Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No, Not Now.

Somewhere once upon a time I read something that went a little like this:

Say yes to your kids as much as you can.

Isn't it so like me to be quick to answer "no" to their requests?  They are always asking for things, whether they be basic necessities like a cup of water or indulgent things like a piece of candy.  It doesn't really matter what it is, they just always want something.  I get weary of it, so sometimes I tune them out.  I don't even really listen to what it is they are asking for.  So the first word on my lips when they say "Can I....?" is a quick, often absent-minded "no".

But I want to be the yes mom.  I want to take very opportunity I can to give them a yes and not a no- if there is no reason why I need to say no. I'm not talking about over-indulging my children, just sending them the message that every good thing at a good time is a "yes".

It reminds me of my current "season" of life.  I'm calling it the "No, Not Now" season.  I go to my Father in Heaven and say "Can I....?" and I keep getting the same answer.  No, not now Stephanie.  It really stinks to hear "no" all the time.  I've got a list of specific requests, and the answer is the same for all of them.  I've got some not-so-specific requests.  The answer seems the same.

No, not now.

But this is what I'm learning.  God's not just giving me a "no".  It's a "no, not now."  By answering me this way, He tells me it just isn't time for what I'm asking.  It's not a no for all time, just for now.  And the thing I can be sure of is that my perfect Father in heaven, giver of all good gifts, the one who has made all things "yes" in Christ Jesus, doesn't give out nos unless he has to.  A no means only a few things coming from God- that what I am asking for isn't good for me or that he's got something so much better for me than what I'm asking for.  At a better time.  In a better way.

He doesn't say no because he's tired of me asking.  Quite the opposite, he never gets tired of me asking for anything. He doesn't tune me out.  He doesn't care if I'm asking for water to drink or candy to eat or a new car to drive or for things that go way deeper than that.

As a mom, I want my nos to be that same way.  Not automatic.  But for a reason.  Because there is a promise of something better.  Or because what they want just isn't good for them.  I want to teach them how good God is and take every opportunity to say "yes".  Even to a piece of candy now and then.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Standing Where?

It's easier to stand on principle than it is grace.

It's easy to condemn government programs that help the poor or needy when you've never been poor or needy enough to use them.

It's easy to assume the sick person doesn't take care of himself.

It's easy to hate capitalism and the greedy CEOs who won't give in to a strike.

And just as easy to hate those socialist union workers who are lazy bums who'd rather live off unemployment.

It's easy to say those people weren't born that way so they just need to straighten themselves out.

It's easy to stand against abortion and then refuse to help the single mother who is struggling to provide for her child.

It's easy to condemn your President instead of praying for him.

It's easy to say "Come quickly Lord and save us from this filthy generation!" and forget the millions who don't even know the Lord.

It's easy to get up on your soapbox and spit on the people below you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't stand.

I'm asking you to remember the grace in which you stand.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Doesn't Come Naturally

I'm not naturally predisposed to crafting.  I did a little bit of cross stitch as a girl. People tried in vain to teach me to crochet and knit.   I have to stick to sewing straight lines and, then again, they can hardly be called straight when I'm done with them.  I have neither the fine motor skills nor the patience.

I thought the same about cooking.

And raising children.

These things just don't come naturally.

Thank God you can learn.

My continuing education, the place I left off when I ditched college, has been in the school of marriage, home, and mothering.  My biggest spiritual lessons have been learned in this institution called Family.  My maturity continues to develop here.  My everyday and even my creative skills improve here.

I'm not crafty, but I die to myself and help my daughter make a dollhouse out of a cardboard box.  Never mind that we have two real dollhouses upstairs.  This one must be recycled.  And it must have a second floor.  She insists a piece of cardboard glued to the sides will hold.  I resist the urge to throw up my hands in frustration and go in search of something that will hold.  In the basement I find an old piece of paneling that looks about as perfect as can be for the second floor of a cardboard dollhouse.  I cut slits in the side of the box and my daughter squeals in delight as she realizes what I am doing.  We slide the piece of paneling into the slits and, in her words, "wah-la!".  Arts and crafts are the way to her heart.  To me this stuff is junk, to her it is a place to let her imagination run wild.

