Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'tis the season.

Seasons come and go. Some are full of happiness and excitement when all is well. Some are full of sorrow and disappointment when all is not well.

I've seen lots of seasons and have learned to accept them as they come along. It's the stuff life is made of.

Yet, there is hope. We don't live in hopelessness. The sun rises every morning even when its cloudy and we can't see it. Without hope, the Bible tells us the heart is sick. There is nothing worse than living without hope.

Life can bring about some tough stuff. I haven't written in awhile because I have been dealing with some tough stuff and I have been needed as a mom. There have been moments when I cannot take hearing about one more person's hurting heart. But then I remember about hope.

Hope means that something good might come of this predicament we are in. It means that despite being kinda stuck in the world with all its moth-eaten and rust-corroded problems that leave us doing the same things everyday to keep on going is that God loves us so much He keeps placing sure footing in front of us -- even when we've screwed up. Hard to resist that kind of love.

There is an old song that says, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow". Whether you are a church goer or not, it is as sure as gravity. We don't see gravity but we see the affects of it. We don't see God but we see the affects of Him. The Master Designer created this world and all that is in it. Certainly, He knows all things. He sees the end from the beginning. Something.. someone bigger than us has the final say. And if you give up now, you just don't know what could happen tomorrow. Yeah, it could get worse, but it could get better.

One thing I've noted about the seasons in life is that there is a beginning and end. Nature speaks of this and it is applicable to our lives in a personal way.

The Christmas season is here and it's always a time for warm feelings as we gather with family and friends. In the midst of my sadness, there is the sparkle in my 9 year old's eyes that make me remember that life is worth living. Intermingled with the bad stuff there's some real good stuff, too. Look for it.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, the sun always comes out tomorrow. And if you're hurting, or your child is hurting, "Merry Christmas" is not for you. But knowing that God redeemed us when He sent Jesus, a baby who was predestined for death, wrapped in swaddling (grave) cloths with gifts of ointments (used for burial), there is reason to be at peace. There's even joy. Because when you trust God you relax. So much is out of our control.  The choices of others to be exact. And when we know God is with us, well, we have joy. Happiness is temporary. Joy is constant.

To every thing, there is a season. There's a beginning and a middle. But there is an end!

Monday, December 06, 2010

the wonder of christmas.

I bought this almost 20 years ago. Advent calendars (this one has ornaments that have the names of God with correlating information on His names) are a simple yet powerful way to keep Christ in Christmas. The ornaments are durable and each day we read the name of God and its history before placing the ornament on the tree.

One thing, though! When I looked this up online it came up on Amazon. It's out of print and ... sells for $200 and $100!

So, you may not want to purchase this particular one but look for it at yard sales. It's a keeper for the content ... but it's also valuable!

Friday, December 03, 2010

love notes.

In 1991, life hit in a way that I didn't know could happen to me. Why is it that we are never prepared? We always think it will "happen" to someone else.

I was deathly sick with morning/afternoon/night sickness with my 6th child. It was so bad I wore a TENS unit. At 10 weeks I had an ultrasound and also, my mother had been admitted to a university hospital, recovering from lack of oxygen as her organs were shutting down. She was in ICU for 7 weeks and never recovered. So, with severe nausea and fatigue, I managed some trips to the hospital which was 2 hours+ away.

At my 3rd month check-up, the doctor could not find a heartbeat. An u/s later that day revealed the baby had died. A week later, my mother died. I carried the baby for 2 weeks before miscarrying.

Life was hard. Too hard.

Yet, God is always with us. People get mad at God like He could do something about our situations. The way I look at it, we live in a broken world.  Tires go flat and we get the flu. We accept the fact that there's lots of maintaining in this world we live in. It's like it has to play out the ways its going to play out. Not that we cannot hope, ask, and believe.. but we have to accept what we cannot change or what is out of our control.

How do I know God is with us? Well, there are always these little personal love notes He sends at just the right time.

Going into Christmas that year was very difficult. I had 5 children, ages 2-10 at the time. I remember walking into a department store and in the Christmas aisle were little figurines to decorate the tree ... children figurines. And guess what I found? One that depicted each child perfectly!

A 10 year old looking boy throwing a snowball. Yup, that would be my oldest!

An 8 year old boy carrying a stack of wood. That fit number 2 son to a "T".

A 6 year old boy with a charming smile, holding a wreath. Perfect.

A little girl kneeling in the snow feeding a carrot to a rabbit. Nice.

And a toddler on a bicycle. Adorable.

It may not have meant anything to anyone else but it was just right for me to purchase these. Almost 20 years later, these are taken out of a safe place and placed on our Christmas tree. Added over the years I found 3 more representing the next 3 children.

I don't know what life holds for you but stuff happens. Just know that God is with you in the mom stuff.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

home is where the heart is.

Kids today have it really tough. Moms need to know that.

I don't believe there has ever been a time in history that the stress on their emotions (and ours) has been so difficult. Back in the day there was much more physical hard work that not only kept kids busy, but it was a way to cleanse their minds and lessen stress. We're wired to work and there is a reason for it. There is a feeling of fulfillment when we work. Kids today do not work. They have too much time on their hands. If they are not busy, the old adage "idle hands are the devil's workshop" applies.

Left to themselves, kids will find something to do and it often results in television and computer time which results in excess. There's an imbalance created when they are routinely fed by reality television,  defining who they are and their world view. Attitudes are imitated and brought into relationships resulting in over-the-top drama and stress.

Additionally,  the time spent on social networking, texting, instant chat/message, Facebook, Twitter ... hours and hours even into the wee hours of the morning sets them up for more imbalance.

Moms are managers of their homes and if you don't manage (not micro-manage) your kids' life they will certainly have unnecessary stress as they deal with the fall-out of excess. They are not equipped to do this alone. If mom is off doing her own thing, they are going to be left to figure it out alone. Many do not and I think it contributes to addictive behaviors, self injury, and suicide because of the rejection, bullying, and cruelty (which has been around since the beginning of time) is occurring more hours per day. That, along with more opportunities to compete in areas of appearance with the ease of digital photography and up-to-the-minute status updates exposes kids to more than kids have ever had to deal with. Without assistance, without guidance, kids left to their own will most likely not choose what is best for them.

Yet, it's not just setting boundaries. It's creating a home that is a refuge. This takes work. It doesn't just happen. It is forgoing your personal time. Yes, there is sacrifice involved and you've got it in you. I sincerely believe that kids need a safe place and what better than their home? And mom will have her eye on things, noting when something is amiss. You know your kids better than anyone. Some wear their hearts on their sleeve; others have to be drawn out. Either way, a home that is restful with a caring mother is more apt to help rather than hinder. Even if it's a strained relationship at times, the assurance of your ongoing presence in their lives is more important than they fully realize.

No one is going to notice the tear in your daughter's eye that she quickly wiped away, or the irritability that your son has lately, like you. And you have the goods to help. Even if we don't have the right words to say, our existence in the home provides stability to the instability caused by the stressful world we live in.

We all need peace from the noise. You don't have to have a perfectly run home. No one does. You just have to have a home that provides a refuge. The right words are not always going to be spoken. No every conflict will be resolved. But living in a peaceful home creates safety from the storms of life. Even if those storms are in your home at times, you can still create a refuge by setting the tone of caring, understanding, helping, and unconditional love.

