While you were being a good mom 8/26/2011

I have really enjoyed collecting links to share with everyone. Here’s a fresh batch I gathered up this week while you were wondering what that shaking was and getting back in the swing of things.

Earthquake humor – Did you feel it? I didn’t. I am sad that I missed it and happy to be able to joke about it. These are some funny tweets that went out after the earthquake.

Parental Guidance –  I think I was born a mom. While my friends were singing along to Grease, I was watching and thinking how wrong the whole ending was. I believe in the beauty of having a shared pop culture with your kids and watching classic movies can be a big part of that. Just be sure to do your job and point out some of the seriously flawed messages found in all the fun. Be sure to click on page two to see all the bad movie messages, some of which never occurred to me.

Half Aborted – This article is from Slate. If you are not familiar with Slate, it is the blog for the Washington Post. The folks at Slate are usually so openly liberal that I can barely stand to read their headlines. In an effort to stay informed from all sources, I read Slate from to time. This article shocked me with its candid coverage of the hypocrisy that surfaces when the topic of elective reduction abortions is discussed, even among staunchly pro-choice advocates. As the writer says, “It exposes the equality between the offspring we raise and the offspring we abort.”

Alexa Meade – In this age of instant press for any new idea, seeing something truly new is getting very rare. This artwork was entirely new to me and  I love that it was created with the same tools that were always available. All that was needed was the creativity  and skill to change things up in a big way.

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While you were being a good mom 8/19/2011

This week was back-to-school time for most of us. Back-to-school for us means cracking down on the schedule and really trying to hit the books. We do school throughout the summer here but in a laid-back way. I have a 1st-grader, a 3rd-grader, a 6th-grader, and 10th-grader, and two in college. It didn’t seem daunting until I just typed that out. I managed to start school and find some great links this week. Here’s what I found while you were going back to school.

I hate tip lists – I am so tired of repetitive, uninspired lists of household tips that we have all read multiple times. I once read one that suggested using a different colored toothbrush for each member of the family! I ran to my husband right away with the news that we would no longer have to guess whose toothbrush was whose. So, I was impressed by this list with many ideas I had never seen before. They get really good around #19. Now, if I can just remember them when I need them.

Birth control pills and your love life – I have always been opposed to birth control pills for several personal reasons. Mostly, they make me feel like a crazy lady. This article brings up some problems I had never thought of and they are considerable. Now, I don’t believe in the strictly scientific approach to attraction and love between men and women found in this piece. I do think toying with hormones is a dangerous game. I have often wondered if the fruit on the forbidden tree was some sort of estrogen-based plant life. And to never have the um…great feelings that go along with ovulation once a month….no thank you.

Hand-written emails –  My handwriting is really not worth seeing but I love knowing that this is possible.

37 ways to Love One Another – this is a great list of the Bible verses about loving one another. Each one is daunting and humbling but Love is a command after all.

This kid’s got skills – I was sure this video would go viral on Facebook before I could share it, but I haven’t seen it out there yet. Even though I don’t recognize some of the songs, the mom in me is proud of his use of nerd skills that give him so much swagger while he plays. Watch him win over the cynical boys to the right of the screen.

Parenting and Laying out a Fleece

My eldest daughter is getting married in nine months. I can still remember walking out of the doctor’s office smiling as my view of myself and the world was shifting with the news of her impending arrival. Those nine months dragged on and on. I have been warned many times that these nine months will be a blur. I am not prepared to host an event that holds such promise and potential for disaster at the same time. I am, however, more prepared to hand her over to the man I know God has chosen for her.

As my children started getting older I wondered how in the world I would know who they should date and who they shouldn’t. Should they even date? When they marry, there’s a 100% chance the groom will have problems. How will I know the good from the bad, the normal dysfunction from the absolute deal-breakers? Will I even have any say in the matter?

When this daughter of ours was growing up, she was a very spiritual child. She loved God in an intuitive way. From an early age, she dealt with God directly, not through us. It was an amazing thing to witness and comforting to know that her foundation was solid. I used to tease that the boy who came around to date her would have to know his favorite verse in Amos in order to impress us and her.

So fast forward to when she was 19 and we were going to hear her new boyfriend preach. We had not heard him preach before and, between you and me, I was hoping the preaching thing was just a phase for him. You see, I knew she really liked this guy and I knew I didn’t want her to have to be a pastor’s wife. He started out with a welcome and a little humor and then he told us he would be preaching on one of his “favorite” verses in all the Bible, Amos 4:12. I can’t really explain what I felt when I heard him say that. I had not repeated the warning about Amos to anyone in over ten years. I had forgotten all about it. Then with those few words, the memory of it all rushed back and I was floored. Fortunately, he could not see my eyes from where he was preaching or he might have panicked at the sight of me fighting off the emotions that came along with it all.  It was my sign, my fleece  that I had not purposely laid out, to answer all my questions about what was best for this precious child. God was telling me that she is precious to Him too and He had this taken care of long ago.

It was very clear from the beginning of the sermon that this was no phase for him. He has the gift and the calling. I can’t tell you what the sermon was about or how he applied the words of that verse to his message that day, but I know I think about it often. When they are sitting around unable to pick a restaurant because they are both people-pleasers, I am tempted to worry about how this will play out in the many decisions that will be swirling around them so soon.  When I think of what a suburban girl she is and what a country boy he is, I wonder if I failed to prepare her for life with him. He had such a great upbringing – he knows how to do just about anything. I should have taught her to can or sew or something. These are the worries you start to give into, but I have the great comfort of knowing he is the one and they will be as prepared for marriage as anyone can be.

