Friday, March 28, 2014

The Greatest Investment

I've always known it was important to encourage our children to have relationships with other Godly adults, but over the last couple of weeks I've been reminded that it's more than important. I've been reminded that these relationships are a true blessing from God.

This reminder came when each of my daughters received a special gift; a baby quilt lovingly hand-made by Ginnie.

Ginnie has been in my life since...well, since all my life. She has been and still is my dear friend and sister in Christ. She has been an example of what it is to invest yourself into the lives of people you love through Christian service in the church, on the mission field, in the public schools and at church camp. Her investments have touched my life in many ways, but none quite as special as those that have touched my children's lives as well. Ginnie...
  • Was Olivia's first Sunday school teacher; faithfully instilling the word of God in her toddler-heart.
  • Welcomed my children into her home when she hosted our lady's ministry meetings and I came with children in tow because John was on the night shift.
  • Used her gift for creativity and craftiness to provide fun craft projects for VBS.
  • Worked in the kitchen at church camp to provide food for my kids as well as the other hungry campers.
  • Prayed for my children.
  • Rejoiced with my children when they were baptized, graduated from high school, got married and as they became parents.
This brings me back to the quilts. The fact that my children have moved away from home did not diminish Ginnie's desire to continue investing in their lives. She invested her time and talent to convey her love for them and for their babies.

Making this sort of investment is something everyone should do. Even in the business of being a parent we need to take the time to invest ourselves into the lives of their friends and other young people. We need to let them know they matter 'just because' and that their needs and desires are concerning to us. We need to praise them for their accomplishments and hold them accountable when they fall. We need to mirror the heart of Jesus to them.

If you don't believe me, just ask my children. Yes, the quilts are lovely and special, but it's the reason for the quilts that matters most. So thank-you, Ginnie, Tessie, Willie and Ann, Albert and Dorothy, Charlie and Linda, Jack and Marge and several others who took the time to make an investment into the lives of our children because every smile, every word and every action helped to make them who they are today.

Now the question is...who will you invest in?


Momma D

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Little Work Never Hurts Anyone

My son, Zach, sent me a text message and a picture the other day that brought back a flood of memories. The text told me he had discovered one of his cows had calved, but that the calf had slid under the fence and was covered in snow. And so the challenges of raising a bottle calf began for Zach and Becca. But if you were to ask my granddaughters, Mackenzie and Macy, they would say the joys of raising a bottle calf had come their way. I say this because the picture Zach sent with his
message was a picture of Mackenzie and Macy with their new responsibility; both girls smiling from ear to ear.

Oh, the memories! Raising our four children on a farm gave them plenty of opportunities to enjoy responsibilities like Mackenzie and Macy have with the new calf. And I can honestly say they were always ready to take turns feeding the bottle calves we raised and the occasional lamb who needed a surrogate mom...or three or four.

Our children willingly (most of the time) did their daily chores, helped in the hay field, took their turn doing late-night lamb checks during lambing season and there was even that time I needed help tracking down a few goats along a major highway (thanks, Olivia). And through it all, we worked as a family.

Our children weren't perfect. There were times they didn't do what they were expected to do (especially when it came to pulling weeds). But they never resented the fact that they were expected to work. In fact, it gave them a sense of pride. They were proud they were able to do things other kids didn't know how to do. They were proud of the fact that they earned the money to buy their first car or truck, their insurance, cell phone and the little extras they wanted that didn't fit into our budget.

The lesson I want to leave you with in sharing my memories is that of responsibility. Children need responsibility. They should be expected to do regular chores and to help out around the house with the bigger jobs; jobs like cleaning out the garage, getting ready for a yard sale and yard work. Oh, and did I mention they need to do this without expecting to be paid for everything they do?

That's right. We didn't give our children a regular allowance. They did their chores because that's what being part of a family is all about--working together for the good of everyone. No, we didn't use our children as cheap child labor. They were never made to do things so that we wouldn't have to do anything. We taught them to be responsible by example--by working with them.

While our children didn't have everything they wanted (what child should?), they always had everything they needed and we supported them in their extra-curricular activities by making sure their fees were paid, equipment was purchased, practices were attended and that we were there to cheer them on.

Most importantly, however, they knew they were loved and that because we loved them we wanted to give them something more important than things. We wanted to give them the ability to make their own way and to be people of integrity.

Sadly there are way too many parents who feel that doing everything for their children instead of teaching them to do for themselves is to show them love. But a little work never hurt anyone...including a child. If you don't believe me, take a look around. You won't have to look very far to find a young person lacking in the area of responsibility and work ethics.