Monday, November 22, 2010


My favorite people in history are the Pilgrims. I never tire of reading about them and telling my kids about them. They are examples of courage, endurance, and perseverance ... inspiring me to remember that life today has created alot of self-centered people.

What pregnant woman today would embark upon a wooden boat to travel across the ocean to an unknown land? And her baby was born on that boat.

It's imperative that we teach our children to live beyond today for the good of others and to live in a way that is larger than themselves. We may not be discovering new lands today, but we have our own personal conquests that must be claimed. Through it, we pass the baton to the next generation and teach them courage, endurance, and perseverance; all qualities that are necessary to preserve family and community.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

once a mom always a mom.

I have been needed with family matters and unable to write weekly.

Your children will always need guidance, even when they are adults. Tuck that in the back of your mind when you are with your little ones. Although the needs change they are always there. That's not a bad thing.

The principles I have lived by and taught my children are playing out right before my eyes. As young adults I see them building their lives on them. All the sacrifice, hard work, and tears were worth it. Because there is nothing more valuable in life than to walk in integrity no matter what happens to you.

Teach your children to choose right paths. They will be hit with storms in life ... but amidst sorrow, their heart will be strong and their mind at peace.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Not much talk today about sacrifice. We use it when it comes to the military, past and present, who sacrificed their lives for our country. It usually begins and ends there.

But there's a whole lot of personal sacrifice going on with everyday people like you and me. It's not readily noticed because to do so would diminish the very essence and intention of it.

Mothers are in this category. You are in this category.

If you are a mother of young children, you can be assured that your anchor is in place. You may feel that there is so much to learn and that's true. But the growth is not in the development of an anchor, you've already got one. It is the anchor going deeper until it finds complete stability. One day your children will grow up and lead lives of their own, requiring choices that are not yours. There will be happy times and sad times as you watch from a distance. It's easy to be happy when everyone around you does it the way you would. Not so easy when they don't. Especially if it's your kids.

Whether we realize it or not, being anchored, anchors them. We have spent 18 years advising, modeling, helping, teaching, guiding, sacrificing. The laying down of one's life has a cause and effect. It may not "speak" at this moment, but wait for it, it will speak. And for now, you may watch in sorrow and even horror at the choices your teenager and adult child makes. You continue to be that anchor. Steady, assured, dependable, and unmovable. God has designed you for this role and there is no greater privilege than to be a confident expression of this.

Don't lose heart, whatever you are facing. Be encouraged and go with your gut as you walk out each day. Above all things, love ... no matter what.  It is the greatest force on earth because real love is sacrificial, not dependent on the actions (or lack thereof) of the recipient. Avoiding, ignoring, disowning, escaping, and resisting will accomplish nothing. Decide now to face it head on. It is what it is. Now love. Love with an anchored strength that says, "No matter what I am here".

Monday, November 08, 2010

If you ever had a 9 year old boy you know what I mean. They want to be big boys and often let us know in many ways how big they are. But then there are those moments when you see the little boy innocence that you know one day will end.

My 9 year old likes to go out with his b-b gun and hunt pigeons. He's not afraid of snakes or frogs. He holds the door open for me. He is unusually attentive to my moods. I guess the baby of the family, the last of 8 children, has the opportunity to grow up a bit quicker.

But then he asks me, "Mom, can I ride the carousel?" He picks a black horse decorated with a red plume. He sits on it with such pride, around and around, and looks for me each time it circles. My eyes fill with tears as he smiles at me from ear to ear.

The end of innocence will come soon enough. But for now, I will bask in every moment as it comes.

Someone once told me, perhaps the brass ring everyone reaches for is the mother. I think it's true.

Friday, November 05, 2010


We all have them. Some of us are able to move on. Some of us are not. Most of us fall somewhere in-between.

Life happens to all of us and when we reconcile the fact that we live in a broken, imperfect world, we can find balance in not living with regret.

Elisabeth Elliot, a woman in her 80's, has been a mentor to me. Below are her thoughts about regret:


Title: Regrets

When my father was twelve years old he lost his left eye through disobedience. He had been forbidden to have firecrackers, but he sneaked out early in the morning of July 4, 1910, and, with the help of a
neighboring farmer, set off some dynamite caps. A piece of copper penetrated his eye.

Four years later my grandfather wrote this letter to my grandmother:


I am not one bit surprised that after all our experiences of the past four years you should suffer from sad memories, but I really do not believe for a moment that you should feel you have any occasion to let remorse bite into your life on account of Philip's accident. Surely we cannot guard against all the contingencies of this complex life, and no one who has poured out life as you have for each one of your children should let such regrets take hold.

None of us could be alive to the pressing needs of today if we should carry along with us the dark heaviness of any past, whether real or imagined. I know, dearest, that your Lord cannot wish anything of that sort for you, and I believe your steady, shining, and triumphant faith will lead you out through Him, into the richest experiences you have ever had. I believe that firmly.

I have had to turn to Him in helplessness today to overcome depression because of my failures. My Sunday School fiasco at Swarthmore bears down pretty hard. But that is not right. I must look ahead, and up, as you often tell me, and I will. I know how sickening remorse is, if anyone knows; yet I also know, as you do, the lift and relief of turning the whole matter over to Him. We must have more prayers and more study together, dearest. I haven't followed the impulses I have so often had in this.

Lovingly, your own Phil.

My grandfather was the most cheerful and serene man I knew in my childhood. It is hard for me to imagine his having had any cause for remorse or temptation to depression. This letter, which bears a two-cent stamp and a Philadelphia postmark, was sent to Grandma in Franconia, New Hampshire, where they had a lovely vacation house. I spent my childhood summers in that house. I can picture her sitting on the porch, perhaps on the anniversary of her son's accident, looking out toward Mounts
Lafayette, Bald, and Cannon, wrestling with the terrible thoughts of her own carelessness and failure. I thank God for my heritage. I thank Him for the word of His faithful servant Paul: "I concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, I go straight for the goal--my reward the honor of being called by God in Christ."


There is a "letting go" when you trust that God is with you.  There is peace of mind knowing that the buck does not stop with you.

Monday, November 01, 2010


There was a tsunami in Indonesia this past week. A 2 month old was discovered alive in a storm drain. An 18 month old was found clinging to a small clump of trees for 3 days.

Stories like this cause us to pull our children closer to us, and so we should.

Yet, I must prepare you dear mother. Because for now, you may have your little ones near your watchful eye. That is a comforting feeling. But one day, you will not.

Have you ever planted a vegetable garden? You can carefully till the soil until it's soft and pliable. You can choose the best seeds and the best plants. You can add fertilizer and water faithfully. You can watch over it with utmost diligence, pulling out every weed as it pops its head above the soil.

But what if a hail storm comes? What if crows scratch at the dirt and steal the seeds? What if a rabbit or deer nibble at the new plantings? What if a late frost comes and damages your hard work?

Life is as unpredictable as this. Sometimes we step back and feel the satisfaction of a job well done. Sometimes,  no matter what we did to do a job well done, circumstances beyond our control come along and bring destruction.

There are seasons in life. Our culture places too much emphasis on input - output. While there is merit to this, we cannot..should not.. put all our confidence in this or we will be very disappointed.

