The Hype

While grocery shopping this weekend, I saw a woman with four little girls. The little girls were chatty and full of energy, yet the woman was quiet and her face was full of frustration and fatigue. As I walked out of the store, I saw her sitting and immediately said a prayer for her. I wondered how many times I looked like that woman without being aware of it - you never know who is watching you. 

The holiday season is here and there will be more than a few faces of frustration and fatigue. I refuse to be one of them. The holidays are supposed to be full of joy, peace, and love - at least that's what the greeting cards say! It's so easy to get caught in the hype of shopping, grumbling, and having no peace of mind. One good thing about getting caught in the hype is the stress. The stress can be used to remind me to place my focus back on the joyous reason for the season. The stress can remind me to check myself, my spending, and event planning. The stress can remind me of what's important. I will remember that I create my own stress. If I become frustrated and fatigued, it's my fault. I don't want to be Santa Claus making my list and checking it twice. I want to be like a child full of joy and anticipation for the big celebration instead of being full of anxiety and dreading the occasion. Yuck! It takes being in tune to God's Spirit to create an atmosphere of joy, peace, and love in the home - anytime of the year. The atmosphere in my home is a reflection of God's peace in my heart. I want His peace not only during the holiday season, but every day of the year. The hype will pass away, but the joyous reason for the season lingers throughout the year.

Blue Plate Special

Firstborn had the blue plate special yesterday morning for breakfast. Not the blue plate special you’re familiar with, but we have a large, beautiful, blue plate used only for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or anything the family deems worthy of recognition. Firstborn was the recipient of the blue plate yesterday; we celebrated his birthday. His meal was served on the special, blue plate, which is engraved with the words ‘cherish the moment’ on it. Although it was Firstborn’s special day, the words spoke to me. My first product of pleasure was born sixteen years ago and I didn’t think I would be able to handle it well. A few weeks ago, I had to call my younger sister to help me through a sobbing moment as I thought about Firstborn turning sixteen. My baaaaby is growing up! I figured if I cried early, I’d be okay on his birthday, which is today. 

As I handed Firstborn the blue plate, I realized I needed to cherish the moment rather than focusing on years gone by. That very moment was a moment to cherish. Every moment with my two sons is a precious moment to cherish. I can miss out on these moments by focusing on the past. It’s okay to look at baby pictures and remember their toddler times, but I was taking it to another level - I wanted to stop time.  Motherhood is my greatest joy and watching my sons grow up is bittersweet, if that makes any sense. Firstborn may not need me as he did in younger years, but as a teenager; he needs me in another way. I’m okay! I’m still Mama and will always be. I’m learning to cherish the moments as they quickly pass by without trying to hold on to them. Each season of motherhood brings new beginnings, new issues, new tests, and new moments to cherish.

Cherish the moment and enjoy this day of mothering!

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Giveaway Coming Soon!

 I usually don't offer giveaways, but I was impressed with the concept of digital scrapbooking, so I'm hosting a giveaway, but first....
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Are You Covered?

Firstborn had his last football game Thursday and had to be at basketball practice at 6 a.m. this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see him awake without my prompting. He plugged in the iron and I immediately questioned why he didn’t get his clothes ready the night before. Just as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized he was doing his best. Good grief, LaVender, give the boy a break! We got out of the house in time, prayed in the car, and we were on our way. No words were spoken on the drive (too early for him), but as he got out of the car I told him how proud I was of his initiative to get up and ready on time and we exchanged the fist bump. 

No one wants the voice of a nag in their ear first thing in the morning. I try so hard to send my husband and children off on a joyful note. Their entire day can be set up or set off by the words I speak. This is just one reason I awake early before my household stirs. Spending quiet time with the Master enables me to see the good in others and have more compassion. I need God’s Spirit to cover me before I interact with anyone. It makes a huge difference in my day when my mind is set on Him. It’s almost a guarantee to come in contact with someone having a bad day or a grumpy attitude. Their lack of peace doesn’t have to shake my peace! Their negative words don’t have to influence my thinking! Their actions don’t have to turn me into a nag or complainer! Yes, that precious time alone with God is my protection. Protection from others and protection from my Self! Ouch! Are you protected this morning? If not, steal away for a moment and get covered; it’ll help you find the good in all things!

Steelers vs Bible

My pastor preached from the book of Haggai yesterday, which is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. Sunday evening, while watching football, I decided to read the two very short chapters of Haggai. I sat with my Bible open while cheering for the Pittsburg Steelers. I decided to read the introduction to Haggai first, to get a better understanding. I chuckled as I read how priorities and values are reflected by how we spend our time. Hmmm…my Bible was running a close second to the Steelers. It was a good game, but so was the book of Haggai. I kept reading and cheering, and guess what? The Steelers lost. I watched the post-game show, and a few players from the winning team, the Baltimore Ravens, were interviewed. One player, Ray Lewis, mentioned telling his team the night before the game, to get in position to receive God’s blessings. Ray Lewis’ statement pricked my heart. I wondered if I could be in position to hear from God while watching television. 
I really didn’t see anything wrong with reading my Bible while watching the game; I didn’t have to be reading it at all! It really wasn’t about the timing of my reading, but about the value I placed on God’s Word at that particular moment. I don’t ever want to get so comfortable with God or His Word that I depreciate the amazing significance to my life. God already has to compete with the busyness of my day, so why invite competition? Just as I want my husband’s and sons’ undivided attention when I talk to them, God would like my undivided attention every now and then also. Priorities need to be checked. What’s important in our life? Where we spend our time and money will give us a clue. I not only need to get in position, I need to stay in position to hear and receive from God! Thank you, Pastor. Thank you, Haggai, and thank you Ray Lewis! Happy Monday and let's get in position!

The First Five

 I recently read a letter to the editor of my local paper from an upset grandfather.  The grandfather's words didn't settle well with me. Maybe it's just me, so help me out!

The grandfather was surprised with the requirements for his granddaughter to enter kindergarten.  Knowing ABCs, numbers, and basic keyboard functions were obviously prerequisites for this particular school at age five.  Uh...what's the problem? Giving consideration to the grandfather's assumed age, I can understand not knowing keyboard functions, but ABCs and numbers should definitely be known before entering school!

Expecting the school system to teach basic reading, writing, and arithmetic is setting the child up for failure! Not knowing these basics, prior to entering school, automatically puts the child behind the learning curve on the first day of school. It's already time for tutoring and catching up.  Studies say the brain is like a sponge those first five years, so why not teach the child something? Busy? Working? No patience? Working two jobs? Can't read yourself? Whatever the excuse reason, it's just not good enough. Unless the child has an unrecognized learning disability, they should be learning something.

FIVE years - FIVE! If the child doesn't know their ABCs, what have they been doing for FIVE years? Playing with Lego Building Blocks? Watching television? Watching Sesame Street? Maybe I should ask what has the parent done for the first FIVE precious years of the child's life? Hugs, kisses, walks, and play dates definitely have a place,  but learning has a place also. 

I'm sure I sound a little harsh and please remember I asked for help with this in the beginning of my post. Help me out! Should a child know their ABCs, numbers, and basic keyboard functions when entering kindergarten or first grade?