Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When You Go into a Ditch Say a Prayer

Several years ago (27 to be exact), we were traveling along snowy roads in order to spend Christmas with family. As the snowfall became heavier and heavier, the roads became slicker and slicker. So much so, that when the car in front of us started sliding, we had no choice but to try to avoid hitting them. When my husband began pumping the brakes, we also slid...right into the ditch.

Seconds after we stopped, our 3 year old son began to sing (to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It") "If you go into the ditch say a prayer....".

Thankfully we were able to drive right out and go on our way. There wasn't even a scratch on the car.
No, this isn't a lesson in defensive driving. My purpose in sharing this memory with you is to impress upon you as parents and grandparents how important it is to LIVE Jesus Christ; making your faith who you are not just something you do. As parents and grandparents we need to raise our little ones up to instinctively go to the Savior first of all in any and all situations.

How do you do that? Glad you asked. You teach by example. Let your light shine before them to bring glory to our Father in heaven.

I'd like to say that by doing so you have the assurance your children will follow suit. It is every Godly parent's hope and prayer that they do, but there will come a time when they will choose for themselves who they will serve. If they choose to serve the Lord, give thanks! If, however, they wander away, consider this time their time of 'sliding into the ditch'. And in those times, follow 3 year-old Zach's advice and say a prayer. Say lots of prayers.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

They See So Much More

They See So Much More
Tucked into one of the interior pockets of a purse my daughter gave me for my birthday one year, was a note. In the note she told me she loved me and was thankful for our relationship and that I was her mom. While it was nice to read these words, the words that left the greatest impression were the following...
"Mom, I am so proud of you. I don't know who you see when you look in the mirror, but when I look at you I see a woman who is strong, smart, beautiful and who loves God and her family with her whole heart. You are such an example to me and I hope that someday I will be just like you."
Wow! Does she really see all that? I was both happy and humbled. I was happy because she was seeing in me the mom and woman I wanted to be. I was humbled because she was seeing in me the mom and woman I wanted to be.
Do you think about what it is your children see when they look at you? You'd better, because they are looking even when/if you don't think so. And their vision is 20/20 when it comes to seeing who you really are. They see deep down into your real self. They know the difference between who you are at home and who you are in public. They know your phone voice vs. your real voice. They know if you parent by example or are the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of parent.
Oh, and one more thing...your children don't stop looking once they leave home. In fact, they usually start looking closer and more intently once they leave home for college and to strike out on their own. So take a few minutes to stand in front of the mirror (the kind that allows you to see yourself from the inside out). Do you like what your kids are seeing?

Momma D

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Look at All That Christmas

All That Christmas

When my granddaughter, Mackenzie, was about 17 months old, we were waiting in the drive-thru line at the bank. Sitting in her car seat, Mackenzie spied the window of a gift/interior decorating shop across the street from where we were. The window was filled with Christmas decor; an elegantly decorated tree, Santa, wreathes...you name it, it was there. There was even a mock fireplace with stockings all hung with care. 

Mackenzie, who had been chattering away (as usual) stopped in mid-sentence, took a deep breath and said in a voice filled with awe and wonder..."Nanna, just look at that. Just look at all that Christmas."

I will  never forget the softness and sweetness of those words and the look on her sweet little face. She was totally captivated. I'm get all teary-eyed just thinking about it.

I'm sure a lot of you have memories of moments like that, as well. But I want to remind you that Christmas isn't the only time we parents (and grandparents) should be filling our children's lives with beauty and a sense of wonder.  

As parents, it should be our heart's desire to fill our children's lives with awe and wonder every single day. We should strive daily to keep their lives wise but innocent. Don't allow their childhood to become tainted with fears, anger, emotional pain and heartache. A child shouldn't have to worry about what is waiting for them at home or whether or not you have their back at school. They shouldn't have to worry about bullies and taunting at home or anywhere else. They need to know that they are loved and protected; treated with as more TLC than any glass bulb hung on a Christmas tree ever would be. 

Momma D

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Move Over, Barbie...Betty Spaghetti is on the Scene

Betty Spaghetti was a bendable doll made of rubber and plastic. She was perky and colorful and her feet, hands and shoes were removable so they could be replaced with some that were even perkier and more colorful.

Her hair, legs and arms were rubbery and twistable (ergo the name, Betty Spaghetti) and could be shaped into a plethora  of styles and positions.