One day, your children will make choices that you do not agree with. You may have taught and modeled something entirely different and will be shocked the first time it happens. Don't. Because they will do it again!

Enjoy this time if you are a mom with young children. It will change. Not for the worse, just different. And you will find yourself growing along with them as they grow. We can put the tools in their hands, but they must choose how to use them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

the honeymoon is over!

Well, not really.

Having kids is like that first 1st year of marriage. Reality sets in. Same thing with having children. 'Cept I don't remember anyone talking about this in the context of children. So I will.

We tend to have romantic, fairy-tale, or Little House on the Prairie mindsets. And the American culture today with all the chick flicks and reality tv shows only serve to compound what I see as a problem. It's not real life.

When we're growing up we don't know this. In time, we do. Yet, it's already taken hold and flavors how we think, how we live, and what our goals are. Certainly a way of life can be admired and inspiring-- but somewhere along the way we have to find out what is right for our family. We don't all live in the same scene. Unless you personally know someone in an elite position, we would all be living in the same boat like the common people did back in the day.  There's strength in sameness. Either that, or misery likes company. : )

That said, it's way too easy to compare and that only distracts us.

There are wonderful moments in between the work. I don't have to tell you that. I remember dragging myself around the house with the stresses of unpaid bills and relationship challenges and then the 5 month old breaks into laughter because the 4 year old is making faces at him. Then suddenly, those stresses weighing heavily on me shatter into a million pieces.

Children are wonderful blessings but there is work involved. You may be exhausted with your little brood but the demands will never end. It changes but will go into their adulthood as they face the many challenges that you've already lived.

So, don't be surprised when what you thought .. changes. Nothing is wrong. It's life. Relax.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Sneaking a little blurb in here about patience in regard to writing.. and it's applicable to mothering, too.

Patience is the anchor that keeps me from wandering (or running) away from whatever circumstance I find myself in; whether in my newly developing writing career or being a mom. Life's lessons have taught me to be patient and that everything has a way of working out.

Writing happened quite by accident for me. As I look back over the last 6 years, I've seen the love of writing my thoughts about anything and everything in my blog turn into something much more that I had anticipated. Two years ago I found myself taking an online course Writing for Children. Next, I found myself at the Rochester, NY, annual Children's Book Fair. Then, winning two writing contests along with writing for an e-magazine.

When I completed my writing course and saw the list of links for resources I was completely overwhelmed. The first book that was recommended in that list was Writer Mama. Hmm. Good fit since that described me perfectly! I took that as a clue to stick with the author and follow her, along with a children's author. I haven't gone too far from these two authors since it's not humanly possible (at least for me right now) to have too many resources.

Impatience makes me expend energy that is often unproductive. I can tell when that happens because I am irritable. Feeling comfortable with who I am and how I am wired is one of the first steps in being patient. When you are comfortable with yourself you will be patient with yourself. It helps me to pace myself. It's a restful state of mind that provides more energy for writing and other things.

Recently, I have been submitting articles online and two articles kept getting returned to me for various grammar errors or wordiness. I was not happy by the 3rd reject and wanted to yell say, "What do you want from me?!" I caught my reaction and did not hop over to the forum to get my voice heard. I told myself, "Nope. You're going to receive this rejection, fix it, and resubmit!" And so I did.

A note for young moms: you'll always be a mother, but one day you may find new endeavors that you didn't even know you had in you come to fruition. Be patient!

you are the professional.

I cannot enforce this enough and I will continually beat this drum: you are the right mom for your kids.

Whether you are a young mom in her 20's or an older mom in her 50's (that would be me), we have been affected by the culture that has made us think we are somehow not equipped to be the authority for our children. I suppose Dr. Spock from the 1950's gets the flack for being at the forefront of bringing his professionalism to the table. Over the years I have seen unprecedented trends of taking more and more away from the individual and letting the "professionals" do it.

Listen up. No one knows your kids like you. God designed for you to be the final say, the authority. You know how something rises up inside of you when you have felt that line being crossed? There's a reason. It's almost sacred ground.

I'm not talking about yelling at the coach from the stands. I'm not talking about thinking your kids can do nothing wrong and being over-protective. I'm talking about the environment we live in today that has pushed its way into our families. We have to be aware.

There is a place for assistance. Yet, sometimes we may find ourselves second guessing our choices and decisions. Stop. You and your husband have the final say and it does not matter what others think. Establish that now and the "mom stuff" will be much easier.

Monday, October 18, 2010

get out of the rut.

When I began homeschooling, I had to make sure every base was covered. I was efficient with everything else I did and homeschool was no exception.

All subjects were covered thoroughly. If one of my children looked ahead to a story in their reader and wanted to read it I cringed. It was out of order! And no, I did not let them. If an interest was sparked in a science lesson it killed me to think that we would spend too much time there because we needed to move on and make sure the book was completed. Things had to be done a certain way because I was afraid I would miss teaching them something very important! Not only that, but the loose ends were not giving me a sense of accomplishment. I like finished projects.

Well, 24 years later I am very different. That's because I have a bird's eye view with a few graduated kids under my belt. I now know that yes, there is something to be said for being thorough, but kids are very resilient and learn in so many ways.

Take history for example. There's only so much American History. And throughout the elementary school years a child will keep learning the same thing with more information added in the older grades. Same thing with science. So it isn't going to hurt to take a month and take out wonderfully illustrated library books, go on field trips, watch a documentary series, or create art projects that will reinforce a topic. For instance, if you are reading a chapter in 4th grade about the Solar System and your child shows interest in the planets or the stars, then by all means do not go onto the next chapter! Have fun exploring for a few weeks.

In our culture, it is difficult for us to vary from the way things are normally done. Education is pretty much out of textbooks and is quite appealing to children who love to read and take tests. But even these children will benefit from hands on learning. Even if your child is in public school, you have an important place in the education of your child. It's not all up to the school or the "professionals" as if you do not have the credentials. No one loves your child the way you do and you will be surprised how much you have to offer.

Don't fall into a rut. Life is full of wonder and excitement. Schoolwork doesn't have to be mundane. Kids are not meant to conform to one way of learning. Relax and let much of it happen quite naturally. Just like you didn't have to teach your little one how to put one step in front of the other to walk, or how to move his mouth to chew his food, there's a lot of learning that naturally happens even in academics. Your enthusiasm and a little guidance will get them started in the right direction. Don't miss out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

KID Find

Reader's Digest Bible For Children: Timeless Stories From The Old And New Testament

Several years ago I came upon this Children's Bible at TJ Maxx. It was the illustrations that caught my attention. Your chid will get lost in how well the illustrator captured facial expressions. And the best part is the Israelites look Jewish. So does Jesus. 

A keeper.

Monday, October 11, 2010


"Apparently hand-clapping rhymes and songs are actually linked to cognitive skills. Research by Dr. Idit Sulkin, of the Ben-Gurion University Music Science Lab, found that young children who naturally play hand-clapping games are better spellers, have neater handwriting, and better overall writing skills."

This explains why I am good at spelling, handwriting, and better overall writing skills.

"A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
  to see what he could see, see see..."

Friday, October 08, 2010


Taking a break today from a  Mom Stuff post, although it is applicable to moms!

