than a year had passed, I began to pray about how to handle this situation. Our family isn't in a position to hand over hundreds of dollars and not miss it.  We need to prepare well in advance not only to give an amount that is substantial to us, but to spend it on anything at all.  It wasn't even just the keeping of the money that bothered me, but that there had been a promise of a gift that would be combined with our portion for something that we desperately needed. We ended up having to find what we needed elsewhere at a considerably lesser amount, and therefore, a lesser quality.
     After a time in prayer, I felt that I needed to forgive this person. I contacted them, communicated about my disappointment in the lack of communication, and expressed that I would be forgiving the debt. I was rewarded with a "Oh, I don't expect you to do that!" and an offer of services in exchange for the money.  No apology.  No follow up. Nothing.
     It took me another two years to realize that it wasn't just forgiveness of the debt that I needed to be willing to give. It was forgiveness of her thievery. Yes, it was thievery. She stole from me. She took my money, made a promise that was likely sincere in the beginning, but never returned the money, and never admitted to it.  It is my feeling that this was for more important to me than it was to her. Since then, she has seen tremendous success in her career, she has made several purchases, taken trips, etc. I only know this because the internet is such a public place. Still, she has never even offered an apology.
     I found that every time I saw or heard of some wonderful financial gain of hers, I felt angry. Then, I would remember how much I like this woman. How much everyone likes this woman. I would wonder, why does this mean so much to me, and obviously so little to her? How can she call me a sister one day, then steal from me and dismiss me the next?
     I was stewing in my anger and growing bitter toward this woman. The thing about bitterness is that it destroys the bitter one while everyone else gets on with life.  I needed to forgive her. The debt should have been secondary, the relationship should have been first. As it stands, I now have never seen the money again, and I no longer have a relationship with this woman.
     There is a great difference between bitterness and memory. What I have now is a memory. Of course, I won't do business with this person again, and I won't recommend her to others, but because bitterness isn't in my heart for her, I also won't speak badly of her to others.
     It does happen sometimes that we are cheated or robbed, and still we need to forgive. I would hope that from time to time, my debts are forgiven. I also pray for the woman that stole from me, now not with bitterness, but instead with hope that she will choose honesty, and that she will value the relationships in her life.

Have you been robbed? How did you respond? Are you harboring bitterness?

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Word of the Year 2015

     It's time to think about what the word of the year will be. Most years, I'm indecisive and end up not choosing a word at all. Or, maybe by default, my word WAS indecisive!
     This year, I've chosen my word. I chose it in December. There has been confirmation after confirmation that I chose the right word. Besides the fact the subject is something heavily discussed in January, I refuse to believe that it is coincidence.
     My word for this year is Resolute.
I have trouble standing firm, being sure, and remaining mentally committed. I even quit on my day planners. I put on together, hopeful for the new year, excited about the possibilities that lay in the blank squares. I begin to fill in birthdates and major events. I add in school and club activities as I learn about them, then I lose my resolve to be organized. I carry the bulky planner with me, but I ignore it. I don't write obligations in it, I forget things, I even begin to resent the planner as it reminds me of yet another resolution that I allowed to wither and die.
     I'm hoping that if my word is Resolute, then my attitude will be, also. I resolve to be firm.

     Sometimes that means that I will firmly say 'no' to some commitment that I know I can't keep. Even to myself! Commit to running a 10k this year? Am I nuts? Have I seen myself lately? I can maybe resolve to be able to run for 10 MINUTES by the end of the year. That's one I can get on board with!
     Quit chocolate? Come on, I know myself better than that. Make my rendezvous encounters with chocolate less frequent and more worth it? Yes! I resolve to make better chocolate choices! This I can do!
     Some things I am just bad at. Taking my supplements every day. Nope. So bad at that. Why? I don't know! I can set them on the counter, putting them in the way of the coffee maker, and I will be good about it for a few weeks, then just forget one day and not take them for months. Vitamin D, y'all. It's what I need. Winters around here are hard on me without it! I should be taking this every day just out of respect for the people that I live with! It's simple enough, but somehow,  I haven't had the resolve to do it.
     Now, I hope I do. Even if I have to make myself a checklist. Hopefully my resolve, and my vitamin D, will help me to make those strides toward becoming a better me.
     What is your word? How resolved are you to living out your word for 2015? What are your hopes for the new year?