That chore chart is looking pretty good now, isn't it?


Momma D

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Because Momma D Says: Children Should be Seen AND Heard

Because Momma D Says: Children Should be Seen AND Heard: In the past children were not encouraged or even allowed to interject themselves into conversations between adults. It was expected that chi...

Children Should be Seen AND Heard

In the past children were not encouraged or even allowed to interject themselves into conversations between adults. It was expected that children would sit at the meal table in silence; eating everything on their plates (or being reminded of all the starving orphans...). Children weren't expected to speak without being given permission and they wouldn't dream of interrupting a conversation between adults.

Now while I'm not arguing against children having good great manners or against teaching children to have respect for their elders and those in authority, I am saying we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss our children. I'm saying we owe it to our children to make them feel validated; to let them know that their thoughts and opinions matter.

As a mother of four I have lived this countless times, but one of the best examples I've experienced that gets to the heart of what I'm saying didn't even come from me...

Raising our children in a small town had its ups and downs...good points as well as not-so-good ones. But one definite advantage was the fact that our church family was small and close-knit. Our four children were loved, talked to and listened to by everyone--including our preacher, Dave...

Sunday night church service consisted of a small gathering of members from our congregation to study a book of the Bible. This particular Sunday night was to be the first in a series on the book of James. Dave began the study by giving a brief introduction to the book. He started off by saying, "The book of James was written by James, the brother of Jesus."

Before he could say one more word, our three year-old daughter, Emma, who had been laying in the pew playing with her toys, sat straight up, looked right at Dave and said, "Well, Dave, I didn't know Jesus had a brother." Dave, not missing a beat, said, "Well Emma, he did. In fact he had four brothers and some sisters, too." Dave then picked up where he left off as if nothing out of the ordinary had taken place. And Emma, who was satisfied with the answer given her, returned to playing (and obviously listening) quietly.

Some of you might be thinking things like 'I'd be so embarrassed' or 'I would have made sure she knew not to ever do that again'. Not me and not anyone in the church building that night. No, to everyone there, Emma was simply a little girl who had a question that deserved an answer. She was not made to feel as if she had said or done anything wrong. She was not scowled at or thought to be rude or naughty. In fact, nearly everyone took the time to compliment her on being a good listener and wanting to know more.

My point is this...children are eager to please us and eager to learn from us. So why, as a parent, would you want to do anything to squelch that? Why would you want to ever give your child the impression that their thoughts and words did not matter or were not wanted? Oh I know there are times the sheer number of words that come from a preschooler each day are immeasurable and you feel your ears simply can't take much more. But trust me, all too soon those years are gone--replaced by teenagers and young adults who won't be nearly as eager to talk to you...UNLESS they've had plenty of practice and a captive and eager audience prior to reaching that stage in life.

So my challenge to you is this: Take the time each day to talk to, listen to and enjoy conversing with your children.


Momma D

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Because Momma D Says: I Just Love You So Much

Because Momma D Says: I Just Love You So Much: Have you ever been at a loss for words; you knew you should same something but you weren't sure of what that something should be. Of may...

I Just Love You So Much

Have you ever been at a loss for words; you knew you should same something but you weren't sure of what that something should be. Of maybe you've done just the opposite. You know, the old open-mouth-insert-foot routine?  So what do you do in situations like these?

You might remember your grandma or mom telling you as a child that 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'. Sound familiar? Now while I definitely agree with the concept of teaching our children to not say things that are hurtful and unkind, I think we need to take it a step farther. I think as parents we need to learn a lesson from my sweet, nearly three year-old granddaughter, Macy Scout...

Macy loves to talk on the phone. But let's face it-at 2 1/2 there isn't a whole lot for her to talk about. The dogs, the sheep and cows, what she and her sister have been doing, whether or not she's been in time-out that day, where Grandpa is (and wanting to talk to him).... You know, the normal stuff. But that's usually not enough for Macy-she wants more 'air time'. So what does she do? When she cannot think of anything else to say, she simply says, "I just lub you so, so much, Nanna."

I instantly respond with the same and then she says it again..."I just lub you so, so much, Nanna."

Doesn't that just melt your heart? It sure does mine! The point I want to make though, is this...

Instead of teaching our children to be silent rather than not say things that are rude or unkind, teach them to fill that silence with words that encourage, mend relationships, melt hearts and share God's love. If we teach our children to go that extra step and fill the silence with friendship and love there won't be near as much room for bullying, gossip and all those other hurtful things.


Momma D