Today was my first day of real productivity in the writing world. Some time ago I realized that I like order but I am not naturally organized. Order is just coming into a situation and taking chaos and bringing.. well, order. I can do that easily. Organization requires a deeper level of thinking. I have had to learn to be organized to some extent but have finally accepted who I am and how I process. That doesn't mean there can't be some tweaking...just not a complete overhaul or nothing will get done since that will make me come to a screeching halt. We don't work well in ways we are not wired to work.

For instance, I know people who use daytimers and make lists. I cringe at the thought of it. I tried it and it doesn't work for me at all. I am a calendar gal. Everything is jotted down in that little square.

Also, I've always been good at keeping many things organized in my head. It's worked for managing 8 kids and the maple syrup business and more so why would I change it?  Simply put, we are a curious lot and we are good at looking over the fence to see how someone else is doing something. In time we will find that we are expending precious time and energy trying to be someone we are not. We aren't being true to ourselves in living the way we were created. Funny how we can be such a multi-faceted society yet we are attracted to sameness!

At any rate, I had to get the creativity and organization out of my head and in motion because I was not always seeing results in my new endeavor: writing. In order to do that I had to begin setting goals and be productive. At the same time, I had to be true to myself. And today I met my first goal with intended regularity: 2 hours on Friday mornings set aside for my "job". Writing. It's a start. And I feel really good.

That's not easy to do when you've been a mom for almost 30 years (and a homeschooing mom). But I have reached a time in my life when I can and should write. It took some "switching gears" since I've been in a kind of auto pilot for a long time.

So, my productivity is: one article completed and submitted today. And my goal is to continue writing 2 articles a month along with working on the books that have been in my head for over a year for 2 hours on Friday mornings. The next goal is to carve out the time for the an additional day or night for writing.

It won't get on paper until I do it. I know that now. And today really is the first day of the next part of my life. No longer will I feel that pit in my stomach with a new children's book published thinking how I have got to get going on my books. Because now I am working on my goals and being productive.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

round and round we go.

I recently wrote, "It's okay to do the same thing over and over again everyday." Creepy thought isn't it?

There is nothing wrong with routine. We are not spinning our wheels when life isn't that exciting. It's just that we live in a world that keeps us on an emotional high most of the time and we cannot function well if it slows down. Even if you are not so anxious to live life to the fullest, you will find yourself being swept up in the current.

Getting up every morning and doing the same mom stuff day in and day out is routine. There are highlights for sure. Yet you may find somewhere in the back of your mind that you are not really doing anything. You can read all the books and attend all the meetings but you have to find your own nitch and yes, encouragement.

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Listen. I know that no matter how much you are trying to believe it, it's still unbelievable that if you did nothing else but raise your children and serve your family that it is enough. If you lived 60 years ago it would have sufficed. But today, we are inundated by everyone's 2 cents and second guessing ourselves. 

Life really isn't that complicated.

There is something to be said for seizing the day but the key is moderation. The key is not to feel like you are a failure or a slouch or disqualified or not as good as someone else. 

     “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Thank-you, Dr. Suess.

Are you getting this? Isn't it glaring the requirements we place upon ourselves and others? Everyday we pull out the ruler and measure everything ... everything is viewed through a lens of performance and productivity. 

We all can't be leaders that are visible and blazing trails of productivity of major proportions. In fact, I think there are only a handful of those kinds of people and they are rare. Most of us are quieter and can lead right in our own homes, reproducing who we are and what we are all about to our children. And throughout the centuries, the beat goes on. The mom has the baby, the mom raises the baby, the mom points to the right path to live life.

And so it continues.

Routine, but not boring. Okay.. sometimes boring but interspersed are wonderful surprises because God is like that and He has made creation like that. That's why when we look at the moon for the thousandth time or we spot a cardinal against the white snow or the sound of the wind soothes our soul, we are able to continue on with contentment. Because while I am spoon feeding my 9 year old the same food that I fed 7 other children, I hear the gathering of geese, I see the colors changing outside the window, and I feel the chill of the breeze... the same routine things that have gone on all my life. And yet, they still bring warmth to my heart.

Don't be wasting time looking for something grand. Or you will miss out on the simple pleasures that are meant to be grand. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

KID Find

I won this book as my comment on the Writing For Children Center was added to other comments and my name was drawn along with 2 others. 

What caught my eye was the front cover. I think the illustrations of the book is equal in importance to the content. 

"This heartfelt tale begins with a ship sailing across the sea underneath the moon. From there, the fathers of all creatures great and small come home to their little ones. The dog father runs home to his little puppies; the father bird flies home to his little birds. Even the daddy longlegs creeps home to his little daddy longlegs! his simple, sweet story culminates with a sailor – the human father – coming home from the sea to his little boy." Shavounda White

 Margaret Wise Brown ever-so-simply tells a story of that special bond between father and child, and with it, sends a simple message even the smallest of children can understand…daddy will be home soon. With Stephen Savage’s bold colors and beautiful illustrations, this story will make bedtime or anytime a great time to bask in a father’s love.

I understand that this is not the best book for children who do not have daddy coming home to them. Yet, I think that perhaps there is still comfort in reading this to a fatherless child. I think there is a special place in God the Father's heart for the abandoned.
  Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will take care of me. Psalm 27:10

Friday, October 01, 2010

I'm bored!

I had an interesting conversation with a professor this week at the eMarketing conference. We were talking about shrinking attention spans, the rise of snack-size media, and the tyranny of output. “Never are we bored these days,” the professor said, referring to the over-supply of distraction. “That’s a problem,” he maintained, ”because boredom is the mother of creativity. There is no creativity without boredom.”

Credit goes to iPlot.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


 My 9 year old and I have been reading about the early explorers. For some reason, this was a personally interesting period for me when I was in fourth grade. I always remembered the names and what they discovered- John Cabot, Sir Francis Drake, Amerigo Vespucci, Ponce de Leon. I've decided that the retainment is simple: not only are saying the names fun, but by nature, I am an explorer. The kids watched me one night last week, binoculars in hand, trampling through the heavy, wet grass in the field trying to get a good view of Jupiter.

Today we wandered from the textbook and read a book that I have had here for many years, Discovery of the Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. (you know, the whole if mom feels like having fish for dinner we have fish for dinner thing) Significant attention is given to Ferdinand Magellan, who is attributed the honor of sailing around the world. Thing is, he never made it. He was ambushed in the Phillipines. So close to the finish line! Yet, 1 ship (after 5 at the start) and 18 men (after 250 at the start and their leader gone), they continued on. A lesser known man (to us), Juan Sebastian del Cano, sailed and with "the remaining crew were determined to complete the journey for their dead leader."

This whole ordeal took 3 years. It was hellish. Storms (hurricane season, unknown to them at the time), disease, death, hunger, thirst.. all overtook these men. Sure, there was wealth in their minds and the honor of bringing back to Spain their great feat and discoveries (such as present-day the Strait of Magellan). Yet, there was also a mindset to explore and discover. And Magellan, like Columbus and others, never knew the proportion of their sacrifice. In Magellan's case, his voyage caused the world to understand for the first time, how big the world was.

Two things strike me here. One being, the loyalty of del Cano and the remaining crew to carry the torch for Magellan. Lots to ponder about there.