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Sunday, January 11, 2015


The New Year is for making resolutions. It's been a tradition for ages.
Webster's describes Resolute as such:

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (a.) Having a decided purpose; determined; resolved; fixed in a determination; bold; firm; steady.
2. (v. t. & i.) Convinced; satisfied; sure.
3. (v. t. & i.) Resolving, or explaining; as, the Resolute Doctor Durand.
4. (n.) One who is resolute; hence, a desperado.

     I'm still laughing a bit about number 4. The word describes someone desperate and hopeless. The famous song describes someone that has become hardened, and refuses to love. How did that make it into the list of descriptions for resolved? Sadly, I can see that a desperado has resolved not to love. What a sad resolution. Was it a New Year's resolution? Maybe in a movie where a cute puppy, or a pretty girl, or a sweet child melts the desperado's stone cold heart, and they give in to mushy love.
     We don't always make our resolutions in happy places, with glittery decorations, and noise makers. We don't always announce them with joy, receiving approval and support from friends and family. We don't always make pretty list and update our planner with determination to keep our new promises to ourselves.
        Resolutions aren't always what we think they are. These days, it seems that making New Year's Resolutions is becoming unpopular. People don't want to make resolutions, because they disappoint themselves and those around them by dropping their resolutions. They aren't fully committed. They aren't actually resolved to whatever new actions they chose. They fail. Failing doesn't feel good. Failing sucks.
        Throughout the Bible, there are verses that instruct the reader to be resolved, resolute, sure, confident, constant, bold, firm, or steady. 

Ruth 1:18 When she saw that she was steadfastly resolved to go with her, then she left speaking to her.
1 Corinthians 16:12 As for our brother Apollos, I have repeatedly urged him to accompany the brethren who are coming to you: but he is quite resolved not to do so at present. He will come, however, when he has a good opportunity.
Romans 14:5One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.  

     It seems that Biblically, resolutions don't have to be made at the New Year. We may be resolved, sure, or convicted of an action or attitude any time at all. In fact, we may need to be reminded to be constant and sure. We may need to re-resolve ourselves!
     I pray that my resolutions are thoughtful and hopeful. More, I hope that I remember that I don't have to be resolved on my own strength, but that the Holy Spirit will guide and assist me as promised.  When my hopes and endeavors are in line with God's I can count on His promises. I can be sure that my resolutions are supported,and that I won't have to go them alone.
     Make your resolutions! Make them in prayer, and know that I will pray with you. Leave a comment here, or on my facebook page. Be anonymous or not! If you are looking for a community to pray with you through your resolutions, this is a great one!

Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Power Trippin'

     One day, early in the school year, there was a meeting for the Parent Partnership Program. During this meeting, we learned of any new rules or regulations handed down by the school district or federal government that might impact how we are educating and/or reporting said education. We also heard from the PTA, and various other groups that work in the community in conjunction with our school.
   After hearing about a raffle for a guaranteed parking space (totally coveted by all the parents, and a well funded raffle!), and about the additions to the out door play ground area (benches that convert to tables, and an enormous chess board painted onto the black top with people-sized playing pieces), we heard from the person that co-ordinates an amazing food drop-off for the school.
     I'm a little bit confused about what to call it, in order to respect her position that a particular world for this ministry irks her. I suppose using the word 'ministry' would be irksome to her, as well. She dislikes the word 'gleaning', and prefers to say 'rescuing'.
     So, her message is that no one is actually giving this food to the organization, but rather, she and the organization are going in and liberating this food, then dispersing it. Please, do away with anything that sounds powerless. Don't allow the businesses that are donating the food items to have any power. Strip that power away. Sure, the food would be thrown away if there weren't any organizations picking it up. Someone in each company has to comply with someone's rules, and must file the correct paperwork, complete with required signatures in order to give away the food that they are removing from their shelves. They must co-ordinate with the many organizations that are looking to make use of food that is still edible, but due to industry standards, can not remain on the shelves for retail sale.
     No, let us take the power for ourselves. Let us be glorified and held in high esteem! Let this amazing woman be known as the one that rescues the food! She has POWER! She is IMPORTANT! No one gives her any handouts!
     What's the matter with us, that we are offended by words that infer grace, charity, and humility? I refuse to obey, or defer. I will partner. I will help. Soon, those words will be offensive, too.

     Let's get off the glory train, and quit power trippin'.

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