I realize it is only necessary for my daughter to be sure. Ultimately, it is her decision. But God lovingly gave me a special confirmation for my heart to make letting go of her easier. I have thought about purposely laying out the same kind of fleece for my other children so that I will be pleasantly surprised again. I’m not sure it would work the same way if I set it up purposely. Part of the beauty is the serendipity. All I can recommend is that we keep our eyes wide open and know our children so well that the sign God gives will be neon. We must also believe that He enjoys giving us gifts like this. If you do put out a fleece for this or any other area, remember that the sign Gideon asked for was supernatural. Don’t pick something that could possibly be coincidence. Only God can do such unlikely works. Set your bar high.

The sign God sent was for me, but the marriage they enter into will be theirs. My work, such as it was, will be done.  The life she will start will be separate from mine because she has always been, and will continue to be His child.

While you were being a good mom 8/12/2011

My week has flown by. How about yours? I got a new (to me) laptop this week and it is great to be portable and modern. I spent more time online this week, which is great for the Friday link-sharing party! Here is what I found while you were molding and scolding the leaders of tomorrow.

Mosquitoes –   Between the extreme heat and the mosquitoes, summer is just not fun anymore. According to this article, the answer lies in the bottom of your clothes hamper.

Lamentations of the Father –as in the father of a household, but it works for mothers as well. I read this before there was a world wide web to share it. It is timeless and hilarious and I find myself thinking of its contents often. It is long but you can add it to Favorites and savor it on the days when the kids are really getting to you.

the problem with romance in films

Romantic pornography – This is a contradiction in terms at first glance but the writer is trying to warn us against the emotional porn found in romantic comedies and novels. I thought I was immune until I read this. Ridiculous romance is not limited to Fabio and his bodice-wearing babes.

Now for some laughs –  Please don’t let me offend you by laughing at this video. If the people in it were trying to spread the Gospel, I would never laugh at them, no matter how awkward they are. I have researched it and found that they are from a California cult that encourages New Age and positive thinking with a dangerous mix of church-speak. When I first saw it I thought, no wonder people are scared of Christians if they think this is what we are like at church! Sorry to all my Facebook friends who saw this long ago. For me, it never gets old.

While you were being a good mom 8/5/2011

Here’s this Friday’s link sharing party. I wondered if I could keep this up, but I have had no trouble running into weird and entertaining, challenging and point-making stuff on the Web this week. Here’s what I was doing while you were being awesome.

Too much time on her hands – this site blew my mind. Definitely look at everything in the From Scratch section and then check out the other works of art if you dare. One is called “Tooth and Nail” so consider that your warning. I loved the moth and the lightbulb also.

amazing

 

Tim Challies –  I read this blog every day. His blog provided the inspiration for this feature on my blog. This article shows us how our attitudes can be patterned after God’s when we are dealing with people who are set against us. God woos us back to Him, so we should also attempt to win those who hurt others because they are hurting.

Tim Hawkins! –  Honestly I stalk Tim Hawkins so badly that I thought I had run out of new things to see. I saw him live with a group of friends at the South Carolina Home School Convention. I thought I would never recover. Here is a new clip that cracked me up.

Netflix Relief Fund –  Ok, this one hurt a little.  I did a lot of griping when Netflix raised their prices so this video is directed at me. I’m trying to be a good sport and take a joke.

never, and I mean never, say “never”

I have six children.  That means there are at least six things I said I would never do as a mom. Each time I would start a sentence with “I would never….”, then boom! I would be pregnant again with a child that was sure to do whatever I had just taken an oath against. 

Before I had children, I had many years worth of promises that I would never do what I saw others do with their children. As Raymond Duncan said, “The best substitute for experience is being sixteen.” I was nineteen when I had my first child, so I was three whole years smarter than that even!

It would take too long to name all the things I said I would never do at that time. God in His infinite mercy spared me on the first time around. He knew that my first child had enough strikes against her with such a young and prideful mom. He spared me from too much humbling, on her account. Of course, I believed things went well because I was so awesome.

There’s nothing like a second child to correct such an assumption. After having an idyllic life with one child who slept through the night at two months old and a tiny apartment that had nothing in it to clean, the other shoe (or baby in this case) dropped and it was on. This little cheeky girl would not sleep til one in the morning, no matter what genius things I did to her schedule. She still can’t sleep until one in the morning. It was a losing battle. She got into things, she made messes and she pitched fits. She was a different child and God was grinning down on us knowing this was only the beginning.

Let the Humbling Begin!

Without going into each child individually I will just tell you, if I spoke against it, they started doing it. Thumbsucker…check. Blankey toter….yep. Poop protester….oh yeah. I shopped around for specific pacifiers, I climbed on the floor in the night looking for said pacifier. I started calling pacifiers passies. I stopped washing them when they fell on the ground in a place I judged to be reasonably non-toxic.

I let them wear whatever they wanted, even when others might see them. I lost the battle against the word “fart”. I slowly found myself sleeping with a child in our bed during a difficult year of our lives. I nursed one of my children for two years and I wore a sling. I even started telling them “because I said so.” I’m not saying those things are bad things to do necessarily, just that I was haughty enough to claim I would never do them.

I’m not sure that the verse that says to judge not lest you be judged is about this kind of dynamic or not. I am constantly spreading the word of Grace, not judgment. I had very little grace towards other parents until I dealt with these things myself. Wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t take so much for us to shake our heads and say we don’t know what we would do in any given situation?

Women are especially guilty of judging each others parenting skills. So many things contribute to what we do and what we believe about parenting. Moms can be so afraid of condemnation that they don’t ask for help when they need it. We need to keep an open mind and an open heart towards other moms and support each other rather than tear each other down.

One of the hardest verses in all of the Bible: Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

This is the high standard to strive for. The verse about pride going before destruction also comes to mind, but let’s pray for God’s grace to spare our children from that one while we are raising His child.