Secondly, the sacrifices of men and women throughout history is incredibly inspiring. Chartering unknown territory, pioneering new ideas, continuing to blaze the trails our predecessors walked, takes some courage, vision, and an understanding of the bigger picture. Some, for personal gain. Yet most, for the benefit of others.

There are those named individuals who are known by all who get credit for their accomplishments and that is well deserved. The mother who lives on a rural road or a busy suburban street, who is sacrificing in ways unknown to the onlooker, for the benefit of her children and even more, the benefit of a society, is known by God. And she may never see what she has done. Her children may never "rise up and call her blessed". She may die before that happens and never see the promises that she clung to. Mothers are the unnamed who are routinely sowing their precious seed and believing there will be fruit. There will be. She may not ever see it's fulfillment. Nor does she know that her sacrifices join with many others that perhaps will preserve what little there is left of a society who lives self-governing lives, loving God and neighbor, and living peaceably as much as possible.

The scripture says, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. We have not sailed across the Atlantic amidst the fury of wind and waves. We have not suffered disease, sickness, nakedness, or famine without recourse. And it is less common today to lose a husband at sea or bury our dead children in makeshift graves. We have not suffered greatly for the benefit of another or a whole society.

We are tired when we have piles of laundry. We complain when we haven't been out of the house in a week. We wish for a better stove or more room in our house or new furniture. All saying, don't I deserve?

Some of us do lead lives untouched by severe difficulty. If you are one that falls in that group, by all means you should enjoy! Yet, keep in mind that there are others who are living below you in many ways. They, too, have blessings bestowed upon them but may carry within them their sacrifice or losses. In these instances, a cup of water is wonderfully appreciated.

Either way, mothers everywhere are heroes. Keep seeing the bigger picture and give yourself wholly to it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

You may see it. You may not. Either way, you have to be okay with it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lori Calabrese Review of the Golden Pathway by Donna McDine

Lori Calabrese Writes!: Would you risk an escape to freedom? "Many children learn about Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad, but how many stop to really think about the severity of a time cloude..."


My 9 year old was doing Bible Lifepac 402 this morning and I read with him about worry in Matthew 6. It's where Jesus was explaining how He feeds the birds and clothes the flowers and how much more He cares for us. And I thought, "Oh yeah.." as if I had remembered hearing that one time. Of course, like any mom would do, I expounded upon this truth helping my son to understand God's continual care and concern for us. And as I was speaking to him...I was speaking to me.

You know, it never will end don't you? You will never "arrive". In fact, I have been a mother for 29 years and I am less confident in me and more in God's ability. 

We live in a very productive oriented and driven society. If you don't have something in the works then you are not interesting or even successful. If you are not on some committee, volunteering in your church, bringing in a paycheck, taking a class.. you will get some raised eyebrows. 

I've grown up. I've discovered that if I try to make my square pegs fit in a round hole it's gonna hurt someone. So I stopped. Now, I take the solid you-can-go-to-the-bank with it truths and what-my-family-is- all about and lay the foundation of my home with that. From there, the building may not look like someone (or a lot of someones) house. I can no longer parrot status quo because it's regurgitating someone else's life experiences. The Apostle Paul pretty much addressed that tendency a few times. Wc can't and shouldn't compare too many notes with the unnecessary stuff that serves little purpose than to stress us (like moms and kids) out. 

Since God has created variety (one resource states that 800,000 insects have been discovered and it is believed that over 1 million have yet to be discovered!) we can surmise there will be variety in our families. If we fall prey to comparing and then set out to copy model someone else we will be miserable. 

So, don't worry. Placing undue emphasis on producing will drive you and your family into the ground. It's okay to do the same thing over and over again everyday. 

Now for the post:

I address the culture alot because a mom's job is to watch for the influences which affect their children. If Jesus were teaching this perhaps He would say something like, "doesn't nature itself speak of this?" The animal kingdom (except for those unfeeling reptiles!) reveals how the mother watches and protects at all cost (personal sacrifice). She also teaches and knows when to push the fledglings out of the nest (grow up). So, how much more do human mothers have the ability to be a mother? It's okay to watch out for your kids.

With the crazy amount of choices in television viewing, internet, social networking, video games, music, trends, and ideologies there's alot out there vying for our children's attention, time, affections, and loyalty. Constant vigil is utmost in the culture we live in today. And if the culture threatens to destroy the foundation we're building upon we have to refuse it. And you will decide what will or will not be and how much. That is your job. Because the culture is like the air. It's all around us. We cannot help but be in the middle of it. And if left unattended, the culture can and will speak loudly, forming and shaping your child's mind and views. 

Personally, I do not wish to create a 1950's atmosphere. Nor do I want to be the Little House on the Prairie, howbeit those time periods have endearing attributes. I am not opposed to culture, just the parts that are in direct opposition to timeless truths to live by and distract from creating the best atmosphere for maturing.

Almost daily, it's like I pull out a sword to combat the shallow, tantalizing, unstable parts of culture that come along. A statement made on television- slice! and truth is spoken. A self centered behavior- slice! and truth is spoken. The desire for entertainment to reduce boredom- slice! and truth is spoken. Honestly this is more tiring than making meals, changing diapers, laundry and homeschooling. Because the meal is eaten and the bottom is dry and the clothes are put away and the lessons are done. But resisting the culture may fall on a hardened heart or a deaf ear and the fruit may not be seen for years. Years! But if you believe in your truths you will continue despite. That's what faith is. And you find that you cannot possibly be solely responsible for this great feat. You learn that God has a part, too. Way bigger than ours.

Example: I never like to hear "I'm bored". My kids either will find something to do or else I will give them work to do or they will hear about the colonial days. This is resisting the culture that dazzles them with instant gratification.

When our children are young it is a more controlled atmosphere. But get ready. Your little brood is going to grow up. And while many will not give into the term "terrible twos" or "teenager", you can fool yourself but reality is there are changes going on during those years. And when they come you will find a huge transition in your life. Like labor, you will get through it! Your physical demands will turn to mental and emotional as the "I'm sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside" may just show itself very vividly, requiring lots of seemingly endless listening and discussions.  

Example: (8 years ago) "Mom, I bought a car on Ebay". WHAT?!?

But I wouldn't have done that. Either would his father. What gives?

What gives is that they have to grow up. And it won't necessarily look like you planned. Or what you taught. Or what you modeled. 

And in time, you worry less because it's not all up to you.

And in time, you have more peace because it's not all up to you.

And in time, you become more joyful because you have peace in knowing it's not all up to you.

And in time, you are more settled with who you are and who your children are.

And I hope you get this way before I did.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I had the privilege of listening to  Robert Andrews, who wrote The Family: God's Weapon for Victory speak at my church on Sunday morning.

He said something in his sermon that, once again, defies the culture. He explained that he never once heard his father say, "I love you".

But what came next may surprise you.

He continued to say, but I knew my father loved me.

How? In other ways. Such as the way he saw his dad's face light up when he saw his son.

You know, maybe that's all that some kids will get from a parent. Is it enough?

Since the early 70's or thereabouts, there came an explosion in our culture of a focus on self. Suddenly, we had rights and you better not infringe upon them! Self awareness led to self improvement and self esteem. Books, seminars, talk shows, magazines, television shows all got on board while everyone's personal lives were laid bare as people grappled with their insecurities. And often, the blame was placed on the mother or father.

