Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Help Wanted...Help Needed

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the fact that I had my Granny by my side (literally and figuratively) as I experienced each stage of motherhood and even as I entered grandmother-hood. She was there to encourage, warn, share her experiences, be a living, breathing example and to invest herself in my experience and in the lives of my children. There were times when I thought she worried a bit too much-like every Sunday when the temperature was below 50 and she would check to see if my girls had on undershirts (they usually didn't). But those times paled in comparison to the countless times she made herself available to me physically and emotionally; like the times she... Cared for my family when I was on bed rest for pregnancy complications Read to the kids, sang with the kids and patiently fed my picky eaters Rushed right out when Elizabeth's hens laid their first eggs because Elizabeth wanted Granny to have all 2 of them Was a haven for Zach during cross country practice; providing a cold drink of water Came to all the kids' school and church programs Was a willing participant in games like beauty shop Patiently allowed two year-old Zach to make icing flowers for my sister's wedding cake (they were on there) And on and on the list could go. So why am I sharing these moments with you? Glad you asked. I share these memories in order that I might convey to you the importance of joining together with our fellow moms for the purpose of 'show and tell', encouragement and support. If you are a mom and/or grandma, be there for the young moms in your family, church family and even possibly your neighborhood. Let them know what they are doing right, that you are there when they need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend or a helping hand. Young moms need this. They crave it, but are sometimes afraid to ask (for fear of being thought a failure)or don't know how to ask. If you are a young mom living the life of snotty noses, snuggles and hugs, flour paste maps, lost gloves and trips to the ER, pick a mentor or two to help you along your way. Ask one or two women you admire if you can get their advice from time to time, ask them to reassure you that you aren't losing your mind, or if they could possibly come to your rescue from time to time. While I believe with all my heart that there is no replacement for mom and dad, both you and your children can benefit greatly from having the love and wisdom of an older more experienced mom in your lives. I know I wouldn't be the woman I am today if it weren't for my Granny and my children's lives wouldn't be as rich in love and memories if she had not been such an important part of their lives. Love, Momma D

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hide 'em In Your Heart

You know what they say about once you learn to ride a bike you never forget how...well, the same goes for embedding the word of God in your heart. When the kids were little we used to listen to this thing called a cassette tape. It was filled with scripture verses put to music by the talented Christian music artist, Steve Green. We sang them all the time. I used them in children's church, as well; even writing an entire musical program built around those spirit-filled songs. Anyway... As the kids got older we didn't spend nearly as much time singing those songs, but whenever certain things would happen, the kids would start singing one of those songs (appropriate to the situation). That's what happened the day Olivia and a friend had a car accident. I was in the grocery store when my phone rang. It was Olivia crying and saying she and a friend had been in a car accident on the way home from a school function. She wanted me and she wanted me NOW! I cannot even begin to tell you how my heart ached at that moment, but the logistics of the situation made it impossible for me to be there right now. As I continued to talk to her...trying to calm her down while they were waiting for help to arrive, she asked me to sing the 'when I am afraid' song. The song Olivia was referring to was the song, "When I am Afraid I will Trust in You"-Psalm 56:3 put to music. We started singing it together which greatly calmed us both down until I could get to her. That simple little tune filled with words of the psalmist-giving praise and thanks to God-was 'just' a song when she was three. But twelve years later they were the words that brought her comfort and assurance that the trust she was singing about was relevant and true. The lesson here is that these little, seemingly insignificant things we do with our children aren't so insignificant. As parents it is our job to give them the tools and resources they need to grow and mature in their relationship with God right from the start; making it a part of who they are...hiding them in their hearts. Love, Momma D