My son has been making movies for the past six months.  Let me be honest, they are terrible.  But only because I am the camera-mom.  Up until yesterday, all his movies were of Super Mario Brothers characters.  He uses stuffed animals to stand in for Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and the bad guy (what's his name?).  Each movie has a plot. Generally the bad guy attacks Mario and Luigi and the two brothers overcome him.  They often rescue Princess Peach.  He designs the "set" which stretches from the family room all the way into the kid's bathroom down the hall.  He creates traps.  I'm only supposed to film his hands and the characters, but I'm awful at this, especially as I chase the scene down the hall.  Yesterday he set up a Lego movie on the deck.  It was very cold out.  The movie was seven minutes long.  I wondered if it would ever end.  But I died to myself and tried extra hard to use some cool camera zooming effects to make his movie even better.  He thinks it's his best movie yet.

This is not natural.  Curling up with a book and reading all day is natural.

But I'm learning.

I learned to cook and now I love to do it.  I get a lot of joy from creating wholesome, satisfying meals for my family and others.  I buy helpful tools or request them as gifts.  My rice cooker and bread machine make up for my deficit in creating both from "scratch".  My citrus and garlic press get me fresh flavors with minimal work.  I do my share of book learning in this area, with cookbooks, food blogs, and magazines too.  I do have the skills and patience to cook.

I do have the skills and patience to raise children. It's not natural ability, it's learning.  I want to get more and more passionate about these kids God has given me. Study them.  Learn what they love and feed that passion in them the way I feed my passion for cooking (and food!).  There are tools that make this easier.  Craft and art supplies for my daughter; building toys for my son. Books, videos, good things that build them up.  And lots of time from me.  That can be the tool that "presses" me the most.  Three children, a home to take care of, a husband to save some energy for.  I don't naturally balance these things, but I'm learning.

Crafts aren't my thing.  But cooking?

And kids?

Let them be my thing.

Natural or not.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal for November 12th

  • In my life this week… I hope and pray for a normal schedule after a busy week of travelling and visiting, excursions outside the house, and company.  The introvert in me is ready to hibernate at least for a few days!

  • In our homeschool this week… We begin our study of European cultures and our first stop is Norway. My dad went to Norway when I was a kid and brought me home a Cabbage Patch kid from there with adoption papers in Norwegian.

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Take a holiday break!  

  • I am inspired by… the biography of Nate Saint I just finished reading to the kids. I've never read a lot of Christian hero biographies and they are so encouraging.  I am amazed at how God can work in circumstances, in governments, in cultures and in ways that we would never expect in our "ugly American" mindset.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… See above.  Nowhere for a few days, I hope!

  • My favorite thing this week was… Seeing many friends from back home, seeing the kids craft with Nana, and the great job the kiddos did at church running a bake sale to benefit Gospel for Asia.

  • What’s working/not working for us… Things are going so well this year. We have our days, but we have really found our groove.  

  • Things I’m working on… Christmas lists.  Would it gross anyone out to say that I'm nearly done shopping for the kids?  I really just want to relax and enjoy the Christmas season this year, so I do not want to find myself scouring Walmart for gifts during the crazy days before Christmas.

  • I’m reading… I am in between books. Although we begin the next book in the Kingdom Tales series today and the kids are so excited!

  • I’m cooking… Spaghetti with chicken Parmesan tonight.

  • I’m grateful for… the warmth of home.

  • I’m praying for… Our president.  He was not my choice to lead our nation, but I think it's time to stop complaining about him and put that energy in prayer.  It is only when I pray that I believe all things are possible.
So I'm used to daybooking on Mondays but I like the format of this Homeschool Mother's Journal better... but it's only open to link up Friday through Sunday.  So you won't find my link there, but you can find THEIR link here.