Interestingly, the same proponents of empowering "self" seem to have not included the ability perhaps to continue this empowerment in the area of not allowing the past to have power over them. All this power is really cowardice. Empowerment really creates a big ego that is self centered and even selfish.

Mr. Andrews is in his early 70's and as many of his generation, is not hindered by the "new" ways of doing things. They see through it and thank God they do. Many of us have not lived to see what men and women of the 70+ generation has seen and their wisdom is valuable. They lived without all the bells and whistles and they survived.

So, here is a man who is not living as a victim because his father never uttered the words, "I love you". Here is a man who chose not to hold it against his father, nor did he choose to live with what the "self" culture almost always ends up with: self pity. I believe Mr. Andrews chose to honor and respect his father and mother like many of his generation understood before the radical anti-everything 60's came along and changed the culture and thus changed our thinking. With it has brought unprecedented rebellion and defiance against parents and authority. The lack of respect is glaring. It's not just "oh you're old fashioned", but down right cynicism, mocking, and devaluation.

We cannot allow the culture to form our children's minds. It is unstable and changeable as the trends wash upon our minds like the shoreline ebbs and flows. It is hard work to resist the current. While I am not trying to relive the 50's. I do want my kids to be relevant, Yet. I have to continue to find that fine line of sowing what is truth, everlasting, and ultimately, eternal. I can only hope and pray that those seeds find good soil in their hearts and take root.

to be continued...

Monday, September 20, 2010

walk this way.

Every family has particular values they live by. Whether recognized as such, values are based on a sense of right and wrong. Because definitions of right and wrong can vary, I have found the Bible to be utmost in my life...a book that hasn't been written in the last 150 years as some newer religions and their books claim.

There are absolutes contrary to what our culture says. And those absolutes may not necessarily give us the results in our lifetime. Sometimes, it will play out years after we are gone, in our children and grandchildren's lives and in our nation. That said, we cannot deter from values simply because "it didn't work for me". We, as so many of our predecessors have done, must think beyond ourselves and today.

While values are outlined clearly in the scripture (and by the way, the sense of right and wrong is written on our hearts - just look at the guilt on a 2 year old's face when he smacks his brother!), we will find variety in our families.

Yesterday, while shopping, I heard an elderly husband and wife talking: "I'm following this young man to the garden center", he told his wife with a tell-tale North Jersey accent. The wife "snapped" back but not really. I grew up in a suburb of NYC and I smiled since it brought me back. She was just talking the way that culture talks. To someone listening it may sound like they are being rude to each other but I knew it wasn't the case.

Variety is okay. Don't try to be someone you are not.

Secondly, if you don't teach values to your children I guarantee someone else will. We cannot assume that the "professionals" will do it. By that I mean teachers, counselors, coaches, other parents... you get the gist. God has given your children to you for a reason. You are the right mom.

I am almost 54 and have a 17, 15, and 9 year old at home. I thank God He has given me the ability to be very conscientious about my role as a mother. Because my kids are homeschooled, they are with me 24/7. Daily, I am still guiding and directing words and actions. This is way more difficult than teaching academics. It involves continual application in their chores, their relationships and their time.

I can tell you that by 7pm I am exhausted! But if not me, than who?

Keep in mind that 100 years ago and more that the "professionals" were not around. As a culture we have given up so much of our role and authority to others. The more we are influenced by our culture the more you will believe this. I am not suggesting we live as hermits. I am suggesting that as we entrust our children to others that we are careful to be involved with our oversight. In the background perhaps, but watching over our children.

As we grow in understanding we will grow in wisdom. Wisdom is the kind of thing that brings balance. It executes understanding with grace and yet, "nails" it. It's the thing that tells us to be a mother bear but how to be a wise mother bear. Our role doesn't give us the right to overprotect our kids to the point that they never grow up (think yelling at the ref from the stand or the school teacher).

Consider what your family values are and make them utmost in your responsibilities. You can provide a nice house, nice clothes, and healthy meals for your children. Yet, if values are nearly absent in our daily lives, it will hurt our kids more than if they had values without all the nice things.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

KID Find

I read this book to my 9 year old. It's beautifully written and illustrated. Written in 1940, the author, Robert Lawson, tells the story of his forefathers.

Front cover

Monday, September 13, 2010

love your children.

There is a scripture in the Bible in the book of Titus, chapter 2, that tells the older women to teach the younger women to love their children.

At first glance, this seems like an oxymoron. There is a bond between mother and child unlike any relationship in the world. No matter if you live in Mongolia or Manhattan, a mother's love is incredible.

So why would God address this?

It's pretty simple if you know the Bible. It's because God's love is not the same as our love. We have conditions. He does not.

Throughout the years of mothering there will be endless opportunities for sacrifice. The demands are unknown until you hold your newborn. Then, let the games begin! Sleepless nights, sore nipples and/or nightly feedings..the list goes on. Yet, the joy and fulfillment our children bring far outweigh the work.

We all have various tolerance levels. For instance, I like to teach so homeschool was a good fit for me. However, my strength and ability did hit the proverbial brick wall and that is when we find there is more to give that we either want or have within us. This is where loving your children comes in. As outlined in the scripture, love is not just a feeling. It is an action that is based on a choice to do whatever it takes. And since experience is on the side of older women, this is why God instructs us to teach the younger women.

There have and will continue to be plenty of opportunities for sacrifice. It's one thing to have to get up for 2 and 4am feedings. It's another thing to be drained mentally and emotionally for difficult situations involving your children that are not yet resolved or watching them make choices and decisions that you do not agree with.

When a mother realizes that her life is in service to her family, she is willing to take on the instruction to love her children (and husband, as Titus 2 says). In today's world with it's empowered women who have sat under the tutelage of feminism, mothers have to decide which path they will take.

I don't know about you, but I have to give it all I've got and then some. We aren't always going to see the results right away nor will we see it in our lifetime. We instruct our children for them, but we also instruct them for the whole of society, a nation, and the world.

There is a sense of deep fulfillment, one that I find cannot be tampered with when we live our lives based on principles and values that are timeless and based on truth. While I have seen me give it all only to find the results were sorrowful, I still have within me the fulfillment of having done all.

Moms, loving your child is hugging and laughing and cuddling. But it also is loving them no matter what.

And that, is God's love.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

let the games begin!

School is in session here and we've gradually made the transition to full steam ahead this week. That means no mercy in a few areas!

Academics are not the real job of homeschooling. Building character is. Any wise crack can sit down and do a math lesson and get an A+.  My goal is to help shape words, actions, and behavior based on timeless tried and true methods that are wrapped up in the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.

And let me say that your's truly can't just talk the talk but I have to walk the walk. Modeling it is everything.

Moms who's children attend public school have work to do, too. Sometimes I imagine it's more than mine. They have to battle so much more with their children being influenced 7 hours a day with people you don't know. It seems that the maintenance of preserving your values is a continual effort.

Either way, being a mom is hard work. For me, I have found my strength in my faith since the Bible has a lot to say about being a parent. It gives instruction that helps immensely and gives me the reason to get up every morning.

Stay the course!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

resisting the culture.