Take that, Barbie! I'd like to see you twist your unrealistically perfect legs into a figure eight! And I bet you can't make the letter 'S' with your arms like Betty Spaghetti. Oh, and Betty's hair never looked like she just went through a wind tunnel.  
At this point you may be wondering why I'm singing the praises of Betty Spaghetti. Well, wonder no more...

As parents we need to encourage our children to be more like Betty Spaghetti. We need to let them bend and twist to become who THEY are (that whole move to the beat of their own drum philosophy). We need to be careful not to push or allow them to put on the rigid, hard exterior of what society views as the perfect (Barbie-like) child or teen.

In letting our children bend and twist into their own personality, we give them the gift of being happy and confident in who they are. If, however, we push or allow conformity to the world's unrealistic expectations, they'll end up feeling inadequate and convinced they will never measure up or be good enough. They'll snap like a piece of hard, uncooked spaghetti at the first sign of stress.

Just like spaghetti (the kind we eat) has to be immersed into hot water before it can be softened into what it is supposed to be, as parents, we need to bathe our children in the warmth of love, security and grace to bend, twist and navigate through life being the wonderful, unique individual they are.


Momma D

                      Copyright 2015 Darla Noble No part of this blog can be copied or used without permission from the author



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mr. Magorium knows what he's talking about

In the movie, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Dustin Hoffman plays Mr. Magorium; the owner of a somewhat magical toy store. Mr. Magorium, who is 243 year old, is preparing to die. In doing so he leaves the toy store to Molly Mahoney, the young woman who has been his friend and assistant since she was a child.

But Molly doesn't want to accept that Mr. Magorium is going to die. Nor does she think she is capable of taking over the toy store. In fact, she doesn't think she is capable of doing much of anything. Feeling insecure about who she is and what the future holds for her, Mr. Magorium has these final words of encouragement and wisdom for Molly...Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

As a parent, there are few things we could say to our children that have as much potential to encourage and embolden them to aspire to be who they were created to be as those two sentences: Your life is an occasion. Rise to it. As parents we have been given the privilege and responsibility to help our children discover who they are, what they are passionate about, what they excel at and most of all, how to grow to be the best 'them' they can be. It is also our privilege and responsibility as parents to provide our children the opportunities and resources to do these things.

The occasion of your children's lives may not look like you think it should, or be a life you would choose for them...or even yourself. But if your children are happy, self-sufficient, and people of integrity, then I think it is safe to say they are rising to the occasion of their life. And that means as a parent, you have risen to the occasion of your life, too.

Momma D

Monday, September 30, 2013

Turtle Time

Laney is seven months old but there is already so much we know about her. We know she has the biggest and bluest eyes in the county. Frank Sinatra doesn't have anything on this little gal. We also know she is extremely lactose intolerant, that she is a visual learner, is attached to her blanket and her pacifier and...

that she has an intense love of animals. You heard me-at the ripe old age of seven months, Laney Beth has a way with animals. She loves them and they love her. Case in point...

While taking a hike through the woods, Laney and her mommy (my daughter) and daddy, they crossed paths with turtle. Having been raised with a menagerie of pets, herself, my daughter didn't hesitate to pick the turtle up and show it to her daughter. Nothing earth-shaking about that, I know. But here is the rest of the story...

The turtle didn't scoot inside its shell when she picked it up. The turtle, neck extended, went eye-to-eye with Laney. Laney immediately giggled and squealed and reached for the turtle. She touched its shell, it's head and then took its little foot in her hand. And still the turtle did not run and hide. In fact, my son in-law had to carefully pry her hand from the turtle's foot so she didn't hurt it by squeezing too hard. Once he did, my daughter allowed Laney to give the turtle a good-bye kiss on the shell before putting him down on the ground to be on his way.

So what's this got to do with parenting? Glad you asked.

God creates each of us with our own intricate heart, body, soul and mind. He places within each of us passions, talents and abilities which are meant to be fostered and fulfilled. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep an eye out for your child's passions, talents and abilities; to pick up on what they are, provide outlets for their development and to encourage your children to thrive and aspire to the person God made them to be.

Sometimes we may not understand our child's passion or be able to relate to it (them) very well, but if for no other reason than L-O-V-E, you should be ready, willing and able to appreciate them.