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's a Great Day to be Alive

Back in the winter of 2000, Travis Tritt released the hit song, "It's a Great Day to be Alive". It goes something like this... "It's a great day to be alive; I know the sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes; There's some hard times in the neighborhood; But why can't every day be just this good.... You may or may not remember the song, but I know I will never forget it. Here's why... My daughter, Emma, loves to sing and has always had a knack for picking up the lyrics to every song she hears almost immediately-this song included. Anyway...one day in the summer of 2001, when Emma was five, I instructed her to get out of the swimming pool and dry off while I started fixing dinner. Emma's mode of drying off was usually the swing set, so off she went. She loved to swing just as high as she could; her long hair trailing behind her. But she didn't just swing. She usually sang while she was sailing through the air. And yep, you guessed it...as I worked in the kitchen getting dinner, I was serenaded by Emma; singing "It's a Great Day to be Alive" at the top of her lungs. But Emma wasn't just singing the song...she believed the song. I can still hear that little voice and see that Little Mermaid swimming suit flying through the air. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. She believed with her whole being that it really was a great day to be alive. She was safe, happy, loved, secure...everything a child deserves to be. As parents our goal should be to make every day a great day for our children to be alive. No, not by giving them everything they think they want and need. No, not by working non-stop to be able to take them on exotic or expensive vacations. No, not by providing them with a house so big you have to look to find one another. As parents our goal should be to make every day a day our children know for sure and for certain that they are safe, happy, loved, secure...everything a child deserves to be. Why? Because Momma D says so. Love, Momma D

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

They are Watching...and Listening to YOU!

My daughter, Olivia, called this morning to tell me the latest cute thing Reuben had done. Here is what she had to say... Reuben, who just turned 13 months old, was sitting in his high chair eating toast for breakfast. The television was on and a commercial came on for (I don't remember what). The commercial ends with a group of people clapping. Rueben, who couldn't see the television, heard the clapping, put his toast down on his tray and began to clap right along with them. Ahh, isn't that cute. Of course it is! And being the loving nanna that I am, I laughed and agreed that he's one adorable kid. But then I thought about this... How often do we, as parents, say or do things at home or in public that we think no one sees or hears. Or maybe we intend for others to see and hear them...but not our children. Hhhmmm...that's not such a pleasant thought, is it? Let's face it, we've all had a few of those do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do moments. But these have to be the exception to the rule...slip-ups that happen on rare occasions because we...well, because we are human. Our kids are watching and listening to us. Even when they get past that stage of thinking we walk on water, they are listening and watching us. They want someone to look up to...someone to pattern their behaviors after...someone they can emulate. And that someone is you! Think about it...haven't you seen yourself or heard yourself do or say something your parents did or said? Your children are looking at you and looking up to you. Give the someone worth watching and listening to. Give them parents who love and serve the Lord and who live a life of honor, integrity and faith 24/7. Well, what do you think? When have you experienced this with your kids? Love, Momma D

Friday, January 3, 2014

Your Terms...Your Turf

One of the most difficult jobs a parent has is to teach their children the difference between choosing the wrong friends and being kind and considerate to everyone-as Jesus calls us to do. Am I right? While we don't want our children to think they are better than someone else or too good to be someone's friend, we have the responsibility to teach them to be discerning in who they spend their time with.

The Bible provides numerous warnings and instructions in this area. The one I'll focus on here, however, is Jesus' time spent eating with the tax collectors and other reprobates of the time. The Pharisees were quick to admonish him, to which he replied that sick people needed a doctor-not those who were well.

I cannot tell you how many times I've heard my kids and kids who I love as if they were my own, try to use this as an excuse for spending time with people and in places they shouldn't. You know what I mean...

"I'll be there to make sure so-and-so doesn't do anything."
"I can go but not drink."
"Just because I hang out with them doesn't mean I am like them."

WRONG! Sure they might be able to pull this off a time or two (or maybe three), but if you spend enough time in the sun you are going to get burned. You are what you eat. Or whatever other saying you wish to insert here....

Jesus didn't hang out with the tax collectors and other sinners to make change for them or to be their sober chauffer. He went to them, told them what he had to offer and why it was so much better than what they had and then told them to follow him. Oh, and then he left. In other words...His terms...His turf.

SO....if your children are forming friendships with children who are lacking in discipline, parental guidance and strong moral and ethical teaching, don't push them out of your child's life. Instead, welcome them into YOURS, as well. Give them a safe place to play. Let them see what a loving, Godly home and life is like. Bring them onto your child's turf and teach them to set the terms of friendship in such a way that your home's expectations and rules will not be compromised. In doing so, you will be teaching your children to be salt and light for Jesus.