We are products of our environments. There is no doubt that our home life shapes us but I believe more so, our culture does the shaping if we let it. The generation who has children who's lives have been shaped by the 60's, a time of major social changes, has seen unprecedented changes. For the young person, the music was a powerful influence. The Viet Nam war era lended itself in bringing about a generation that was rebellious at every turn and their "make love not war" mantra, along with resisting "the establishment", vyed for young minds. You put a bunch of 13 - 17 year olds together in school for 7 hours a day for half a year for 6 years, you are going to have a powerful group emerging with the energy to be a powerful force.

Add to that the feminist movement, you've got a nuclear weapon.

I do not like to hear an adult child lash out at their mother or father. By now, I expect the adult child has lived long enough, or had a few children of his or her own, that the maturing process very naturally takes place. Eyes are opened to what life is all about and the realization sets in that their parents were not so stupid after all. Usually this happens in the mid twenties or thereabouts when the adult chlld is on their own. It's normal for teenagers to be self centered, selfish, rebellious, etc.  since they are growing up and the transition can be difficult. Yet, that should be outgrown as time goes on. If the demands are still there well into adulthood, then something isn't right.

Now, we can go in many different directions as we lead our lives.. what we will use as our compass. And just like there may be a handful of ways to tackle a building's foundation, there are many ways to lay the foundation of our lives. There are tried and true principles that are used in a building's foundation that are not varied much since it is extremely important that the foundation is sure and solid. Same with our lives. What kind of foundation do we lay?

The "culture" has been alive and well since the beginning of time; Sodom and Gomorrah, Rome, etc. And to the degree that we allow our culture to shape our lives, that is to the degree that we "may" have wandered from tried and true principles of a firm foundation. And like Jesus said, the man who builds his house on sand, when the storm comes, the house will fall.

We all weather storms. That's one thing that rich and poor, young and old, famous or unknown.. all have in common. None of the categories matter when you are in the storm. 'Cuz even the rich's money will someday run out, the young still grow weary, the famous cannot use their fame to carry them through. Only one thing matters: the foundation.

The feminist movement was and is huge. At it's worse, it is vicious. And to the degree that a woman has allowed herself to be influenced by it, that is the degree of viciousness. And a huge part of the viciousness is I see men cowering in the corner, fearful of "the woman scorned", giving into her every whim.

See, there are some things that are lesser on the scale of how it will hurt one personally or in a larger sense, a society. Feminism has caused an upheaval of great proportions affecting the backbone of society: the family. A mother working outside the home; away from the home for 40 hours a week.. is going to have a negative impact on the family and society. It has to. But the culture formed and shaped the woman as television became a huge part of our lives. Women who were watching the talk shows and buying the women's magazines and listening to how she deserves a break and I Am Woman Hear Me Roar and Harper Valley PTA traded their power for raising a family for a career.

This was also the self-esteem movement. Suddenly, people everywhere were finding out that they had low self-esteem and the "professionals" started blaming our parents. And this.. THIS.. is one thing that I cannot stand. It is a weak and feeble attempt for someone to pass the blame onto someone else instead of growing up, owning up, and being a man or woman. UNLESS A CHILD HAS BEEN LOCKED IN A ROOM, TORTURED, OR SEXUALLY MOLESTED OR RAPED BY THEIR MOTHER OR FATHER, THEN NO ADULT CHILD HAS ANY BUSINESS BLAMING A MOTHER OR FATHER FOR ANYTHING !!!! And if an adult child can forgive of these crimes against him or her, how much more can one forgive so much less?

Can you tell how strongly I feel about this??

It is the adult child's responsibility to grow up. And the self-help books, the therapists, the NONSENSE that has caused people to live a life of licking their wounds and throwing up any and every problem they have in their parents faces should GROW UP.

The 60's on upward has produced generations of whiney, bratty, selfish adults. I cannot imagine what these adults would be like if they were on the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic with their parents... or walking along side a covered wagon heading West after burying baby brother or Mom along the way... the list goes on.

How dare a parent be mocked, swore at, told to shut up, and more? Nine times out of ten it's not because the parent did something so horribly wrong.. and even then, there are those of us who have forgiven and not held it against them. It's because of the adult child's choices. Period. And God has given us all the ability to learn, understand, and apply wisdom to our lives. We have a choice to choose what kind of foundation we lay and which path we will take on our journey. We have a choice to be wise or foolish.

God says to honor your father and mother. This doesn't mean there isn't discussion about situations that have occurred that have brought pain to a parent or child. Yet, oftentimes, some things do not get resolved and one has to know how to move on. God sees all things and one day He will wipe away our tears the Bible says. But for now, you can talk to God about it all and He is the one who brings comfort and healing to our souls.

The first commandment with promise: that it will be well with you. That tells me that this is big stuff and what we have treated lightly has much more power than we know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you seen this? 

If not, you have got to. It's a wonderful depiction of following 4 babies from San Francisco, Africa, Mongolia, and Japan; newborn to 1 year. Outside of a few words spoken by the mother, the movie is essentially nothing but watching the babies grow in their environments.

The movie helps put much into perspective. One being, there's more than one way to do something, ie; raising a child.  The mothers in the film had the task of nurturing their children. The intended goal is practical in the sense of feeding, teaching, cleaning and nurturing; pretty much meeting their every need. To survive in the world they will live in, our job is to prepare them.

We want our children to be well and in order for that to happen we give them tools. The old adage is true- you can give a man a fish and it will last a day, but teaching him how to fish will last a lifetime.

That's what moms do.

I happen to believe a lot is already in a mom. Poor or wealthy, the U.S. or Africa, we've got the goods. Yet, beyond the practical basics of mothering listed above, we also help our children to choose good and right paths; tools in which to lead their lives. There's a lot vying for our attention that says: go this way. We have to determine what is good and right. Letting the culture or schools or Dr. Phil raise our kids is giving away what has been given to you.

What is the target you are aiming at? If it has merit, you will get up every morning with it in sight and have the energy it requires. If it is simply to get through this mom stuff so your child can be 18 and out on his or her own so you can have time for yourself, your days are going to be drudgery. You will not want to face each day.

The target has to be bigger than you.

Let's back up a bit. It seems redundant at times when you think of the generations over the centuries that are born, live, and die. What's the purpose? Well, there is much we do not understand about life. But what we do know is that life is both difficult and wonderful. And if we move away for a moment from the basics of life and death, there's a whole lot in-between that is quite fascinating. There are heroes, whether known or unknown, that have given up something for the benefit of the next generation in line.

Mankind is wired for progression and advancement. There is something almost sacred in us that understands this and how we must not only progress and advance, but keep the next generation in our mind. We are capable of sacrifice in order to carry this out.

For example, if it weren't for those who gave up their lives to create and protect our freedoms in America, where would we be today? And still, there are those who continue on in that vein since there must be a watching and maintaining of something so precious.

Your children are precious. They are a gift. And while we do not know what they will become as adults, we do know that we have a window of time to teach them what is good and what is right. Qualites such as courage, honesty, humility, kindness, productivity, self-control, generosity and more... all place the interests of others over their own. There has to be an understanding that the world does not revolve around them, that they are part of a whole and their contributions, good or bad, effect the whole.  The target becomes this: others.

These and other qualities are found in the Bible. They are tried and true principles that not only are effective, but the reward is the good feeling inside when doing good and right. Based on faith in God, realizing God helps us, we will become healthy families that become healthy societies.