Momma D

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Adoption is one continual bout of morning sickness

Would you like to know where I am going in a few hours? Good, because I'm going to tell you anyway. I am going to the airport with my husband to welcome home our daughter, son in-law and our new grandson!

You may be thinking-no big deal. Parents greet their children and grandchildren at the airport every single day. You're right, they do. But this is an extra-special day because Reuben's journey home has been a quite an ordeal.

Reuben was born in Taiwan to a young woman who had no desire to be saddled with a child. As a matter of fact, if she'd not been in jail when she learned she was pregnant, she would have aborted him. Abortions are common and readily-accepted in Taiwan, but the government won't pay for them; as would have been her case because she was incarcerated.

When the young woman's mother found out her daughter was pregnant, she told her she knew just exactly what they should do. She said they should contact the missionaries who had raised her from the time she was barley a year old until she was eighteen. "They will know just who to give this child to," she said. And so they did-contact the missionaries who had made the orphanage their life's ministry.

It just so happens I have known these same missionaries for many years, so when My daughter and son in-law decided to begin the process of adoption, I pointed them in that direction.

The elation of receiving the phone call that they had a son (just two weeks after his birth) was quickly buried under paper work, blood tests, lost paper work, trips to the embassy office in the states, more paper work, more lost paper work...finally a trip to Taiwan to meet their now-six month old son; only to have to leave him until more paperwork could be completed.

Then finally the call came that they could return to Taiwan to bring Reuben, who is now nine months old, home. So tonight he will really and truly finally be home.

As a mother it has been painful to watch my 'baby' go through so much to have her baby. It's not at all like pregnancy. Yes, it ironically took nine months, but those nine months were spent missing out on her son's life instead of physically making her son.

My point? My point is to remind you that too many people consider adoption easy or a quick-fix for having a baby. My daughter had several comments made to her about 'escaping morning sickness' or 'taking the easy way out and skipping the labor pain'. Wrong! Adoptive parents go through months and months of morning sickness and labor-sometimes even years!

So be mindful of adoptive parents and their feelings. Be compassionate and most of all, be sure to give them all the love, attention and special treatment parents of newborns receive.

Momma D

The 'just because' kind of love

There is nothing a child wants any more in this world than to know they are loved. Not loved because they are cute or because they made a goal the first time they played soccer. Not loved because they get the lead role in the school play or because they memorized the most Bible verses in Sunday School. Not loved because they are going to carry on the family business or because they graduated with honors. Every child longs...needs...deserves to be loved just because.

Most people will call this 'unconditional love'. I call it 'Granny love'. I call it Granny love because it's the kind of love I grew up with-the kind Granny loved me with from the day I was born until the day she died last October.

When people would comment about the obvious closeness of our relationship I would often laugh and say, "She couldn't or wouldn't love me any less if I was a serial killer." I'd say it laughingly, but I can't even begin to explain how good it felt...how comforting it was to know that was there.

The last several years of Granny's life left her unable to remember almost everything-everything but who I was and how much we loved one another. It made me sad to deal with the disappearance of her memory and simple life-skills, but it was always a blessing and an honor to do so. It made me sad to see the frustration and fear in her eyes; knowing she should remember something...but didn't. But it was easy for me to fill in the gaps and keep going. It was easy because it was all done with and because of love.

What hasn't been easy is going on without the Granny love I'd had for so long; fifty-two years, to be exact. I was laying on the bed beside Granny when she took her last breath on my fifty-second birthday last October. I know in my head and in my heart that she is free from all she'd endured over the last several years. I know in my head and heart that I will see her again in Heaven. But I also know that no matter how old you are, you never really quit being a child when it comes to needing and desiring 'just because' kind of love-Granny love.

Knowing that Granny love is gone has left a hole in my heart that no one-not even my husband, kids or grandkids can fill. That space was there only for her and I.

While I certainly don't claim to be the perfect mom, my four children will tell you that if they know nothing else at the end of the day they know one thing...that Mom loves them 'Granny style'. They know there is a place in their hearts and mine that is only for me and them. It's a place that will never shrink or go away.

As a parent, you owe it to your children to carve out that Granny love space in their hearts. You owe it to them to give them the peace and comfort of knowing that even if they were a serial killer you would love them to the moon and back.

Love always,
Momma D