But first, you must have your own target. Because you cannot give what you do not have. If you live your life with you as the primary focus, believing "you deserve a break", you will find yourself never really happy with being a mom. Whether it is glaringly obvious with your attention being consumed with your friends, shopping, home decorating, television, computer time, etc or more subtle with frequent sighing, complaining, or resentment, the results are the same. Far more is waiting for you when you place yourself in the position of servant which means you are not the focus. When one sacrifices, lays down their life for the benefit of another, there is strength and joy to be found. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it works.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

take aim.

You have to have a reason to get up in the morning.

There is a scripture in the Bible that states, "Without a vision the people perish". In other words, you have to be heading somewhere ... aiming at something. If your days are just muddled with little routine or organization, with everyone just doing their own thing, it is going to be chaos.

Moms have a very difficult job. We set the tone. We guide and direct. Oftentimes we end up getting the flack for being so "bossy". Tough stuff. I've gone to sleep crying and so will you if you haven't already.

Life is difficult.  I think when we face that fact we will be more equipped to handle what comes along. This is not a hopeless statement. It is reality. And for the Christian mom who takes God at face-value, she will learn to be courageous, gaining her strength from the One who watches over it all.

Now that we've got that out of the way, you've got to know why you are doing what you are doing. It's not enough for most of us to go through the days if we don't have a purpose. And this we will talk about at more length the next time I write.

Until then, keep up the good work. God has chosen you to be a mother and it's not an accident!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

teach your children well.

I just returned from my first visit to our nation's capitol and I was struck by the inscriptions on every building.

On the four corners of the National Archives that is home to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution these inscriptions can be found:

"Study the Past"

"What is Past is Prologue"

"Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty"

"The Heritage is the Seed That Brings Forth the Harvest of the Future"

These words are as solid as the stone in which they are inscribed. They are foundational to the workings of our society. A society is not going to survive without truth. One can wrap it anything they want but if it's not truth it will not stand.

In raising our children, it is essential that we impart tried and true methods that may be thought as out of date. I don't care how advanced we are in education, medicine, or technology. We can be moving forward at record speed and at the same time be going no where. As sure as the law of gravity, in the end, truth will prevail. It was made to.

Truth has become nebulus in much of our society and it shows. Even in our government, which is should model leadership; honoring and protecting the intentions of the Founders as they deliberated to build the foundation of a new nation, we find not only corruption, but a diluted outcome has evolved from interpretations. I don't think you have to think too hard when you walk through Washington, DC, to figure out what it all means. The place is rich with our heritage and it will be forgotten if we do not impart it to our children in its proper context.

We live in a day when it boils down to truth or a lie. And if we allow the culture to dictate our children's lives, it will. And our culture has cast off restraint and allowed lies to prevail based on personal opinions. Just as a building cannot stand with a faulty foundation, neither will a society, neither will a nation.

There is a quote that reads, "Courage in not the absence of fear". We want our children to be successful. Let them be successful in having the courage to stand up for truth and unashamed to proclaim it whenever necessary. If we do not, the next generation following will have little to stand on.

Friday, August 06, 2010

a dream come true.

Over the years of homeschooling, I found a love developing for American History. I'm not sure why it didn't appeal to me while I was in school (could it be that my 11th grade American History teacher literally stood outside his door every class talking to the football coach while he had us on an assignment?), but as I think back, English and Art was where my mind was.

Homeschooling allows a more in depth approach to learning and the freedom to take bunny trails with focusing a few weeks on a particular aspect (ie; "Let's read more about Abraham Lincoln."). I found that learning beyond the text book approach, along with learning the true, documented facts of history and not the biased, politically correct approach (often based on a living Constitution which means we rearrange the foundation to fit our current thinking), offers a foundation that is solid and can be built upon. No matter what our kids do in life, I think it's important that they value their heritage (which almost always means someone's sacrifice), but also, they become men and women of good character, not solely thinking of themselves, but the greater whole of society. Reading about men and women who were models of this courage and fortitude will help stabilize society and defy the cultural trends that weaken a nation.

That said, it wasn't long before my dream was to visit Washington, DC.

Two years ago was my first flight since 1979 when my daughter and I visited friends in Florida. We had a connecting flight in DC and we landed at Reagan National, I looked out the window and I saw the Capitol! It was amazing.

Long story short, after 23 years, my two youngest boys and I are leaving on Sunday to go to DC! We will stay with a friend who lives there. What better way to begin school this year?

If you are a mom who doesn't get out much because you are busy serving your family, keep on keeping on. Outside of planned family vacations every 4 years or so, I pretty much didn't do anything else. Now, at 53 years old, a whole new world has recently opened up to me that I didn't know was coming and quite honestly, didn't have my sights on (aka "I can't wait til this is over so I can do something for me). Writing, traveling, and getting some "breathing space" has been feeling very nice!

*edit: I have to clarify that in the last paragraph when I wrote "aka I can't wait til this is over so I can do something for me", please understand that my intention was to say that I didn't think like that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

and baby makes three.

I'm still here! Enjoying this great, hot summer we're having in the Northeast. Spending time with my kids and letting any projects, cleaning, even on the back burner (no pun intended!)

I was thinking this morning.. when that first baby comes life changes drastically. Your life will never be the same. It's demanding but the first smile, the little white tooth poking through, and first steps has a way of making you forget that you haven't slept a full night in awhile. Life is pretty scheduled and soon predictable as you focus solely on that firstborn.

But then the second baby comes along. And you are not going to be able to do with this baby what you were able to do with the firstborn. Life starts to get hectic.

My firstborn was a busy 2 year old when his brother came along. I remember being very frustrated when every time I sat down to nurse (or do anything for that matter), I had to continually stop what I was doing to see what he was getting into and guide and correct him. I no sooner put the framed picture back on the table, telling him "no", and he was off to something else.

It made me angry.

That's because none of us like interruptions. We like smooth sailing with the least resistance possible. And if you are like me... you do better when things are neat and in your control, you will have a harder time of it when baby #2 comes along.

Something has to give.. and it's gotta be you.

Not easy to hear, right? But I find that as we walk through tough stuff and learn to accept what is and decide to be content in it, it makes all the difference. In other words, the "wild stallion will" that was in me broke. It had to. 

This was going to be the beginning of many lessons of growing in maturity. The self-centeredness has got to go. You cannot be available 24/7 and live in resentment. You will be miserable and always looking for a way out.

The old "when life gives you lemons make lemonade" is true. It's not easy but it works. It's all about how you look at it.

If you find yourself in that place right now, I promise you it's not going to get better until your outlook changes. Don't wait for things to get better and then you will be happier. It doesn't work that way. You decide right now, today, that you are going to accept what is: hard work. Yet, there is nothing more worth working hard at than passing your values, your legacy, on to your children. Let God smile down on you with His strength to help in time of need. I guarantee that you will see a change once you commit to the decision that you are in this for the long haul.

I am on the homestretch with a 9 year old. When I am "done" I will have been a full-time mom for 38 years and homeschooling for 30 years. Already, opportunities are opening for me that I had no idea would occur. And for me, this is a reward and I'm loving it.

I have to add that it was much easier after babies #3, #4, .... and so on. I believe it was because I accepted the reality of the demands of motherhood and the self-centeredness left.

Stay strong. You can do this!